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Posts tagged ‘melody tv’

A watery wave

For a while I stopped going to the beach in the mornings: the memory of Raff in a pair of speedos lingered. It was too fresh (the memory as opposed to Raff, who is distinctly more fruity).


Just before Christmas, Viv contacted me and asked if I still swam. At the time I had a lot on my mind and, although my gills had closed up from disuse, I thought consorting with sharks and stingrays might provide welcome distraction. Also, although the gym offers much in the way of Melody TV and a Spandex Spectacular, I have recently found the whole experience a little bit lamé.


I totally underestimated quite how cold The Gulf gets this time of year. Obviously the effects of plunging into The Gulf in winter are not as extreme as a paddle in The Atlantic at any time at all, but 20 minutes/1000 metres into the swim and my skull was numb (not that I noticed much difference, apart from a headache). I am ashamed to admit that, after being washed up on the beach by a large wave, I took a more solid route back to the car.


The following week I came fully equipped with thermal vest, sweatshirt, fleecy jacket, beanie, scarf, mittens, and a flask of hot tea. Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, woolly socks and a car heater. I got some funny looks driving home. (The rigid purple lips probably don’t help.)


The other day Helen told me I’d have to ‘bulk up’ for The Palm swim. She’s done some long-distance swimming and reckons I’ll have to adopt some flobber to cope with the water temperature over a 20 kilometre route.


“There’s no way,” growled Husband when I told him about ‘Operation Flobber On’.


At the start of January Danny, still flush with New Year resolve, joined The Girls for the bi-weekly morning swim. Over the years Danny has been known to sport a wide range of alternative fabrics, yet I felt it was a particularly audacious move when he turned up to meet The Girls in a rubber suit.


“I’m going to tell everyone about your rubber suit,” I thought it only fair to warn him.


“It’s not rubber,” protested Danny. “It’s neoprene. People might get the wrong impression if you call it a rubber suit.”


“How do you spell neoprene?”


“Er- ok, go with rubber. Hang on – why not just: sleeveless wetsuit?”


“Sleeveless rubber wetsuit.”


“Just WETSUIT! What’s WRONG with you? Do you have some kinky fixation with rubber?”


Danny has since ditched the suit, but still swims with The Girls. Brave lad; the oestrogen can reach toxic levels. I’m so proud of Dan – to date, he has partaken in discussions ranging from how alcohol encourages Viv to air her mammaries; how many would volunteer their wombs to carry Wentworth Miller’s baby (all present excepting Dan but only because he is not thus equipped); the correct way to don a brassiere (Helen, demonstrating leaning forward and placing ones bosoms in the cups); and Helen’s colleague who accidentally – not to mention forcibly – sat on a stick necessitating 56 stitches up the hoohoo


Accessorised with my own personal rainbow

My regular attendance at the gym has more to do with getting my hit of Melody TV than keeping fit. Over the last two months I realized that the same collection of music vids were on constant replay and I was starting to wonder whether Arabic stars ever released any new songs. I’d thought the glorious charm of Haifaa Wahby’s squirming bosoms would never wear off, but I have to admit even they were getting a bit droopy.

I am delighted to report that a fresh crop of Arabic songs is now doing the rounds. My current favourite has our heroine skipping through the forest, dressed for the elements in a red cape, girlie dress with flounces, pig tails, bobby socks and t-bar shoes. Here she comes swinging her basket, the veritable essence of innocence were it not for the vast chasm of cleavage exploding out her bodice. That, and the positively filthy way the girl has of looking at a camera.

All of a sudden she skips behind a tree and – argh! – it’s Mr Wolf or, more specifically, a man in a gorilla suit. And Mr Wolf is WEARING A CODPIECE. This immodest defense of Mr Wolf’s modesty is bright red and looks suspiciously like PVC. It is absolutely precious. The first time I saw it, I fell off the treadmill laughing.

There is something fundamentally and deeply disturbing about these videos. Are they more or less disturbing than Western music videos featuring malnourished prepubescent American girls waving their malnourished ribs around and straddling greased up dancers? Well, I’m not sure . . . but at least with Western videos the sexuality is out there quivering at the camera, rather than dressed up as innocent teenage entertainment. Mr Wolf in a shiny red codpiece – I ask you.

When I’m not high on Melody TV, I pass the time by people-watching between press ups. According to Shaw’s Theory #9, you can tell an awful lot about someone from the way they work out.

For example, the man giving it loads on the cross trainer such that smoke is coming out the back: he has an official Porsche bomber jacket; a pedigree Labrador called ‘Hercules’; organizes his socks by colour code; and spends more time blow drying his hair than his girlfriend(s). He uses multiple exclamation points in his emails!!!!! He is a terrible lover. Deep down he knows he has no imagination or longevity (NB unable to conclusively verify this fact) and tries to make up for his carnal deficiencies by flashing the cash and doing enough lunges to enable him to store small change between his buttocks.

