In the club
In Malcolm Gladwell’s “ The Tipping Point”, he describes a village in the United States, set in a beautiful valley where Italian immigrants had set up their lives during the colonization of North America.
The village was surrounded by other villages of different nationalities of immigrants but this village in particular was very special.
When a general medical practitioner visited to carry out a lecture in the area, his colleague, who had booked him to speak asked him to come, to see the village itself, as he told him that people there didn’t die except for, of old age.
This became a large demographic and scientific project, looking into the reasons why people in the village lived so long and without obvious disease.
They we’re not slimmer or fitter than anyone else. They smoked, they drank, they socialised, they did not live monastic lifestyles.
In the end the conclusion was, that they had community.
It was a thriving and vibrant community where the doors were never locked, and people could go from house to house. Everyone knew everyone else and they all supported each other, and they had literally hundreds of clubs for different interests, where people could meet and collaborate.
We lost this ages ago, the ability to meet face to face and collaborate.
The convenience of the digital world, removed the ability to look someone in the face and say, “how are you?”
Webinars are fine and typing questions to the speaker are all well and good.
Watching YouTube videos are convenient.
Listening to podcasts or online learning lectures are all good.
But where is the “how are you?”
I reached the stage in my life, both personally and professionally where clubs are just not manageable, due to my crazy schedule and full diary.
Meeting friends, spending time away from the grindstone, just seem impossible and not able to be fit in. They say that is the curse of my generation.
Over the past few years, I have tried to change that with different structures to push into place to protect some time where I meet with people one on one to feed my soul. There are 3 particular projects which are and will be really important to me, in terms of the generation of sanity, through meeting up.
First, the cinema club. I’ve talked about it a lot in these pages, in fact I used to blog about it every film that we saw, it’s Stuart and I on the first Monday of every month, if it’s your turn you choose the movie and the other person doesn’t know. Generally, we go out to eat beforehand.
This has run for at least 7 or 8 years, it’s a “happiness booster” and one of the best ways.
The rules are that there are only 2 members of cinema club but an unlimited waiting list.
Feel free to email me and I’ll put you on a list, but one of us has to die before you might get in.
The second is French Toast Mafia, this is my triathlon team. This year we’ve only raced once, but we travelled away and camped and stayed over. This has been so important to me, because I can’t do triathlons individually anymore. Mike Sosin, who is my runner, tells me that French Toast Mafia is like spinal tap.
Spinal tap will race now, until I cannot race anymore.
The third one is brand new though and it’s called insanity muscle club, so please let me tell you about the genesis of this new club.
On Sunday mornings, whenever I can, I cycle with another club, called the Squirrels, I was really kindly invited to join this group by Chris Navarro, who is a dentist locally that I work with and this year we travelled to cycle in France and Belgium through the battle fields (another club with another set of old views and another set of rules.) Two of the guys from the Squirrels, Chris and his brother in-law, Joe, have a club, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at half past 6 called Vanity Muscle (it is a joke honestly) they meet at David Lloyd 3 days a week and try to look after themselves, talk to each other and share the world.
I have been invited to this several times, but I am not in the league to join those two guys.
For ages and ages, I have wanted to get stronger and for my bike riding and my racing, I should have done it years ago, but I have never managed to find the format, to even enjoy it or regularise it.
It’s crazy really because one of my best friend is Carl Dunston, who is a physiotherapist extraordinaire and to the stars (some of Carl’s clients include Daniel Craig, U2 and Stella McCartney.) Carl lives up the road from me but neither of us have enough time to do anything. Which is who the idea for Insanity Muscle came.
Insanity Muscle was clearly a take-off of Vanity Muscle. Our exercises are never going to make us look any better, so there was no vanity. So, we set up a club for 6:30 every Tuesday morning in my garage. Carl and I share the same world view and many different things, and so the club goes like this…
I provide the facilities, which include an espresso coffee machine, with 4 espresso pods each week. I have a white board here, where I write down the session that Carl sends me, and I set up the macs in the garage.
Carl provides the expertise, the session and the technical knowledge of how to do the exercises.
We meet at 6:30, drink a coffee, wake up and then do an hour and we go and sort out the family stuff and then go to work.
We’re 3 weeks into this and it is completely brilliant, we try to do additional sessions during the week when we can, we then meet up again on the Tuesday morning. The final thing is that we have a playlist which has been added to my phone, there is a wireless speaker in the garage.
You’re allowed to put two song on the playlist, the first two songs each on the play list are the first time we met and one song each from then on. Once the playlist reaches 60 minutes, we’re allowed to put more songs on, but we have to take one off, to put one on. You can bin someone else’s song if you want.
As we trade, we talk about stuff and we just generally have friends together, doing something that feeds our soul before we go on with the rest of our day.
What club are your forming? What happiness booster are you pushing into your life?
There will be nothing like the ones that I have done, because you are nothing like me, but they will have their rules, their world views and their silly little tradition’s.
Insanity Muscle will not save my life through the exercise, but it might elongate it through the company.
Blog Post Number - 2082