Sunday

Today was a really odd day. We’d planned on a bike ride, just a short one as I’m still building my energy up. It was a rather muddy one – but I knew it would be and I did actually wear leather jeans! Great for wiping down after.

We didn’t do quite as far as last time, however, the ride was harder as there were more hills as is reflected in my heart rate and the number of calories burnt for a shorter run.

When we got back to the car I realised just how muddy it had been! Thankfully leather is wipe clean.

So we got home, cleaned up, and I then got into my comfy clothes for our first rehearsal over Jamulus with some of the fishes. We are songwriting and because of the current lockdown we can’t meet up so this is the best way. You can’t use a platform like WhatsApp or Teams because the lag is too high – around half a second.

It is ok once you get used to the slight delay. Sadly Bob couldn’t get his Mac to work correctly – something to do with his ASIO settings – so we’ve agreed to reconvene next week for a second attempt.

The day finished with me attempting to collect all my star fragments in Animal Crossing. We had a meteor shower last night in the game so I have fragments all over the beaches.

A bike!

So I started the week thinking I was getting chunky again. Not quite as bad as before, but the new scales made me realise just how inaccurate the old ones were; and boy were they bad.

As a scientist by training it’s always been within my mind that no equipment is good unless it is calibrated, and that calibration checked against a known good from time to time – so I am now weighing in on public scales as I can see the calibration labels on those and thus I’ll know if mine begin to fail again.

So, back to the bike. I decided I needed more exercise; and I needed both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. A bike delivers both of these to an extent and so I started making enquiries about exercise bikes. But then, I thought, exercise bikes are for the most part pointless and boring! It’s the same scenery all the time and unless you get a really expensive one they just simulate the same level of resistance.

Thus it was decided. I was going to get a real bike. But I always loved the simplicity of the BMX. No gears. A simple chain driven system. No fancy suspension. So I started looking around for BMX bikes.

Amazingly I discovered that they are now really popular! After virtually disappearing off the market 15 years ago they are now back in a big way and there were loads to choose from on Facebook Marketplace.

So I looked at sizes – a 6ft adult needs 20.5″ wheels and a 20 to 20.8″ crossbar for an optimum stunt performance whilst still being able to use the saddle if needed (not that you use the saddle much on a BMX).

I found this beauty.

20.5″ wheels and just over 20″ crossbar length. Not too far away either. So I went and collected it. I have to say I love the colour!

It’s official I now have a BMX! Last time I used a BMX was in about 1987 and it was my Diamond Back Silver Streak 2.

Yesterday we went out with them for the first time. I was reminded again that I’m not actually 16 as I finished off pretty much exhausted! But that’ll change. A gentle start to a regular exercise regime and I’ll soon start rebuilding my muscle structure.

Then again it was a -3°C day and with the wind it felt like -8°C! Definitely hard work there.

Today is Valentine’s Day. We’re going to have another short ride today. A couple of miles. Nothing too strenuous or hilly. Think of this as my couch to 10K…

I’m now looking at other exercises I can do to improve my muscle tone. I don’t want to be a beefcake; but a six pack would be lovely.

I put a little weight on.

I suppose lockdown isn’t going to help that – I often walk into town to shop, and also we’re not doing any gigs. I’ve not weighed myself in a few months and I was quite surprised.

I didn’t feel fat, but I tried on one of my stagewear suits yesterday and it felt tight.

Back on the wagon.

After a rather shocking 3.4kg of weight gain over Christmas, I’m back on the wagon to becoming a healthy weight again.

I’m now just 1.6kg up on my late November weight and as you can see from my picture my rather slimmer profile is back.

Amusingly every time I post a picture in this suit I get loads of questions about it, so I thought I’d answer them here.

  • What is it made of? PVC
  • Where is it from? ASOS
  • Can I still buy one? It is sold out
  • What about the shirt? Also ASOS
  • Is it hot/sweaty to wear? Absolutely – although it depends what I’m doing in it – onstage it’s melt territory.
  • Is it noisy? Yes. It squeaks and creaks when the pvc rubs against itself.
  • Can I try it on? Absolutely not. I’m very possessive about it as it took me many years wanting one before I finally got one. It’s the driving force behind me keeping my weight in trim!

If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments.

Hatfield – the third.

Having looked through my photos and my timeline it appears to be the third time we’ve played Hatfield Main club. A leftover from the old Hatfield Main pit and now standing at the edge of a housing estate and with miles and miles of desolation and spoil heaps on the other side.

Regardless of location though, Hatfield club is yet another thriving club which seems to get the balance right. A nice mix of age groups and no “that’s my table” rules. The “that’s my table” only ever seem to happen at the very worst clubs. The clubs full of cliques; the clubs which don’t welcome in younger customers; the clubs which see their clientele die off of old age; the clubs which eventually close.

So I arrived at about twenty to six, only to have to tell Dennis off as he had single handedly unloaded the van without waiting for at least one of us to arrive. I went ballistic at him! Had he injured himself it would have been a health and safety nightmare!

