Whereof Thou Knowest Naught…

…thereof thou shouldst keep schtum.

I have kept this a Brexit-free zone of late. It’s all so shitty and unnecessary. If ever I met David Cameron and I got to the front of the queue of people wanting to give him a piece of their mind I’m not entirely sure I’d know where to start. Maybe he’d give me that look, you know the one that says, “Oh fuck, not again, not one more dead pig comment. Not one more of you fuckers. I’ve only just built up the courage to go for a pint of milk and a copy of The Beano. I just want my Beano. Please.” Well now, David, I just want my EU citizenship.

Had he been able to tell his back benchers to sod off and sell their constituents on the idea that the Conservative Party was a better bet for the future than the shit-stirring, shit-spraying, swivel-eyed loons of UKIP then we’d all now be able to tell funny stories about pig fucking instead of wondering at the destruction of a polity.

The trouble is that the lunatic fringe of the Tories had a comb-over and became the hair apparent.

That needs work. Sorry.

So David fucked off to his really nice shed and Teresa was given the impossible job of taking the country out of the EU while keeping our businesses, trading and security partners, froth-job politicians from all parties, the 33 or 34 million voters who actually bothered to vote on the subject, and half a dozen newspaper owners happy. It was never going to happen.

While the Conservative government has been doing whatever it’s been doing – screaming into bins, I don’t know – the Labour opposition has been screaming into different bins, some of them containing Jewish people. They haven’t actually done anything to change the course of events. I know that they would like to think of themselves as kings and queens of the political surf, hanging No 10 off the front of the board. The reality is that they’ve gone through one wipeout after another. They can’t maintain a significant poll lead against arguably the most inept government in post-war history.

So, the day after the government lost its Brexit vote catastrophically, Jeremy couldn’t get a majority in the Commons to agree that they have no confidence in the government. Labour supporters keep telling me that I don’t understand the overall strategy. I don’t think there is one. There certainly isn’t a sense of anyone reaching out to build the alliances they need to overturn the government’s policies. They can’t reach out to other strands in their own party.

We have the two biggest parties in Parliament more concerned about internal party matters than the good of the country and it’s all bollocks.

In the meantime, 29th March is getting closer. We don’t have a plan to leave we can even get close to agreeing amongst ourselves never mind put before our new partners in Europe and elsewhere. Arseholes are making money out of this. You know they are. While they are, they don’t give a fuck about the rest of us. That’s the real Brexit dividend.

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More Than One Way To…

I was going to say skin a cat but that’s a very unpleasant image. English idioms can be horrid at times.

For an avowed technophobe, I’m fond of the few toys I have and understand. I use my Garmin watch to record all my training and even my yoga practice, such as it is. I enjoy following science and engineering and probably know a surprising amount about current genetics, particle physics, medical science and chemistry for a retired art historian. I’m still quite shite at maths, though. Of course, I’m particularly interested in how research in physiology might be applied to sport. I really should do that sports science degree.

Anyway, I spotted a link on Twitter (thanks Kate Bevan) to an article on WIRED about something called a DNA boot camp. Spit in a cup, send off your gob to a testing service, wait for a bit then take the results with you to sunny Ibiza where kindly instructors and coaches will tailor a week of workouts and dietary advice to your genotype.

It might be that there is sound, peer-reviewed science underpinning this operation. I haven’t done enough reading of my own to be able to tell whether it’s bollocks. There is quite a lot of dietary advice in particular which is distinctly testicular. I never want to hear another mention of superfoods or the prophylactic effect of consuming chocolate, red wine, sprouts or anything else.

Everything We Eat Both Causes and Prevents Cancer

This article on vox.com is an interesting exploration of why medical studies in particular are problematic for the layperson to understand. We rely on our experts to sift and assess the morass of often conflicting results from single studies. Doctors and other scientists get training in epidemiology and  statistics to help them understand what makes a good study and a significant result and this is what the rational person relies on for advice.

A less rational person might follow what passes for health advice in newspaper or magazine where the time-pressed journalist has to go with information in press releases from university public relations departments and follow ups with whichever expert will return a phone call or email.

Some might even look at the table above and conclude that they should just give up eating altogether if they want to avoid cancer, or eat everything on the list three times a day to prevent it.

It’s worse again when someone is trying to sell something on the back of “science.” For obvious, male-gaze reasons, I tend to think of Jennifer Aniston and “Here comes the science” when someone tries to use flannel and hand-waving to flog a new thing.

Sorry about that. Dated, isn’t it?

Anyway, the science bit in this thing about DNA bootcamps is beyond my ability to assess, as I said. It might be that the dietary and exercise advice is sound but I would have to rely on Christof Schwiening or Andy Matson for advice on that. I will note however that the cost of a week at this DNA bootcamp is from a fulsome and effusive £2,295. That’s whole-hearted pricing in a time of austerity. It’s one more reason to be sceptical about the whole thing. Someone wants to make money from all this sciencing.

I have no problem with paying for expert advice and coaching. I do just that for my yoga classes and kettlebells when I have the time to go. I get a lot from both of them. I would love to go and do some warm weather triathlon training too and that isn’t exactly cheap but the coaching at the ones I’ve seen is excellent.

What worries me most about the DNA boot camp is that it doesn’t seem much fun. As we discussed earlier this week, in order for an exercise regime to stick it has to be fun and as it happens I have something to share which is just that.

https://sites.google.com/view/runforyourlifecambridge

Carrie Bedingfield set up Run For Your Life as a means to get people out running and having fun in a supportive, low-stress, joyful way. The group she established has been meeting on Monday evenings on Coleridge Road for some time now and is thriving. She wants to expand the programme to make it more widely available across the city and its environs. The idea is to make running less of a chore. It shouldn’t have to be hard work, pounding pavements on your own. So, Run For Your Life will have small groups of up to eight runners with an experienced run leader or coach along for advice and encouragement. You will have support whether you’re starting an exercise programme from scratch or returning to running after a break.

I think it’s a brilliant idea so I will be hosting one of the groups in Cherry Hinton on Thursday evenings. I have committed to four sessions to see what the response is like and if there is a demand then I’ll continue. It won’t cost anything. You won’t need to spit into a cup, change your diet, run all the time, or do anything other than turn up in high-viz and ideally say “Thank you” at the end of the session. Please tell your friends. Carrie would like to expand beyond Cambridge so contact her via the Run For Your Life website if you’d like to know more. She’s lovely.

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