Friday, March 23, 2007

Seconds away- round one!

Last friday, I went with some work colleagues to a nearby Gym at lunchtime in order to work out. (One of them was an Instructor so he had the keys!).

It was a martial arts gym, specifically for Thai Boxing. It had the usual selection of workout machines, a considerable number of punchbags (two of which were on springs so they were very hard to hit), a large floor space- and a boxing ring.

The last time I saw a ring in the flesh was at a holiday camp wrestling night at Great Yarmouth. This was a particularly surreal night as the venue wasn't overly high and the wrestlers had to duck under the dance floor lighting truss as they cavorted around the ring. Also, strangely enough, the wimpiest entertainer managed to thrash the professional wrestlers in a sensational grudge match. Entertainment indeed!

The first time I ever saw a wrestling ring was my first time backstage at Newcastle City Hall, which I have blogged about before. It was erected in the stalls and I helped the custodian (a character named Moose) fit up the traditional four shade ring light which was hoisted into the air via a small winch (that had two hooks with enormous iron balls on them to give them weight), the purpose of which was actually for the original Cinema screen which rolled out from a recess under the stage. As the wire rope drop points weren't in the right place, the ring light was tied into place by ropes attached to the balcony slips handrails. It was plugged in to a stage lighting outlet above the stage (in the large roof void) and consequently it was on a dimmer, so we could fade the four 500 Watt lamps smoothly up and down to top and tail the show. The light fitting had been home made from lengths of conduit (probably by the Council Electricians) and it lived in a basement store front of house next to the bar, where the stage extension framework lived (and the seats that were removed were put as there wasn't really anywhere else for them). I think the ring was brought in for the day and it took several hours to set up, generally by the wrestlers. Even Brian Crabtree used to lend a hand, before he put his Ringmaster's jacket on.

Back at the gym, the ref was electronic- a series of coloured lights and beeps signified the rounds & rests. Another difference was that there were four ropes instead of three but the overhead flood lamps were still there.

I didn't go into the ring (to box), but did put on some gloves and gave the punchbags a good pounding. They all have names now!

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