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Men and the Gym

(Or as Homer once mis-pronounced it – ‘What’s a gyyymm?’) It’s common enough nowadays to talk about the body as a machine. Ever since the early physicians began to examine cadavers they seized on mechanical explanations for how we operate. Yes indeed – the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone. Such mechanical explanations are very useful. Anyone visiting a doctor who dismissed such connections is best advised to move rapidly in the opposite direction. Gyms are themselves giant machines in which we run and pull on machines to gain rewards from machines – they’ll even reward you with a… Read MoreMen and the Gym »

Life sentences

What’s the trickiest part of meditation? The most common complaint is that it’s so difficult to find the time and even when you do there’s the constant interruptions… Another classic excuse is that ‘there’s just this problem at work/with the kids/with my Oyster card/with my Gilbert O’Sullivan fan club membership etc etc. You know… But perhaps the trickiest part of a meditation is what to do once you do manage to get to you bench, cushion or chair. Lets imagine that you have managed to put things on hold and he/she/it is not bothering you. The real difficulty lies in… Read MoreLife sentences »

You know, euro….

For those who’ve been away, a long way away, maybe Wales, Japan, Mars – you should know that we’ve just had some European elections and in Blighty a party called UKIP came first – the first non-traditional party to have done so for “literally billions of years” etc etc. “Not since the dawn of time…” The media are predictably going nutty. They claim that it sends a ‘clear message’ to the heads of Europe that the EU needs a rethink. Some concede that as only about a third of the nation voted it may not be that clear a message… Read MoreYou know, euro…. »

Intimacy

Does intimacy means different things to men and women? Despite the considerable advances made by feminism it remains the case that popular culture offers more time and space for women to discuss their problems with men rather than vice versa. From daytime television to weekly magazines men are often seen as objects of ridicule: daytime talk shows portray men as failing to meet bogus standards of masculinity; problem pages offer endless testimony to men’s unreliability and fecklessness. An alien coming to earth would be confused that this much derided category of being seems to be the most maligned while still… Read MoreIntimacy »

Being clever: It’s a young mans game

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but there’s a lot of cleverness about these days. Quiz shows are packed to the rafters with smart young folk sparking away in exchange for applause and future bookings. And why not? We could all do with a break and these bristling snappy shows provide quips a plenty in easy to eat packages. But what happens when the clever snap, crackle and pop isn’t enough? The witty young contestants in these shows are paid to show off, illustrating their verbal dexterity in displays which lazy critics call witty. It is in effect a play… Read MoreBeing clever: It’s a young mans game »

Sinkholes

Have you seen those sinkholes in Florida – huge gaping spaces where houses and cars used to be? They look as if some giant had poked a huge hole in the ground. It must be incredible for the owners to find that all they had taken for granted has just gone. Sometimes we experience personal sinkholes of our own. Usually our thought patterns just toddle along the well worn paths of routine, hemmed in by the prickly hedges of anxiety and fear but for the most part comfortably predictable and then one day – wham! A sinkhole opens up in… Read MoreSinkholes »

Good Companions?

What sort of relationship do you have with yourself? It might seem an odd question but it’s worth thinking through. None of us truly wake up alone. Perhaps your days begin with a review of the nights’ dreams (“So there was a trowel, Depeche Mode and Lowestoft – what could that mean?”), a brief check that everything is still in place and then a plan of the day. And why not? The species likes to plan. We like a sense of order, the knowledge that if we do A then there’s a good chance that B will follow. Certainly gives… Read MoreGood Companions? »

Tools

Imagine a big man entering the gym. He’s 5 foot 8 inches and 18 stone. He has no kit and has an anxious expression on his face. He approaches one of the personal trainers and says ‘Hi – I want you to completely change the way I am.’ The spry young thing replies “Of course. How much would you like to change?” To which our portly hero responds – “I’d like it all to happen by tomorrow. Before lunch” Who on earth would approach a gym in this fashion? It’s an unreasonable request and would be met with at best… Read MoreTools »