Thursday, January 7, 2016

Punk Rope Theme of the Week: Tribute to Lemmy and Motörhead


Ian "LEMMY" Fraser Kilmister (24 December 1945 - 28 December 2015)
MOTÖRHEAD (June 1975 - 28 December 2015)

Last night's Punk Rope class paid homage to one of the greatest Rock n' Roll bands of all time and its legendary frontman, Lemmy Kilmister.  Lemmy passed on December 28, 2015, a day that will live in infamy, at least within the confines of my little corner of the world.  I pledge to have a shot of Jack Daniels every year on that day from here on to forever.  I will at least try, if I can remember.  As I am sure you all can relate, my capacity for remembering things seems to be steadily declining with each passing year.  

Lemmy is an inspiration to us all.  The man spent 50 years on the road, doing what he loved.  That included, in no particular order:  drinking excessively, drugging excessively, screwing excessively, and rock n' rolling excessively.  Even if you did not know Lemmy before (now you do, you're welcome), you have to admire the man's adherence to the only lifestyle he could ever have imagined:  that of a Rock n' Roll GOD.  Thanks for the wealth of music you left behind, Lemmy.  I will keep it close as I navigate the perilous roads ahead.  No matter what happens in this life, I can rest easy knowing I will have Motörhead to guide me all the way.

I will end this post with a few words from Mr. Lemmy himself:

"We are Motörhead and we play Rock n' Roll.  Don't forget us."

...And we never will.

Monday, November 9, 2015

All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

It has been an eventful last few weeks over here in Brussels.  The best holiday of the year, Halloween, has come and gone.   The calendar is moving forward and sand continues to trickle through the tiny opening of the hourglass.  It is hard to believe that winter is nearly upon us.  Only a few months ago, I spent several weeks basking in the sweltering heat of NYC's summer and riding a bike in my bikini along the southern coast of California.

 As a November baby, I enjoy the crispy autumn weather, but when the leaves start to turn colors and fall away, I know that the next chapter of my life, another year, is about to begin.  Growing older, reconciling yourself with the changes to come and accepting the inevitable in all of its forms (the big D), is crushingly difficult to come to terms with.  It is in these moments, despair and terror-filled, that I am rejuvenated.  Once again, after reviewing all possibilities and realizing that there are none but one, I am renewed in my desire to live, to enjoy the moments that I have and take them for myself.  My dear readers, if I am to impart to you anything in this post, it is the remembrance that time is fleeting and that every moment counts. CARPE DIEM. On that note, here poem by Andrew Marvell entitled, "To his Coy Mistress":

To his Coy Mistress 
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide 
Of Humber would complain.  I would 
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.  
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue 
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all 
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Of course, this poem is basically just a man scheming to get his lady into bed with him (typical), but the overall message is universal.  Seize the day, ladies and gentlemen, before the sun sets and the long sleep begins (and your hymens are eaten by worms).  I am looking forward to whatever the year ahead will bring.  Though I cannot make my sun stand still, I plan on enjoying all the wonderfully small pleasures brought with each passing day.  Don't get lost in the dust, my friends.  Keep moving forward, keep challenging yourselves, and keep loving.

Until next time, dear readers.

SURPRISE!  Taken yesterday - not your typical Brussels evening sky.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Blog & Destroy!

Ok, I realize that it has been an egregiously long period of time since I have posted anything.  For that I apologize.  I will have you know, my word as my bond, that from this day forth, I will make an honest attempt to be more industrious in my updates.  I will keep you guys entertained, so help me god, no matter the cost.  While this edict may inhibit my ability to create astounding works of blogular greatness, I will do my best to uphold the high standards that I unfortunately created for myself with my first post (which took me days, no, WEEKS, to complete. not complaining, no, no).  This may result in shorter posts, but hey, as we all know, size isn't everything.  Without further ado, let's talk about SKATE-BOARD-ing (cue Salt-N-Pepa)…


As you may or may not be aware, Punk Rope Belgium now has a regular gig at the BasicFit in Evere, Rue de Geneve, on Wednesdays at 6PM.  Holla!  We kicked off the month of October and debuted the class with a 'Ladies Who Rock' theme (songs with kick-ass leading ladies), followed by 'All Around the World', and this week, a truly stellar collection of  skateboarding tunes for our 'SKATE AND DESTROY' class.  I don't know what we were all smoking this week, but let me tell you, it was magic!  The air was thick with enthusiasm, positive energy and pounding rhythms.  Things got a little cuckoo, with the help of a mischievous skateboard named James Kelly and an overzealous student who took the theme to its literal end and face-planted across the floor.  For a few seconds time stood still as shell-shocked students stared at the drops of blood splattered across the parquet floor, until a paper towel appeared and erased the remnants of the spill.  We got back to work for the remainder of the song, after which I took the opportunity to remind the students that this class was hardcore.  Ha. Ha.  I, for one (and maybe the only one), thought that was very funny.  Our fallen comrade returned to class to retrieve her belongings a few chin-skin layers lighter, but with a blinding smile and promise to return another day.  I spent the remainder of this wonderful hour yelling hoarsely at students at the top of my lungs (the microphone was dysfunctional that day) and dodging spirinting students while streaking across the slippery floor with James Kelly.  There were no rules and yes, we destroyed.  Not sure they will let me work at BasicFit anymore.  JUST KIDDING.  I think.  Time for a little song break.  Cue songs with "banned" and "no rules":

In case you are interested, here is the playlist of bodacious tunes about skateboarding or performed by skateboarders that we demolished in class on Wednesday.  I have been completely out of my mind hyper this week, and I lay all the blame on these songs.  Who needs Red Bull when you've got skate punk?


