Monday, November 08, 2004

Physical Exertion: The Edge Of Reason

After weeks of procrastinating, I finally became physically active last Friday. And by 'physically active' I mean that not only did I get up at a time when the sun would be visible if it wasn't hidden behind the resident murderous Brighton black cloud, I actually joined Craig, Sam and a motley crew of assorted sporting misfits to play football. This proved to be a mistake. As if the sensation of my internal organs having a bitter internal civil war (all armed to the teeth with a veritable arsenal of advanced industrial chainsaws) was not unbearable enough, I was repeatedly outshone for pace and skill by Neil, whose pre-match training routine consisted of three hours sleep followed by hardcore nicotine ingestion. Admittedly my speed and quickness of reaction has been unfavourably compared with narcoleptic slugs and tranquilised snails in the past, but this was still somewhat embarrassing. I would exaggerate the quality of my goal and suggest that it consisted of a scintillating run past three defenders followed by a calm and controlled finish past the sprawling goalkeeper, but 'mishit cross shinned in to open goal from two yards out by lazy statuesque goalhanging git' would be more accurate. Hopefully next time I play I'll be able to contribute more than what I like to describe as 'intelligent off-ball runs into space' but which are really unsubtle attempts to avoid defensive duties by moving away from nearby opposition players whenever possible.

Foolishly and somewhat suicidally, I immediately progressed from football to my gym induction. Fortunately this was significantly less strenuous and notable only for the 'calorie counter' on the running machine, which persisted in telling me for no less than three minutes that I had 'burned: 0.1 calories'. Either I have the most shockingly horrendous metabolism in history (if I maintain that rate I burn about half a slice of bread a day - my body must have a horrific backlog to deal with) or the machine is evil lying scum. I prefer to think the latter.

Tired and slightly worried about my strange thirst for physical exertion, I immediately wasted any positive effect the painful experience above might have had by gorging recklessly on free Moroccan food at Hannah's 21st birthday party in London on Saturday. I wasn't even particularly hungry, but the motivation to all genuine penniless students provided by the three premises a) free food b) immediate buffet-style access and c) limited time inspired me to hitherto unheard of heights. As the food was cooked in order to serve twelve people and only eleven were present, I kindly and diplomatically decided after careful democratic consultation with myself to eat the excess amount - I'm a very considerate person and I was concerned about offending the chef.

Finally, for those of you wondering whether or not Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason will be worthy of your attendance - it is. But admittedly I'm influenced slightly by the fact that Hugh Grant's character nearly drowns and that Colin Firth is looking upliftingly wrinkly, not that I'm at all jealous of the two infuriatingly clean-cut and suave millionaire bastards who exert an implausibly powerful sexual attraction to women despite both being in their fifth decades of existence and being slightly typecast:

HUGH GRANT: I hear, ah, that you can, er, help me with my artistic expression (strokes hair foppishly)
COLIN FIRTH: Yes. I will teach you how to register emotion. (stares coldly)
HUGH GRANT: Splendid! (smiles winningly)
COLIN FIRTH: This is happiness. (stares coldly)
HUGH GRANT: I, er, see, haha. (arches eyebrows)
COLIN FIRTH: This is sadness. (stares coldly)
HUGH GRANT: Marvellous. (smiles disarmingly)
COLIN FIRTH: This is incandescent rage and homicidal fury. (stares coldly)
HUGH GRANT: Incredible. (nibbles fingernails)
COLIN FIRTH: This is an overrated mercenary bastard incomprehensibly and bewilderingly building a whole popularly acclaimed career on an eminently forgettable nude lake scene, one facial expression and an inexplicably enduring attraction to bored middle-aged housewives (stares coldly)
HUGH GRANT: How perfectly extraordinary.... (scratches back of neck self-consciously)

Yes, I don't understand either. But then I'm not a bored housewife. And hopefully I never will be.

Ed's Mood: Upbeat
Ed's Incessant Auto Repeat Musical Tip: Ours - Meet Me In The Tower (album version, not the ear-shattering acoustic mutilation)

Purity In A Sex Mad World

You might wonder what on earth someone as soulless, shallow and materialistic as me was doing at a church seminar on Sunday. My girlfriend Dani and her friend Abi were intrigued by a quiet evening debate, and invited me. In the spirit of attempting everything once, therefore, I acquiesced. I'm very far from being Christian, but in a pretentious attempt to not be completely ignorant I'm willing to listen to views that might contradict my own. I expected a reasonably exhilarating debate but was instead confronted by the most horrifyingly radical conservatism ever:

PRUDISH DANE: When I came to England, people kissed me on the cheek and I was like 'Woah! You're invading my personal space!'. I mean, in Denmark everyone hugs, and I don't know whether that's different in your culture. Can people hug here?'

'Is any sexual activity okay outside marriage?'

PRUDISH DANE: Er. No. Kissing provides a constant temptation.

Right. I'm not a complete libertarian. I don't believe in sex outside a loving, stable, long-term relationship, and would assume that most loving, stable, long-term relationships result in marriage. I appreciate and understand that Christians do not believe in sex outside marriage, it really isn't a belief far away from my own thoughts on the matter. But I've never heard anyone so astonishingly prudish and repressive as to virtually express the sentiment: 'no kissing outside marriage'. This assumes that all humans are impossibly weak creatures for whom the most inoffensive of affectionate gestures acts as some kind of ecstatically irresistible aphrodisiac, a highly offensive and condescending view. Although apparently oysters are also an aphrodisiac (yep, what you thought was indigestion, stomach cramp and projectile vomiting was in fact overpowering lust!). We also watched a video vaguely related to the subject which oddly appeared to be accompanied by a cheap Dutch porn soundtrack: 'I want you! I need you! I want you! I need you! I want you! I need you!' as if abstaining from sex is some kind of continuous desperate battle against a tuneless nymphomaniac singer with writer's block. It worries me slightly when people are this scared of a simple (and natural) biological desire and take valid religious beliefs to such a ridiculous extreme that ordinary Christians are turned off. I went expecting to have my dodgy agnostic view challenged, not supplemented. I didn't expect to be greeted by what turned out to be an ignorant atheist's dream parody of insanely radical Christians. My Christian friends were horrified, which says it all. Sheesh.

Ed's Mood: Disillusioned
Ed's Incessant Auto Repeat Musical Tip: Radiohead - Street Spirit (Live Acoustic)