I’ve had approximately three weeks off of my Tuesday Night hill repeats since HRH‘s swimming lessons were temporarily canceled over the holidays. But we’re back at ‘er tonight…10 fold. What I mean is that I’m amping up my hills by leaving Wellandvale Rd. temporarily and taking on one of the granddaddy’s of them all, Hainer St. It might not be as long as Wellandvale Rd., but what it lacks in distance (approximately 200m) it more than makes up for in grade; it goes up….waaaaaay up. So I’m definitely going to be putting ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning through their paces. Likewise, it’s cold as fuck and there’s snow on the ground. Goodie. Tonight’s inspiration to survive the workout is the ‘Outside‘ album by David Bowie.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 48 hours, David Bowie recent died after an 18 month battle with cancer at age 69. The video for his recent single ‘Lazarus‘ (click HERE) for his newest album ‘Blackstar‘ just hit the airwaves today and while that might been a good homage for tonight’s run, I doubt an album about one preparing to die would have been appropriate for running repeats up and down on this god forsaken hill. Likewise, something like the 70’s camp LA glamilicious ‘Diamond Dogs‘ wouldn’t do either, but ‘Outside‘, hopefully, fits the bill given Rock’s champion chameleon can also put on a rather tough exterior when he chose to do so.
Released in 1995 on Virgin Records, this album (sometimes referred to as ‘1.Outside’) is actually a concept album (assuming that all his other albums were not – which is, of course, debatable); his 19th studio album overall. The album marks Bowie’s reunion with Brian Eno, whom Bowie had worked with most famously on his Berlin Trilogy in the 1970’s. Subtitled “The Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle” (hows that for an attention grabber), the album centers on the characters of a dystopian world on the eve of the 21st century. The album put Bowie back into the mainstream scene of rock music after nearly a long hiatus with its singles ‘The Hearts Filthy Lesson‘, ‘Strangers When We Meet‘, and ‘Hallo Spaceboy‘ (remixed by the Pet Shop Boys).
The music itself is very soundtrack-like, for the most part quite subdued industrial rock, with a recurring jazz-feel and lots of programmed beats and the mood is generally quite paranoid. And, of course, it sounds like Bowie – without all that ‘Let’s Dance‘ bullshit – including themes of aliens, androgyny and chaos. From looking at the ratings and reading the reviews, this seems to be quite an overlooked/frowned upon/disliked Bowie album and I’m not sure why. Like all other projects of Bowie’s, this is always the risk of simply being misunderstood and I think this holds true here as this is really quite good.
I have to say, tonight’s challenge wasn’t in distance per se, but the all out “sucktastic” combo of both Hainer Rd. and the sub-zero temperatures. In fact, the first kilometer of the run as I turned out of the college campus and out onto Ridley Rd. into a frigid headwind totally sucked balls. I thought my nose was going to fall off and my I’m sure my face was frozen into a twisted, grotesque grimace of icy agony so that I must have looked like the Joker out there to passing motorists. And then there was Hainer Rd. itself, 200m of steep, slippery shitiness. By the time I reached the summit at St. Paul Str., (5 times I might add) my heart rate was skyrocketing to my maximum heart rate of 170bpm leaving me spent and panting like an old geezer.
Highlights from the album include ‘We Prick You‘ was definitely motivating as was ‘No Control’ as I fought my way to the top of the “Hainer Rd. Manmaker“, and the eerie ‘Wishful Beginnings‘ with it’s creepy Count laughter in the background definitely made for some surreal moments on the run. Having good as it was, I sure was glad to get back to my car and my seat warmer after a measly 45 minutes and 7.11k-worth of winter brutality.
Bye David. Rock on, Spaceman.
Successes: Strava PB on ‘Hainer Rd. Manmaker‘ segment (1:20)