Thursday, 14 October 2010

Rien ne va plus, O Demosthenes

With my back still in a bad way, I was having great difficulty getting up off the floor after giving Tonip the cat his daily brush. So awkward and maladroit was my struggle to get upright that J. asked me if I'd ever done any yoga. She has taken more than a passing interest in it in her time. (Yoga seems to be the topic in fashionable blog circles today.)

'Yes, a bit,' I said. She asked where.

'In the Classical Sixth store cupboard,' I answered. Clearly this wasn't the answer she'd been expecting.

I explained that for a while some of the 6th form lads took time off from Demosthenes and Tacitus and repaired next door to the store cupboard, more of an ante-room than a cupboard, which we'd turned into a kind of divan or oriental parlour. To annoy the Head of Classics by distancing ourselves from what he represented, we made a show of learning Hindustani in there, burning joss-sticks, saluting each other - and the Classics bloke - with a nod of the head and palms pressed together on the chest, that sort of thing. Naturally there followed a shallow dip into yoga.

(We also played pontoon and poker in there, and at one time there was talk of getting a roulette wheel. If J. ever asks me if I've ever been to Las Vegas, or Crockford's, I shall be able to say 'No, but in our Classical Sixth store cupboard' etc., etc.)

For us yoga meant little more than trying the various positions. Some, like the Tree, were too undemanding to be interesting. In those happy days - ah, if only I could do it now! - I was supple enough to hold the Lotus for minutes on end. One or two were brave enough to try that interior cleansing which has a name I've forgotten and which involves slowly swallowing, bit by bit, a length of muslin-like bandaging, for eventual withdrawal. In due course a lad called Anthony van der Wall, a useful spin bowler, attempted a position, probably called the Reef Knot, in which you hook your heels behind your neck. He burst a blood vessel and had to be taken to hospital. We returned heavy-hearted to Demosthenes and Tacitus.

'So you see I do have some experience of yoga,' I said.

'Yes, I do see,' she said. 'It's exactly what I might have expected.'


Rog said...

This is straight out of "Dead Poet's Society".

We had a Radio Hut at Gravesend Grammar where I used to listen to Worker's Playtime.

(Wv= reano - that's near Las Vegus isn't it?)

Dave said...

You're not on Facebook, are you? Roses has been telling us all about her yoga class last night. She hasn't persuaded me that I ought to go.

Christopher said...

Rog: Workers' Playtime! Wasn't that on at 11am? I'm trying to remember the signature tune, but all that comes to mind is Mrs Dale's Diary - wait, I've got it: wasn't it an Eric Coates march called 'London Calling?'

Dave: Facebook, no. I should forget about yoga and dust off your chemmy shoe instead.

(Much more agreeably characteristic thumbnail pic, incidentally, after those rather threatening eye and lens images.)

Rog said...

You're mixing it up with the Clash. It was Wilfred Pickeles at 12.30 and came from a canteen near you.

Charlene said...

Such an admission.

The crazy evangelical Baptist president of the Southern Baptist Seminary here in Louisville just proclaimed that yoga was evil. Considering what kind of a boob said that, I am of the opinion yoga is devine.

Sarah said...

I did yoga every day for 10 years, did you know you can 'grow' as much as 5cm when you do yoga regularly! lenghthens the spine by separating the bones....perhaps you should take it up help your back problem i mean...not the growth thang!
Belly dancing is just as good!

Christopher said...

Rog: That signature tune was an Eric Coates march entitled 'Calling all Workers', I discover. I wonder if the Cleckheaton-based Our Wilfred Pickles Fan Club (of which The Maybellines and their understrappers The Taybellines were an offshoot) is still on the go? I expect Tim Footman, the Edward Gibbon of recent social history, could tell us.

Charlene: Hi. Quite agree. Views of boobs can all too easily lead us astray.

Sah: Sound advice. I shall enrol at a belly-dancing class at once.

Spadoman said...

Now that's funny, we here in 'Merica cleanse our bowels from the other end. Strange habits abroad I'm finding. As for Yoga, I tried it once, but the instructor told me I took too much time for each breath. I was instructed to take a deep one and let it out slowly. I did as told, but the others in the class had been holding the position for a while as I was still releasing CO2.
Oh well, never burst a blood vessel doing Yoga, but one time during a sexual incounter, I.... Well, I won't go there.


Word verification is: Backe
Maybe this is in reference to yours, hope it mends quickly.

Christopher said...

Spadoman, this is fascinating. I surely can't be the only visitor to wonder if you inflicted the injury or suffered it yourself?

mig said...

I believe can still get into a sort of half lotus. But the last time I attempted it, a certain amount of undignified struggle was needed to get out of it so I shan't do it again.

Spadoman said...

You said, "... this is fascinating. I surely can't be the only visitor to wonder if you inflicted the injury or suffered it yourself?"

Both actually.

Pax Vobiscum

Christopher said...

Spadoman: For some reason your account puts me in mind of the famous US Marines Iwo Jima photo...

Christopher said...

...peaceably, of course.

english inukshuk said...

I think, from the evidence presented, that the Classical VIth Store Cupboard deserves its own blog


(word ver: downward dog, that most well known of yoga positions)

Christopher said...

This is completely brilliant idea, EI (EIO), and I'm giving it serious consideration. Here's a snap preview of the sort of urbane one-liner you could expect:

Cur nos lacessis, Lachesis?

(More sophisticated than Caesar adsum jam forte: Brutus aderat. Caesar sic in omnibus, Brutus sic intram.