Aliveandrunning December 13 2014


How lucky am I to come across this magazine in Cambridge precisely at the point my family were getting jittery at the prospect of running out of tattoo options for  Christmas. Now we are spoilt for choice! There are so many illustrations to choose from, there is little chance of duplication.


What is it with men and ridiculously big fish? Why don’t we see women proudly displaying their over sized catches? Various explanations spring to mind. Nevertheless, WH Smith’s magazine shelves remain a source of high amusement and wonderment. Possibly I should avert my eyes from the sections where I have no interest in the subject. I may be fascinated by the imagery or the idea but I could be susceptible to being drawn into that particular world. It would be so easy to become a heavily tattooed angler (fresh or sea water?) and find myself on a front page, smiling smugly, holding a monster from the deep.

The running world drew me in over 30 years ago. It was like being sucked into a whirlpool and down into the central funnel (for the purposes of this imagery, the central funnel would be the running club I joined 3 years ago). I’m now a sad case, running parkrun every Saturday and many of the proliferating 1ok races and some of the ample number of half marathons. Running chum talk about running, pace, times, injuries and technology. It’s all a bit bewildering but I’ll carry on eating the cake, drinking the coffee and secretly dream of holding a giant fish.

Cambridge parkrun today! Very cold (for me) although I dressed for the weather. Some people are still in shorts and technical short sleeve tops despite the -1c or -2c temperature. It was both icy and muddy but my trusty trail shoes coped well. I’m not running consistently at present so my times are slower. Today I had the 25 minute pacer breathing down my neck and bellowing motivational encouragement to everyone around him. He had the audacity to overtake me and then I had the fear of being beaten by him. All at once, my attitude changed and I felt quite relaxed tucking myself in behind. Towards the end, I overtook him and managed to get in front by 15 seconds. What did I learn? I may have an ambivalence to pacers!

BBC Radio 4 podcasts. Who in their right mind wouldn’t listen to them? Thinking Aloud with Laurie Taylor discussed payday loan companies and an economist interviewee spoke about the availability of very cheap finance to the companies, the absence of of any kind of oversight or appropriate financial regulation and the highly profitable business model which is dependent upon multiple loans at hugely inflated interest. In effect the government subsidises the payday loan  companies and enables them to make huge profits at the expense of the poorest of people. Just as it pays huge subsidies to many of the previously nationalised companies, now in private hands and apparently run so much more efficiently and profitably. As if!

Another two part programme well worth listening to is Becoming Myself : Gender Identity. Last week, Transmen. This week, Transwomen. It’s about gender dysphoria and the work of the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. Thank God we live in the twenty first century, and in this culture, to have this kind of understanding and empathy. I’m sure we’ll show as much sympathy for poor people eventually.

2 thoughts on “Aliveandrunning December 13 2014

  1. How fortunate that you got sucked into running before the tattoos got a hold on you. One can eventually run out of skin but never, I think, of miles to run. I see a lot of tattoos in my line of work. I’m not sure if an imaginative tattoo has superiority over a tried and tested one. I once saw someone with family portraits of their toddler children, a cross their arms and chest. Not my personal cup of tea.
    Having crossed the barrier from poor person to rich (thanks to state funded university education) I share your indignation at the way big business abuses the poor but also the politicians exasperation with a culture where priorities are to spend £100’s on phones and monster tv’s but not to buy good food instead of fags and booze. But then if we spent more on education and promoted empowernent, self reliance and health maybe we wouldn’t have such a difference in ideals between rich and poor.

  2. Didn’t get a notification of your comment so only replying now. It’s only a matter of time before I succumb to a tasteful tattoo, perhaps a nice panoramic scene of me serenely winning parkrun while the young guns behind me stumble and look exhausted. Or a field of Brussels sprouts, possibly.
    I agree education is key to a happy and healthy mindset. The sad thing is that many people would deride the teaching of “soft” skills like empowerment, self confidence and life style decisions. That’s OK if your family has plenty of examples of good role models in this regard but if your family has few assets of this nature and you can’t acquire them at school or college, the chances are you won’t develop them. And then you become a Sun reader,if indeed you read at all (or worse, a Daily Mail convert).

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