We started building the stage between us, only to be followed shortly after by Jake; then pretty much immediataly after that Craig and Steve. We cracked on and built all the stage in under 40 minutes. We are really getting this polished now!

After finishing the build of the stage we had a through runs through the new Lady Antebellum cover. A fairly easy song for me but with some really weird off beat riffs which I’ll have to nail perfectly.

The club really started to fill up and we prepared for our first set at 8:30 (Hatfield is traditionally a three set venue).

I was in my green/navy checked suit for this one. The trousers are still feeling rather snug on the waist but my weight loss continues. Putting on 3kg at Christmas was a bad move!

The first set was played superbly! All the band locked in tight and we were edgy as hell. I feel somewhat sad that our old agent never actually gave us the support or gigs we needed as we are now a modern tight good looking and good sounding band – and we never fail to get the dance floor moving.

After what seemed like all too brief a half hour slot, finishing one song earlier than planned, we left the stage for just 30 minutes to refresh our drinks. I stayed suited – hardly seemed worthwhile changing – and then went and changed for the second set at 9:30.

Craig and I went for the Wiggles look for the second set. Him in red, me in pale blue.

Again, an incredibly powerful and we’ll played set and again cut short (the compere actually tried to cut us off just after Proud Mary but Craig had already started playing I found love).

The third set at 10:45 was played in front of probably 80% of the original crowd. That is another thing I notice these days – our crowd retention is very good. In the days before Belinda we’d lose about half the crowd after the last bingo game. Not any more.

The third set started with Justin Timberlake and took us through to Red Light, with the usual encores of I’m Alive and Sex on Fire.

By the time we had finished and loaded out it was about quarter past 12 and I was in bed before 1.

Amusingly, the new lights were criticised by someone. Because they “didn’t do enough”. It amused me, because the guy didn’t realise that we now have full scene control and we use them more as a band should, rather than previously when they used to run sound to light and we looked like a discotheque!

I have to say though, the UV wash we use to fill the stage pre gig looks really effective!

Do I miss meat?

I thought I’d answer some of the commonest questions and statements I get when I tell someone I’m vegetarian and have been over 20 years. I don’t eat meat, meat derivatives, nor do I appreciate cross-contamination of my food with meat and meat “juices”.

Gelatine is a big no no, as is Carmine (E120), and I also don’t drink wines or real ales clarified with Isinglass. I eat eggs, but I’m not a big consumer of milk – my favourite is almond milk because it just tastes so creamy.

Do you miss meat?

No. I never actually liked it when I did eat it. I didn’t like the taste or texture. I suppose you could say I’m a natural herbivore. When I was at family sunday dinners I used to get meat placed on my plate, and I often left it. The last meat I ate was when I was about 23 or 24. The entire time I’ve been in gigging bands I’ve never eaten it.

You must eat fish and chicken though?

No. They’re meat. Vegetarians who eat fish or chicken aren’t vegetarians, they’re carnivores. Anyone who doesn’t think fish or chicken is meat is sorely mislead, and perhaps needs to go back to school and do primary school level biology.

Isn’t it difficult to find good food?

No not really. Plenty of restaurants cater very well for us. Some don’t, but I just avoid those. I’ve often seen cop-out restaurants where they “can’t guarantee against cross contamination”. Personally, I think that’s worse still! If they can’t avoid cross contamination between vegetarian food and non-vegetarian food, then what’s their record regarding cooked and raw meat?

Don’t you crave a bacon sandwich when you smell it cooking?

No. Not at all. I really don’t like meat. I never liked meat. I think these wild pigs would agree with me.

But you have Quorn. That’s pretend meat (often said with a smug look on their face).

You have chips. Those are pretend vegetables. I bet you even think they’re one of your five a day.

The vegetarian option is a nut cutlet.

How about show some imagination? Look. Even Quinoa can look nice, and I used to eat it before Waitrose decided to make it all posh.

You wear leather.

I’m not a preachy vegetarian who thinks everyone should be vegetarian. I understand that humans, like some of the other greater apes, are omnivores. We have biological indicators that we were evolved to eat meat. My wife eats meat and I don’t condemn her for it. I’ll happily wear leather, but then I’ll also wear latex (and that’s from a tree!).

It can’t be healthy being vegetarian.

I’m 6ft 2, built like a brick shithouse, and I can lift a huge reel of steel wire armoured cable. Yes, of course it’s not healthy… I eat lots of cereals, I don’t take any vitamin supplements. I don’t need them. I have a good iron level (blood donors proves this).

Ringworm…

I noticed a few red splodges on my legs a few days ago and started applying some steroid cream to take the fire out of them – thinking I’d been bitten by something.

Then they spread… And spread… And in the space of a few days I’ve got bloody blobs all over my left leg.

After visiting the chemists I was told it’s ringworm.

Yes, it sounds horrible, but it’s a fungal thing and should go down fairly quickly with a course of anti fungal cream.

Now just to not scratch it…