Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Earworms – not my latest injury, but the neat way to describe songs that get stuck in your head during the course of a day. On his blog, Swiss Toni hosts a guest spot every Friday in which he gets a loyal reader to submit their earworms from the week. Inspired by that, I thought I’d list my top five earworms-to-exercise-by. So, in no particular order:

All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
This sums up my whole challenge in a way, from its plaintive cries for someone to “help me out” to the spookily-apt-in-my-case line: “I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand” As I’m running along, I imagine a BBC montage of my exploits set to this song. Every time I hear it, that montage gets a bit more elaborate. At the moment, the long, thumping build-up where the singer chants, “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” features me standing on a 10-metre diving board looking terrified. As it reaches a crescendo, I take off in slow motion and perform an intricate series of twists and turns on my way to a perfect, splash-free entry, drawing gasps from the crowd and a perfect score from the judges. Something tells me that if the montage ever happens it’s more likely to feature an agonising belly-flop set to the music from the Benny Hill Show.

Square One – Coldplay
I suppose the lyrics are quite apt in this song too (“you just want somebody listening to what you say”), but it’s the rhythm I like it for when I’m running. Every time it comes on the iPod I have the same thought: ‘I should seek out other songs with the same time signature to help me run’, but I never do. I had a similar song when I played golf (Moanin’ by Ray Charles) that always got me swinging at a good tempo if I could make it stick in my head, but that’s a hard thing to do. No matter how many times I listened to it on the way to the course, it was always easily dislodged, not least because it doesn’t have any lyrics. I’ve had more than one promising round ruined by a playing partner telling himself to “Wake up!” after a bad shot – you try getting rid of the Boo Radleys when you’re two under after five and trying to hold it together.

Meantime – The Futureheads
This is more a warning to anyone out there who jogs but has a weak heart – don’t ever run and listen to the Futureheads at the same time. Swiss Toni’s description of them as “A new wave barbershop quartet with thick Sunderland accents” doesn’t do justice to the Jam-inspired tempo at which their two-minute songs race to a finish. I found myself utterly out of breath for the first time in a long time last week and wondering why until I realised that while one Coldplay song will get me round a lap, or even a lap and a half of the park, the Futureheads had knocked out half their album by the time I’d made it round the first time, and I was foolishly trying to keep up with them.

Tame – The Pixies
As with the Futureheads, training to the Pixies is fraught with danger. Both bands will probably be useful for sprint training when the time comes, but I suspect that neither of them is doing my triathlon prospects much good. Nirvana were lauded for their ‘revolutionary’ song writing style involving the combination of slower, softer melodious interludes with frantic, neurotic and very, very loud spells of angst ridden guitar thrashing. But they never tried to claim they’d done anything new and freely admitted having copied the Pixies in this respect. So it is that a casual dog walker in the park may have been privy on occasion to the not entirely pretty sight of me suddenly bursting into a bit of a sprint for no apparent reason in the middle of a fairly gentle jog – little does he know that in my mind I’m being chased by an axe-wielding Frank Black who is screeching “Tame!”

Beautiful Day – U2
This song has it all – a good tempo, an uplifting melody, a chorus that makes you want to sing along (which I would advise against whilst running – for one thing, singing when you’ve got headphones on and can’t hear yourself is something to do in the privacy of your own home, but, more importantly, breathing is a key part of both endeavours and trying to do both at once is a bit like trying to talk on the phone while you’re playing the bassoon). Of course, when ITV used this song as their football show theme tune a few years ago, the sporting connection was sealed. On that note, another word of caution – listening to this song whilst running in the park can lead to you embarrassingly trying to join in with children’s football games as though they’re hearing the music too. They aren’t – and if their watching parents get even a little bit nervous about just how tight your Lycra running tights are, you could be looking at a seven stretch.


Inspired by the above tracks, triathlon training is still going well, even if I have been focusing rather too heavily on the running in recent weeks. I finally ordered my wetsuit and my triathlon outfit (very camp) yesterday. When said items arrive I will of course do my best to match Tim’s startling efforts to land a catalogue modelling deal before hopping on my bike and cycling to the swimming pool, or maybe even a swimming lake!


SwissToni said...

you think the futureheads are dangerous, try "all my life" by the foo fighters, especially the end bit where Dave Grohl starts screaming
"done, done and I'm onto the next one"

he could almost be checking off olympic events, eh?


John said...

That is actually a mildly terrifying thought. I might try it tonight for a laugh - see how far I can get before I have to pull up.

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