Murs - Skatin Through the City
No Doubt - Excuse Me Mr.
The Adolescents - Rip it Up
The Faction - Skate & Destroy
The Descendents - Doug Rides a Skateboard
Bad Religion - Give You Nothing
Beyond Possession - Skater's Life
Agression - Intense Energy
Pharrell - Happy
Seven Hate - Booze
Minor Threat - Filler
Gang Green - Skate to Hell
The Bouncing Souls - True Believers
Pearl Jam - Save You
Yelawolf - Gone
Dinosaur Jr. - Plans

That's all for now, folks.  My time quota is up.  Stay tuned for more frequent updates (I PROMISE).  Keep your friends close, but your boards closer.





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inaugural Post: For the Love of Punk Rope

I recently gave my first Punk Rope class here in Belgium.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Punk Rope, it is an exercise class created by my good friend, Tim Haft, that incorporates various doses of jumping rope, playground exercises, themes, costumes, and punk rock into an hour of fitness fun.  Who can resist such a heady combination?  Certainly not me!  Punk Rope is a chance for us old people to revisit the glorious days of recess, group games, and mean kids stealing your lunch money*.

*subject to availability and location

You don't believe me?  Well, take a look at this:

Ok, so maybe there aren't any bullies shaking you down in the toilet stall, but there may be zombies waiting in the wings for a chance to eat your brains.  Or pirates, prostitutes, policemen, Canadians…(help me, dear god, the Canadians are coming!)...the possibilities are endless!  As a Punk Rope instructor, you are free to carry your class into the depths of your imagination or, as Buzz Lightyear would put it, "To infinity...and beyond!"  

I began my journey with Punk Rope and its incredible pack of human beings back in 2009.  A good friend and show buddy of mine,  Erin, invited me to her punk rock rope jumping class.  It was love at first hop.  Of course, back in those days I had no clue how to jump rope.  I started the class with the simple goal of trying not to self-flagellate (failed), and ended the class with the ability to sustain a short spurt of hops (score!).  Only double bounce of course, but still. For those of you new to rope jumping, don't be discouraged.  It is a skill that requires practice (doesn't practically everything?), but if you are diligent, you WILL get better.  This I know from experience.

Incorrigible ladies' man and entrepreneur-extraordinaire, Ladies and Gents, I give you..Tim Haft

Punk Rope's founder, Tim Haft, is a native New Yorker who is determined to put the fun back into fitness.  In 2004, after suffering a severe injury, Tim scoured the city in search of an exercise class that would help him get back into shape without it seeming like a foot-dragging chore.  Unable to find one, he created Punk Rope.  I count myself lucky to have met Tim.  He is a genuinely caring, creative, and all-around awesome individual.  He is also extremely community-oriented, in true punk rock spirit, and is on a mission to bring people together.   He has created three different classes over the years: Punk Rope, Beastanetics, and MoshFit, which all have monthly happy hours at local bars.  His MoshFit class even takes place IN A BAR, the incomparable Otto's Shrunken Head, which makes it very easy to drink as many calories as you've lost directly after class.  Bottoms up!

In addition to all the happy hours, Tim also organizes various food and drink tours, notably the neighborhood pizza crawls and, in the winter, hot chocolate crawls.  The hot chocolate stops are generally limited to two or three max, though, as after the 3rd or 4th cup the sugar starts to get to you, like, woah.  In terms of pizza, well, let's just say that I come from a family of what we like to call "hoovers".  Four slices, minimum, to play.  SO BRING THEM ON, BITCHES, BRING THEM ON.

The culmination of Tim's community events (not counting the work he does with various schools in the fight against childhood inactivity), most assuredly, are the gloriously gruesome Punk Rope Games.  The Punk Rope Games take place annually and pit up to sixteen teams of four persons against one other, gladiator style.  You may die, but you will die fighting.  The Games consist of a variety of individual and team-based challenges, both with jump ropes and not, including:  double unders, crosses, long rope, partner "punk-ups" aka push-ups holding a ball between your heads (I kid you not), ass to grass (or deep squats), chicken toss, shuttle runs, and whatever else might strike Tim's fancy (nothing is out of the question, I repeat, nothing).  

Every team has costumes of some sort and a team jump song, complete with original choreography.  There are sponsors, prizes (gift certificates to local bars, athletic stores, or even chocolate stores), and festivities following the competition, so you can rub your victory in the other teams' faces.  Just kidding.  But, as a former Punk Rope champion, perhaps I am not?  The only thing I know for sure is that YOU will never know for sure.  

The infamous "Chicken Toss"
The infamous chickens


The Punk Rope Games were launched back in 2009.  The VII edition will take place in September.  I was lucky enough to have been involved in four PR Games, from 2010-2013.  Here's a look back at the badass bunches of individuals I was honored to call my teammates.

"The Nor'beasters"
"The Missionaries"
"The Asian Contagion"
"Special Sauce"
As you can see, the Punk Rope Games are not only about competition and going for the glory.  They are also about FUN. And dressing up.  Costumes, especially messy, grizzly ones (at least in my book), are definitely part of the program.  When else can you be a bloody mess in the middle of summer?  Well, unless you were around the city during the summer of Sam in 1977, I'd say it's a rare possibility, indeed.  I am extremely sad that I will be missing the 7th edition of the Punk Rope Games.  One day, my team will reunite and take back the championship cup.  Until then, my friends, be good to each other…and…PARTY ON, DUDES!

Visit Punk Rope if you are interested in learning more.