Tuesday, March 12, 2013

'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going', performed by Kevin Rudd. I got the idea for this after seeing another picture of Rudd pointing and saying, Homer Simpson-like, "Heheheh, y'know summin? He does point a lot." Here's the definitive rendition of this stage standard by Jennifer Holliday, although Jennifer Hudson also does a good rendition in the film of Dreamgirls.

And I am telling you I'm not going
I'm the best man you'll ever know
There's no way I can ever go

No, no, no, no way! No, no, no, no way I'm livin' without you
I'm not livin' without you, I don't want to be free…

I'm stayin', I'm stayin',
And you, and you – you're gonna love me

We're part of the same place

We're part of the same time

We both share the same blood
We both have the same mind
And time and time we have so much to share

No, no, no, no, no, no way
I'm not wakin' up tomorrow mornin' – huh!
And findin' that there's nobody there…

Tear down the mountains, yell, scream and shout
You can say what you want, I'm not walkin' out!

Stop all the rivers, push, strike, and kill
I'm not gonna leave you, there's no way I will…

Aaaaaaaaand IIIIIIIIIII aaaaaaaaaaam teeeeeeeelling you, I'm not going!

I'm the best man you'll ever know
There's no way I could ever, ever go!

No, no, no, no way,
No, no, no, no way I'm livin' without you!

OWWWW! I'm not livin' without ya, I'm not livin' without ya!
I don't wanna be free!

I'm stayin'! I'm stayin'! And you!

And you!

And you!

You're gonna love me!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spicks and specks of circular logic. Tonight I was at my parents' house for dinner. As they were driving me home, a Bee Gees song came on the radio and conversation turned to the group. My mother was having difficulty figuring out which Bee Gee was which.

"Who was the lead singer?" she asked.
"Barry," said my dad and me.
"Which one was Barry?"
"The leonine one," I said.
"Which one was the leonine one?" said my mother.
"BARRY!" Dad and I chorused.

"That's Barry!"

The reason I associate Barry with a lion is that I remember a cartoon from my childhood in which Barry was depicted as a lion, Maurice as a beaver (because of those unfortunate Gibb teeth) and Robin as a spaniel (because in the '70s he had long hanks of hair that looked like spaniel ears).

Poor Barry. He's the only Bee Gee left now.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The new workout plan. Last year I compared the process of writing my book to an athlete's training. At that stage I had no goddamn clue how much harder it was going to get. Drafting has been like running a marathon, stumbling across the finishing line, and then being told there was still another 5km to go.

I'd have a deadline and then I would work basically around the clock to meet it, and there would be a horrible moment when I realised that my brain was mush, I had nothing left in the tank, but time was ticking away anyway: the darkness was turning into greyness outside. When I could hear birds and make out the shapes of trees, I knew I was fucked.

I wrote about this for Island magazine:

There are three kinds of birdsong heard at dawn. The wholesome chirrups that drift luxuriously into your consciousness on the first morning of a longed-for country getaway. The cheeky cheeps that hail your superior partying credentials as you stumble home after a booze-sodden, dance floor-footsore monster of a night out.

And then there are the cruel trills that taunt you at the end of yet another bleary all-nighter at your computer, as you wrestle with words that stubbornly refuse to form themselves into a column, a feature article, a book chapter, a novel.


Days blur drearily into nights, weekdays into weekends. My editor’s cheery emails (“Hope you had a nice weekend!”) fill me with rage. I can feel myself growing increasingly tired, sick and overwhelmed, like a clockwork toy winding down. This makes me panic, because how will I get all my work done unless I can keep working?

Surely it can't be a coincidence that drafting summoned the kind of bad feelings I've always associated with sport? My editor, with her "Where is the manuscript?" emails, took on the role of the implacable PE teacher, and I felt like a petulant child. I could recognise and despise myself for my petulance, but I couldn't stop myself.

When the Carlton Baths reopened at the start of this year, I decided to take up swimming again. It has been two years since my last exercise kick, which began when Penny nagged me into agreeing to 12 sessions of running around Princes Park. It took me almost a month merely to get fit enough to complete Week 1 of Couch to 5K.

At that time I kept a detailed exercise diary which is actually quite an entertaining read. Here are a few excerpts from this Adrian Mole-esque document.

1 February, 2011
…Penny says her goal is to become effortlessly fit; to be able to handle those interval 'beep tests' easily, and to run insouciantly at speed. My goal is more modest: to make it through the remaining ten sessions I promised Penny.

"You're a woman of your word, Mel!" she said when I told her this.


Again, the worst part was the warm-down walk. I felt like Little Blackie in True Grit: so exhausted I was ready to lie down and die. The effort of having to maintain a brisk walk was really tough, and I was making all sorts of embarrassing half-groaning, half-panting noises. As it turned out, I didn't notice my toe blisters at all.

7 February, 2011
…In other news, I told my parents about my exercise kick and they were very pleased. "I could tell you looked better! That's why I complimented you earlier!" my mother said.

This was very encouraging. However, in the interests of fairness her compliments had actually been, "Your hair's looking good," and "That's a nice dress," neither of which was strictly about weight loss or increased muscle tone.

14 March, 2011
…At the end of that run I had a wheezy quality to my exhalations, which sounded humiliatingly like the early stages of labour. I was walking just behind a guy who was clearly a bit weirded out by the noises I was making, and if I'd had the ability to speak I would have told him that I COULDN'T HELP IT. I could see him trying to walk just a bit faster so he could get away from me. But then hahaha I had to start my next run and so I overtook him. I think he was doing an interval training program too because then he started running and overtook me again.

25 March, 2011
I feel really flat and lethargic today, weighed down by sadness and unable to concentrate on work (and berating myself for not doing work). The swim hasn't really made me feel better.

I just can't notice any difference in my appearance, or the way that clothes fit me, or in my fitness levels. I feel as though all I can do is just keep exercising as much as I can and somehow, even though nothing has happened in these two months I've been doing this regime, perhaps something might happen in future.

I'm like the characters in The Road, just trudging down the road because the alternative is too bad to contemplate. They're not going anywhere and have nothing to look forward to, but they keep travelling because that's all their world has been reduced to.

This time I started another diary but abandoned it after several days. I just couldn't face the idea of having to write more, on top of all the writing on my book. But intriguingly, my editor recently blogged about her own exercise kick in similarly abject, self-deprecating terms.

I have been swimming at least twice a week and have recently decided to start walking and running around the Carlton Gardens. My goal is to have only one chin by the time my book comes out in June.

I have created two playlists on my phone where all the songs' BPM matches my running and walking pace. This idea came to me after I spontaneously started running to 'Run' by Gnarls Barkley and realised it was the perfect pace for me. I remember from my last exercise kick that I run at 150 steps per minute, because I used to count them in batches of 50. But now I can just count 19 bars of a 150BPM song, which is 152 steps.

As for the walking, I just stomp along to the beat of the song. I used to keep an on-the-go playlist of songs at walking pace on my old iPod, but they were a slower walking pace. I remembered that I always liked walking to 'Black Sweat' by Prince, which is 108BPM, but when I tried power-walking to it, I realised it was too slow, and so I've curated a playlist that ranges from 115BPM to 120BPM.

It's quite tough to walk at the fast end, but I figure I will train myself to find 120BPM walking easy, and then I'll gradually, incrementally increase the speed of the songs.

That is the new workout plan.

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