The woman in baggy t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms displaying lackluster performance on the bicycle? She was aghast to find three grey hairs this morning and a liver spot which on closer inspection turned out to be a freckle; she is considering breast enhancement surgery; she cries when watching Oprah; she has a guilty secret (romance novels); her husband only ever does the dishes in order to flirt with the maid. She eats dark chocolate in 500g portions and once tried yoga but was self conscious about her lycra clad thighs. She takes charge of her life dammit! by going to the gym every morning and spending 20 minutes cycling nowhere (25 on a good day).

The well toned young man on the bench: it is clear from the way he points his toes when doing cross-overs that he is gay and contemplating a fabulous life from the darkest recesses of the closet. The brisk way he exercises indicates that he is fond of his mum and cats; he dates beautiful women and treats them like a queen; he once posted a personal add describing himself as having ‘great s.o.h.’; he is not aware that he points his toes when doing cross-overs but would vehemently deny it. His favourite film of all time is ‘Dirty Dancing’ – he always thought Baby had a certain indefinable quality (most people would call it Patrick Swayze).

I have heard that in America many people treat the gym as a potential pick-up joint. Well, I have no idea how that works, being only marginally less attractive ten minutes into a workout than I am when twisted drunk. I tend to do things more by multiples than halves, so it’s never long before my face is a furnace and my top ringed with damp. I positively EXPLODE sweat to the extent that I am accessorized with my own personal rainbow. And sometimes I grunt when I do bicep curls. I try not to: I know how unladylike it is. [When we lived in Karama, there was a guy who used to come down to the gym and do sit-ups, each one accompanied by a fart. I think he used gas as a form of propulsion. He thought I couldn’t hear him due to being plugged into my mp3 player. I could. The trauma.]

Of course, there has to be an upside to all this gym attendance, apart from the obvious (Melody TV, fellow exercisers, rainbows) (although in themselves, those are compelling incentives). Well, there is another advantage. If you look at my left upper arm, just above the elbow and below the third freckle, there is A Muscle.

I tried to photograph it as evidence, but I think the light conditions were sub-optimal

Pull my head

Having guests has highlighted just how disgracefully – well, pedantic is possibly the kindest word – I am. You might describe me otherwise (freakishly obsessive/compulsive). I know that this is more a reflection on me than on our houseguests, and have trained myself never to utter the following:-


“You missed a crumb.”


“Please can you line up the toaster in parallel with the sink?”


“Does that look like the cupboard for peanuts? I thought not.”


However, I did make an exception when I caught Raff wiping his gob on the tea towel, when I shrieked: “Are you KIDDING me?” I was unable to say any more, because I suffered a weak spell and had to sit down.


Now Raff makes sure I’m not around before snogging the tea towels.


Raff and Carol are both enthusiastic gym attendees – or semi-enthusiastic at least. Me, I’m still exercising every second day.  For a period of a week I had to skip the gym due to a dishwasher unloading incident; I was worried I’d slipped my disk again so took myself off to the osteo who put me on Brufen for a couple of days. I love going to the osteo; he likes to pull on my head – actually, both of us like it, him more because I pay US$ 70 for the experience. I’m worried that I am developing a head pulling fetish – I could quite happily have him tug on my ears for the entire hour. AND I can get BUPA to pay for the thrill, which is even more exciting.


In retrospect, the break from the gym was necessary to cure me of an unhealthy Melody TV addiction. But now I’m back bigger and better than before

Melody TV

Sadly, in five weeks of dedicated gym attendance I have gained on average a kilo a week. At this rate, I will weigh 20 stone by the end of 2007.


I’d better stop soon, because Andrew says he wouldn’t love me if I weighed 20 stone. I’m not sure where the cutoff point is – you know, would he still love me at 19.9 stone but after that it’s game over? And what if one day I tip the scales at 20.1 stone and then revert to 19.9 – would all the Love come flooding back?


I don’t think he’s really thought it through.


Andrew maintains that the personality he fell for – the charm, the humor, the caring, the giving (I’m paraphrasing, but he’d totally say all that because if he didn’t I’d get abusive) – wouldn’t be the same if I weighed 20 stone.


I think that’s a very shallow attitude. I’d still love HIM if he weighed 20 stone. Although probably not as much. There’d be less love per square inch, you know?


ANYWAY when I point out the extra 5kg of Me, everyone keeps saying: “Well, muscle weighs more than fat,” but I’m like: “Where”? If two hundred sit-ups a week has given me a six-pack, it’s hidden under a layer of what I like to kindly call ‘flobber’.


