Wednesday, 28 June, 2000

I've been going to the gym.

My name is Miss Amp, and I've been going to the gym.


Do they make a support group for people like me? People who don't have an excuse? Maybe somewhere there's some kind of exercise-anonymous (EA) class where we can all stand and admit that, although supposedly we are slinkster-cool hipsters who never exercise (because hipsters are either knobbly-kneed laissez-faire skinnies, or curvalicious oooh-mammas, and either way we don't give a shit) - we can admit that we do in fact, give a shit, and we do, in fact, occasionally, (sotto voce, cast eyes to floor, shield face with hair) 'work out'.

Last time I exercised, my excuse was cast-iron. No one could fault the impeccable cool behind those daily trips to the Ladywell Sports Centre in South London. Yes, though I purchased a thong-backed leotard (yes, I really, really did) and wore the damn thing with knee-length lycra pedalpushers and bouncy trainers, and yes, though I tied my hair in a ponytail high on my head and yes though I carried with me a soaked-in-icy-water flannel to each class (to wipe my hot neck and face) and yes though I sometimes squeezed my water bottle onto my head where it would drip like a welcome caress from jack's frosty fingertips down through my frizzled sweat-drenched hair and yes though I had my step on the highest level and would ostentatiously raise it before each class and feel smug delight and yes though I would stand at the front directly behind the teacher knowing my moves perfectly mirrored hers and yes though I even at one point considered taking a course to learn to teach damn step aerobics---

Though, yes, I did all those things, nonetheless my excuse was impeccable. It was the druuuugs, man. Along with a million other e-d up mid-Nineties girls, I'd discovered just how keenly the joys of aerobics mirrored those of the dancefloor. We even got our own article in The Guardian about it: our muscles were growing, us mid-Nineties girls, as lean tissue replaced fatty tissue and our periods fell away as we grew too thin to be fertile. All I knew was I'd discovered a way to keep moody Tuesdays at bay. And Wednesdays and Thursdays too. I was a regular little energiser bunny, smile on my face, DKNY water bottle clasped firmly in one sweaty hand, a pair of ankle weights in the other. It was the drugs, man. It was the drugs.

But now, I've no such excuse. I'm Miss Amp and I go to the gym. Inertia and i-books and sofas and stolen bikes and vodka-lime-sodas and insomnia and dressing up and finding clothes in the street and never, ever, leaving the house and all the things that make me me, are all the things that make me indolent. Fat. Suicidally depressed. Unfanciable. And not even caring very much. And what kind of a way is this for a Miss Amp to feel?

But this morning, shuffling to the beigel bake in Jake's falling-down jeans, realising my half-asleep posture resembled that of a mid-bender Tennant's Super-drinker, I stood up straight and flexed my shoulders back. And I felt something peculiar. Something half-nice; half-nasty: a throb in the muscle that attached my shoulderblade to my spine. A muscle I worked two nights ago at the gym. It's exactly where my wing would be if I were an angel. And I thought, my god, soon I'll be strong enough to fly.

So I'll stand up and say it proud. I'm Miss Amp and I go to the gym. I'm Miss Amp, and I go. To. The. Gym.

Now, what's your excuse?

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