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July 2012

The List: Number 121 – Make a clear note come out of a sax.

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I once watched my friend learn to play the saxophone, and we spent a good long while in giggles while he made pretty much fart noises while he figured out his embouchure (it’s what you do with your lips and things to make a note with the reed + the mouth piece). Because of that singular, incredibly amusing experience, I thought it was difficult.

Turns out it’s not really difficult at all. My friend Cee had a sax, and when I told her I’d added this to The List, she offered to teach me. An hour or two later (with only a few random fart noises) I was making many clear notes. Fun times!

I didn’t expect it be that easy, so this was taken on my phone. It’s a bit shit, but perfectly demonstrates that woo, #122 – done!

The List: Number 74 – Take a trapeze class

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When I was riding my bike to work (in that amazing time before my hip got all nana-like) I’d ride to work through Regents Park. On the outer circle there is a massive trapeze set up with the Gorilla Circus. Knowing full well it was on The List I noted the url on a banner, and booked me and two friends into a beginners class.

It was pretty amazing. They teach you on a low bar how to put your legs above your head and hang on to a bar by your legs. They then put you on a rather high platform, and do the same again. It was both exhilarating and demonstrated my complete lack of flexibility and upper body strength. Well fun. You get a two or three practice goes. And then, towards the end, they set you up for the catch. The catch is where you you stand on a platform and jump off. You swing out, and as you do you put your feet over the bar. On the swing in you let go with your hands, and on the next swing out you’re caught by the catcher.

Now, I’m a pretty determined person (read: stubborn as). When I want to do something, I usually do it. On the ground I was determined that I was going to do the catch. Up the ladder, and on the platform, I was going to do the catch. While I was on the bar? While I was on the bar I learnt a few things about myself. One is that when a lady yells at me to let go of a bar and swing from my legs, my initial, completely irrational response to yell back ‘Woah buddy, not happening’.

Turns out that on a swinging bar a ten metres up in the air as I’m flying in a not especially graceful arc is when my inner coward comes out. Which is a bizarre realisation to have when you’re pumped with adrenaline and feel like you can (and should be able to) do anything. I didn’t fear the fall, because I’d already fallen. You need to, to get down. We weren’t up high enough to fear the height. I knew, rationally, that my legs were perfectly capable of holding my weight, more so than my arms.

My reaction was irrational, and completely instinct based. It was a very bizarre experience.

Still, I got up there, and gave it go, and I’m down with that. When my hip is less painful I’ll try again. Loads of fun, Trapeze. Hard work, though. Using muscles you never use, and expect your hands to be pretty raw by the time you’re done. I had mad calluses!

I’m glad I went, it was well fun. Number 74, done!

The Breakdown. The class is in Regents Park, and you can book online at It was £23.50 per person plus booking fee, and is about an hour and a bit lesson. You’re in a class with 9 others, and you’ll get 3-4 turns on the trapeze. Fun times all round!