Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cure for what ails you

I was in a funk yesterday and couldn't come to terms with writing my indoor cycling classes for today. After struggling to find a hook I gave up and planned to use a class I wrote earlier this month. I figured out that, at most, two people would have done it before and they likely wouldn't remember.

During dinner I became disgusted with myself for taking the easy way out. So I went back upstairs and thought about what would make me happy at that moment. The answer: the same thing that always makes me happy - surf guitar, specifically the music of a group called Los Straitjackets. At that moment I remembered that they had done a couple of Christmas albums and also that the best-selling album on eMusic is a Holiday Revue with Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets. I immediately created a new playlist, stuck in the seasonal Los Straitjackets songs I already owned and then clicked over to listen to the Nick Lowe album. It seemed like it would work so I bought the whole album.

Then I sorted the songs, added a little Brian Setzer as filler and began to create the cues for the class. It was meant to be an overload class where students add resistance that brings them to failure while maintaining a specific cadence (measured in rpm). The songs presented a perfect sequence from high to low cadence and were the right length to permit the prescribed amount of work and recovery in each song.

This morning I introduced the class using language along the lines of "What do you think of when I put Christmas and overload in the same sentence? I think of the annoying music at the grocery store. It seems like it starts earlier every year. So I have a selection of seasonal music for you but I'll bet it is unlike anything you have heard before. My guess is that today you will loathe the music while you are working and come to appreciate it while you are recovering."

The class was a big hit and several people asked for the names of the artists.

Here's a taste. I can't find videos of my favourite Los Straitjackets seasonal songs but here is one I used today.

And, in case you are curious, here's Nick Lowe with the band.

I'll bet your toe is tapping.

For good measure, here's my favourite seasonal song of all time. It's the Brian Setzer orchestra doing the Nutcracker Suite. I'm smiling now and I know I brought a little joy to a few others today.

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