Another side effect of the gym – apart from pulled muscles and a hobbling gait (whoever says exercise is good for you is working for Nike’s marketing department) – is a chronic addiction to the Arabic music channel, Melody TV.


There are about five plasma screens mounted on the gym wall, and I have been known to push people off the cross trainer to go hot turkey in front of Melody TV. It is an education, and I have learned more about the Arabic (popular) culture than eight and a half years living in the Middle East.


Because I’m feeling generous, I will share what I have learned. Men and women crooners have vastly different ways of presenting their particular, er, talents, so I’ll commence with what you should bear in mind if you are contemplating becoming an Arabic Diva:-


« You should be of generous Body Mass Index


« You will need to perfect the art of glancing coyly from beneath fat batting eyelashes


« Always wear tight bodices


« Hire a JCB to apply your makeup. Don’t get too close to the camera; if you get stuck to the lens with your lip gloss you will have to be chiseled off


« Your music video should feature fruit. Especially popular are pairs of over-ripe mangoes, which you should fondle and occasionally indecently assault (I find this quite disturbing, being fundamentally right wing when it comes to fruit)


« Finger your cleavage, as in: “Well, I have to rest my hand somewhere. Oh! How did that get there? It appears to have fallen down my cleavage.”


« Exhibit plenty of flesh while stopping short of the money shot. Plunging necklines are acceptable; also skirts cut so close to the crotch you can see the shadow cast by fanny flaps at five o’clock


« Get into the habit of doing laundry outdoors


« Squeeze your bosoms together over ye olde clothes mangle


« Run aimlessly through woods with bouncing bosoms burgeoning out of your bodice


« Hire a European hero to get all heavy over your hand. He may be swarthy, but he should be undeniably European rather than Arabic (think the type of dodgy Grease Lizards you would find lurking in the corners of the New Yorker on a Saturday night who look like they’ve bathed in Brylcreem spiked with deadly levels of aftershave)


Alternatively, if you are interested in a career as an Arabic Rock God, then the following guidelines apply:-


« You should be fond of a doughnut, or several hundred


« Your music videos should never feature slap-happy western harlots. Instead, you will be moved to express yourself in song by shy yet saucy Arabic women


« Look soulful, as if wondering whether you left the car running


« Wear your shirt slashed to the waist with chest hair exploding out the top. If you have a sparse patch, use a chest wig


« Hair oil should play an abundant role in your toilette


« Get used to swimming in the sea fully clothed


« At some point you should ride a horse through a forest and accidentally catch sight of Bouncing Bosoms frolicking through the trees


« You should be comfortable singing to a flower, with your hand pressed movingly to your breast


« Never, ever, ever sit on a seat or chair. If you have to sit, always use a staircase, preferably outdoors. Under a tree


« NB: Always sit with your legs at a 180° angle


« Use sign language for your deaf music loving fans


« The rousing climax should feature marriage, or at the very least a grand proposal. If you are too fat/unfit to get up off the floor, it is acceptable to end the video on bended knee. Close up of face twisted with emotion. Fade out


I have two personal favorite music videos, and I always step faster on the cross trainer when they come on. The first features our hero who appears to be crippled. Three quarters way through the video he meets a woman and casts away his crutches. Who needs religion! I am cured by love! Or lust! Who cares! I can WALK! I CAN WALK!


The second – and I’ve left the best for last – has our hero experiencing relationship issues with his chaste lover. There’s plenty of storming around slamming doors, agonized gazing at each other, lots of coordinated eye/fist clenching and wondering did he leave the car running.


Halfway through, our hero grabs a chainsaw and sets off into the woods. (At this point you’re really looking forward to some gory amputation, because his sulky girlfriend is really irritating. Unfortunately, the video fails to realize its potential in that direction, but it’s a small criticism.)


So off he trots into the forest (sorry, another minor point: he does not seize the opportunity to ride a horse. But I suppose it might have been awkward with the chainsaw).


He fires up the chainsaw and sets to sawing, although you’re not sure what he’s at. Then the camera pans back and you see he has made an ice sculpture of his lover. (He’s quite talented at the sculpting; if record sales ever drop he might be able to turn it into a profitable career.)


Then he sings to his sculpture; it’s very touching. Unfortunately, he obviously feels it’s not touching enough, because he starts to fondle his creation and then he SNOGS it. You’re just waiting for his lips to freeze to the ice, but the director was sadly incapable of seizing the numerous opportunities to turn a good music video into a great one.


And I suppose our Rock Star might have had difficulty lip-synching with his gob glued to a giant ice cube

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