Saturday, 26 October 2013


Presenting an interesting artefact from a long vanished era when people treated exercise as a slightly shameful activity to be conducted behind closed doors - and 'in the absolute minimum of clothing': THE K-TEL MULTI EXERCISER.

There's nothing erotic about the instructions, but they do, in best British style, sound smutty, and you can imagine Robin Askwith gurning through the window as a slightly chubby woman in her pants pulls a rope attached to the back of a door which alternately raises her arms and legs in a jerky approximation of sexual frenzy. 

The music adds to the self-effacing comedy of it all, jolly, jaunty, shrill and silly. This is Old School Keep Fit, not a mirror, isotonic drink, or pair of £150 trainers in sight.

Best of all, there is no cachet in exercising in this way, no early starts, punishing routines, burns to feel or broken personal bests to relay to bored colleagues and friends - especially as, about two weeks after buying the thing, it inevitably went back into the box for twenty years before being sold at a car boot sale, at which point the whole sorry cycle started again.

Here's a contemporary advert that emphasises the DIY bondage elements of the device.    

Remember, you can use it 'at home or in the office', so don't forget to take it to work on Monday. All you need is a waist level doorknob.

The record has a b-side, of course, but we'll get to that later. This isn't over.

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