Friday, June 12, 2009

I joined a gym today ...

... To see if I could feel
I sweated like a tap
I'll soon have abs of steel.


Actually, I joined yesterday, but that does not lend itself as easily to paraphrasing Nine Inch Nails by way of Johnny Cash. And, unlike the narrator of the song I borrowed, I did not hurt myself. The experience was rather painless; I'll push myself gently the first few times out.

The gym I joined pipes in thudding disco, in the manner of gyms everywhere in America, but good ear plugs render the music almost tolerable. I can hear just enough to feel a sense of relief and well-being that I can't hear more, and I can ponder at leisure the mystery of why, if gyms must pipe in music, they can't pipe in good music.

I'd rather exercise in silence (and that means no cell phones on the treadmills), but if gyms must inflict music on their customers, why not flamenco? Or Irish reels? Or klezmer? Or norteño? Or Gershwin? Or the Stones? Or zydeco? Or samba? Or bebop? Or música popular brasileira? Or Spike Jones? Or ...

OK, what's your favorite exercise music?

Tomorrow: Back to crime fiction.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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30 Comments:

Blogger Paul Brazill said...

Polka.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You read my mind, friend. Your suggestion should be no surprise considering where you live, though I suppose some Polish people must roll their eyes at the assumption they all like polkas.

I say you read my mind because I'd thought about including polkas on my list, but I just couldn't bring myself to. I've heard precious little polka music, and what I've heard has not done much for me. It's still better than the shite that gets played in gyms, though.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Philip said...

Ah, Peter. Barber's Adagio for Strings. What does that tell you?

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

You see Peter, at Philip and my age anything faster than the Barber, or the Andante from Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21 might be dangerous.

Sousa's 1893 Liberty Bell March might be suitable for a Philadelphia gym though.

June 12, 2009  
Anonymous marco said...

80s Australian RockFolk music a good choice because it has lots of ties to crime fiction and offers good motivations for developing your muscles.

"And I wish that I was 16 stone and only 7 foot tall,
I'd go back to Western Queensland and beat up Sergeant Small."

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Oh, man, nothing like a good laugh right before I go work out. For those times when you need to bench your own body weight, queue up some Killswitch Engage. Make sure you've sealed your eardrums with wax first.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Anything with a fast beat. Otherwise my workout suffers.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Dana King said...

Big band jazz. Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich. After that, Tower of Power, or maybe some Dick Dale. (King of the Surf Guitar.)

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Philip, it tells me that you have good taste and that you may enjoy low-impact yoga.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, the Barber would be appropriate for a Philadelphia gym, too. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music here -- a triple major in piano, composition and voice, as I learned when attended a concert at Curtis.

The "Adagio for Strings" would be quite nice for an early-morning workout. And Sousa is probably a good choice for those who like rousing music. I loved "Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends" when I was a child.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Marco. I don't know that song, but I like the lyrics. I suspect the song has a rousing beat that would be good for exercise -- a rollicking, humorous frontier epic, not at all like the slow lugubriousness one associates with Australia.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, I roll my eyes at snarling poseurs like that. But that song would certainly grab my attention if it came blasting out of the gym speakers as I was holding a barbell at full arm extension.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elizabeth, I have nothing against fast music for workouts. But there is good fast music, as this discussion attests.

I can't stand most gym music because it sucks and because I hate the suggestion that I am a child in such constant need of stimulation. It's the aural equivalent of the faux-handheld camerawork on "Law and Order" or the constant flashing of the scoreboard and blaring of music in every free second at a major-league baseball game these days, as if the purveryors are afraid to let my mind wander even for one second. My mind works better when it's not being pounded into submission.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, that's all good stuff -- rhythm to keep treadmillers treading and cyclers cycling, but with the variety that the usual dumb, pounding disco shite lacks.

And Dick Dale, now there's good music to run by.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

"Oh, be kind to your web-footed friends..." Memories of summer camps. That went to the tune of Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," if I remember correctly.

"Oh, be kind to your web-footed friends,

For a duck may be somebody's mother..."

Sorry, that's all I can remember.

Or, perhaps you're not sorry.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Be kind to the creatures in the swamp / Where the water is very dawmp."

I seem to remember the song from a Tom Glazer record. Tom Glazer -- there's an exuberant treasure whom political correctness would bar from being heard by today's children.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

"Be kind to the creatures in the swamp / Where the water is very dawmp."

Yes, that was part of it also. The only difference I can see is that the last line is "Where the water is very, very dawmp."

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Believe it or not--below is the first of MANY links leading to variants of the lyrics.

What did we ever do before the internet?


http://tinyurl.com/nfh84f

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't remember the double very.

What ever did we do before the Internet? We got along just fine.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Fox News.

(I kid! I kid!)

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

CNN was as close as it got in this gym.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Though Fox might do a better job driving heart rate and blood pressure up.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

It certainly would mine.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You might enjoy Adrian McKinty’s novel The Dead Yard. McKinty also won my McKinty also won my Raymond Chandler simile contest with his entry "He stuck out like a reasonable man in the Fox News building."

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Philip said...

Oh, I do like your response to that ubiquitous question about the pre-internet days, Peter. That would have got you on my 'people in the world of crime fiction I'd most like to have a pint with', a list that begins chronologically with Norman of Crime Scraps, if you hadn't already been on it.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm honored to claim a place on that list. I don't remember if I've hoisted a pint with Norman of Criem Scraps, but we have broken bread together.

He said his wife could prepare fish as well as Paola Brunetti in Donna Leon's books. "I just might put that proposition to the test," I said.

"OK," he said, and I did. He also was a splendid guide to Dartmoor, Budleigh Salterton and the rules of cricket.

June 12, 2009  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Peter, they are certainly something of an acquired taste. Truth be told, I usually just listen to audiobooks.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Dave Riley said...

My boxing club has tended to revive 80s power ballads -- with, of course, Eye of the Tiger being a often heard item.

But music with a fast driving beat can force you to overdo the waving of hands and legs.

Better to work out with full concentration on the lifts and punches.

When I walk or bicycle though I always listen to podcasts -- but only into one ear.

If you wanna dance do that but don't mix up the motion.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, in the right mood I might be able to appreciate those guys, but not to exercise to. I'm sure even they would say their music is best heard in brief, violent bursts rather than 30-, 60- or 90-minute blocks.

June 13, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dave, thanks for those wise words on music and exercise.

Eighties power ballads are pretty cheesy, but how could a boxing club avoid "Eye of the Tiger"? Even I would smile upon hearing it.

June 13, 2009  

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