Okay, so a month and a half ago (roughly) Sarah landed her membership advisor job with Edinburgh Leisure and I, being the wonderful husband that I am, accompanied her on her first proper morning on the job so that I could be her guinea pig. I’d be the first member she’d signed up without any supervision and therefore the one she’d make any hideous mistakes with – all she’d have to fear would be my usual cheeky chappy mockery, rather than irate customers storming out with steam evacuating their craniums via the lugholes. This first day was at Leith Victoria Swim Centre, the centre where she’s still stationed and a mere 10 minute cycle from the flat. However our nearest gym – Portobello Swim Centre – is but a 2 minute saunter from the front door so that morning was the only time I set foot in Leith Viccie’s.

Till today…

Now the gym here in Porty is all well and good. Fair enough I have no real basis for comparison since, as noted earlier on this blog, I used to have a chronic fear/hatred/contempt for gyms in general and had never really set foot in one. Since my induction lessons the facilities have seemed more than adequate, there being plenty cardio machines (treadmills, crosstrainers and the like) as well as more weight machines than I currently use in my programme. There’s enough of everything that I never have to wait to get on a particular machine and if the buttons are a little less than responsive or the wee TV sets behind them are stuck on a channel (or totally knackered) then that’s a minor detail. It’s not a problem. Why? Because gyms are purely functional, they exist solely to get you fit and the machines could be spikey, gear-ridden, steampunk monstrosities (in fact that’d be pretty damn cool) for all I care. Or so I thought.

Today I decided to go along to Leith so I could say hi to Sarah, hopefully brightening her day a little, and check out the bits and pieces over that side of town. Oh. My. Sweet. Fucking. Christ. The shiny! It burns! It’s like gym porno in that place, everything is super-new and super-hi-tech. The cardio machines have TVs and radios built into them, not to mention the fact that as you’re running/cycling/climbing it’ll plot your progress round a wee imaginary hill or racetrack. You can even select standard speed buttons on the the treadmill (set your own speeds for Walk, Jog and Run) so you can change pace instantly. I didn’t use any weights machines or equipment cause I do resistance training on odd days and this was a day off, but there was so much of it, it looked like the Terminator’s pleasure palace. Even the walls, windows and carpets looked brand spanking new, as if I was there on the opening day and was depositing the first drips of sweat on the hallowed surfaces.

Actually I probably had my hardest cardio workout to date just because I was so entranced by the graphics, the buttons and the shiny shininess of it all. But it’s wrong! A gym should be a place for honest hard graft, not for pretending you’re a sweaty airline pilot. Leith Victoria is a bimbo, an airhead, a whore! The whore of Gymylon! She’s Jenny Mcarthy to Portobello’s Julianne Moore. A bourgeois den of iniquity compared to Porty’s proletariat paradise. It’s all flash with no substance (well, technically more substance as well as the flash) and as such will probably corrupt the youth, erode our most cherished values and, I dunno, unleash some new kind of supercancer with huge muscles for good measure.

The thing is, as much as I know it’s wrong and no good can possibly come of it ever, ever in a million gazillion years…

I wanna go back…

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