industry. 1 here is a good catch of familiarcontributors ( lain (‘richton Smith. .-\I Alvarez. Neil (iunn. Macl)iarmid. Mac('aig and (ieorge Mackay Brown) but they are just part of a rich and chewy chowder awain with unexpected delights. ll)avitl (iro/ier)


Death Masklane l)entinger ((iollanc/ L'l l.‘)5 ) 'l‘he credibility of the natnes of the characters is often an indication of whether or not a crime novel is going to be any good. In a fantasy noy el. if you cart bring

yourself to read one in the first place.

you don’t mind reading about 'l‘harg the Migltty t'zuk of'(irell. but ifthe names in a crime novel seem too unreal it hampers your enioyment of lhc book. l found it hard to take seriously characters in this book who have names like Burton livans. .lo.lo l)aniels. liarl Brothers and Peter Morrance because the natnes seem too artificial: these are names you would only find in a crime novel. l’erhaps. thottgh. this is a deliberate ploy on the part of the author. for this is a novel set in the often very false world of the theatre. where real people sometimes do have made-up names. I suspect that it isn‘t deliberate. thotigh it does jar less and less as the book progresses. Perhaps the real fault of the book is simply that it begins very weakly. the apparent falseness of the names being only symptomatic ofa greater failing. If only the first few chapters ltatl bectt as good its the rest til~ the novel the names might not have seemed so false. ( lain (irant)


I People For Lunch ( ieorgina l latnmick (.-\bacus £3.99) Neat. sometimes cryptic short stories of low-key individuals in domestic crisis. Absorbing and digestible. I Corregidora ( iay'l .lones ( ( ’amden l’ress £5.95) Black blues singer’s hatred of her incestuous slay e-niaster ancestor bedeyils her own marriage-mistakesattd her confused sexuality. l’hew . the New York limes qttote on the coy er untruthfully promises incessant sex. I Sweet Death (‘lattdc ’l'ardat (l’antlora L35”) Non-stop tlc'\L‘l'lptltlll tile\ cry cake. tlflllls‘ . honey -pot and sugar-mountain that goes into the cavernous belly of a girl who is trying to kill herselfby‘ eating. (iross portrait of the modern food-obsessed malaise. I Dispatches Michael l lerr (Picador £3.05) \Var correspondent in Vietnam documents his experience of the no-man's land between ciy ilian and soldier. on the front line by choice only btit still sharing the drugs. iargon and casualty of it all. I Beyond Heaven's River ( ireg Bear ((iollanc/ LIAN) liastern Sl‘ has Yoshio ls'aw ashita put in cold storage for four hundred years. 'l'hereafter he succumbs to culture shock and probes the morality of planet-collecting.

48'l‘he list 13 Iolanuary


As the indulgent excesses ofC‘hristmas and l logmanay wreak their ravages on the liver. the figure and the soul. many would-be penitents seek sanctuary in exercise. To mark the January Fitness Boom. Andrew Burnet goes on intrepid pilgrimage to the health clubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh in quest of a miracle cure.

'l‘urning apprehensively' into Brown Street. I began to sweat. imagining the horrors that lay ahead of me. A subterranean torture chamber filled with ingenious devices for inflicting pain and manned by hideously enthusiastic exponentsof mutilation; or at best a steamy assemblage of bron/ed blonde beauties commingling with Stallone-clones in varying shades of pink. tan and Incredible l lttlk green. all poised to split their rippling sides wit" one accord at the sight of my \V'alter-the-Softy' physique. lnstead. on arriving at Browns. l was greeted by (iary the manager. and given a guided tour of the facilities before entering the bowels of the gymnasium. Browns is a small

bttt well appointed club. which offers

23 aerobics classes per week ( all tattght by metnbersof'ASSli'lV- the Association for Safety Standards in fixercise 'l‘eaching). sauna. steam room. plunge pool. relaxation area with large video screen. sunbeds and ofcours'e the fully equipped weight-training gym.

()n my arrival in the basement (which. far from a dismal dungeon. was pine panelled and filled with sophisticated bttt safe exercise


Beware also of any club whose instructors appear inexperienced. Clearly. exercise equipment is potentially dangerous. and its effects on the body are not always immediately apparent. You may feel

t. fine throughout a workout, but suffer

terribly for days or even weeks

machines in soothing white and grcett). (iary’s promise of a friendly. relaxed atmosphere was fulfilled and maintained when I met .Mike. one of several experienced instructors who between them supervise the gymnasium at all times. After making preliminary enquiries about my current state of fitness. and winning my confidence by not laughing. he took tne through a broad-based and virtually painless workout. explaining. cautioning and encouraging at each point. Mike filled out a record card of my achievements. noting the weight used in each exercise. "l‘hese are the weights you'll be working against next time you come.’ he told me firmly. ‘What you‘re doing now doesn‘t do you anygood . . .' sensing my disappointment he added. ‘unless you do it regularly. Less than twice a week and you're wasting your time.’

Mike tnade a few discreet enquiries about my eating and drinking habits. to which I replied sheepishly and more-or-less honestly. l le was sympathetic. and admitted he was trying to cut down himself.

Finally. with the handshake I never received from my gym teacher at

afterwards. Permanent injury is not impossible. Unless you are experienced enough yourself to know what you‘re doing, it is vital to have an instructor on hand who can give you informed advice and help formulate a programme.

Although the law does not specify particular qualifications or requirements for instructors. the club itself is liable under Health and Safety legislation forany injury sustained to clientsthrough staff negligence. Frank Clement of Glasgow District Council‘s Sports Council said that although staff might be employed on the basis of experience alone, ‘one of the priorities would be to get them qualified.‘

A numberof organisations run courses to train instructors and promote awareness of exercise-related issues. These include ASSET (see introduction), the National Amateur Body-Building Association (NABBA) and the Scottish Keep Fit Association, but none of these is an absolute necessity for instructors. There is, however a move afoot to make all clubs conform to the Royal Society of Arts' exacting health and fitness standards.

school. he released tne. A free man. lfottnd myself hankering for more. and reported back to the reception desk for information on prices and membership (see listings below).

I left feeling re freshcd and invigorated. the morning might bring aching muscles and regrets. but for now at least. the exercise cult had gained a new convert.


Naturally. facilities and atmospheres varyfrom club to club. All thosel visited had friendly. helpful. informed staff. but some are clearly appealing to different sectors of the market. Find a club which offers what you want. and if you don’t feel at ease and comfortable.

don‘t join. Below. we outline what the

various clubs and centres are offering. Except where stated. all sessions are open to both sexes.


I Bellahouston Sports Centre Bellahouston l)riy e. ( i5 l . 427 5-154. ‘).3tlam ll)..‘~llpm "days. .-\nnual membership: L7 for ( ilasgow

citi/ens. U) for others. plus Ll .le

(nonmembers Ll .S‘ll) per session. l’acilities include new ly equipped multi-gy'ni. with free coaching and

l constant supervision.

I Body ClUlJ ibis Sauchichall Street.

; (i133: 343‘ and 35 York Street. (32

an“ in“

i- l. lllant lllpiii"tl;tys..-\ll

' sessionsaresingle sex. alternating

between the two y enues: call for

; details. .’\lillll;tl membership for

both centres: {20‘}. pay able in weekly. monthly or annual instalments. Various incentive

g seltclttcsoperate: for example:

years' membership for £35” if you

join on your first y Ni and pay cash. ; l’acilitics: multi-gy tn. free weights.

running machines. saunas. sunbeds

with high-speed lace-tanners (5le

E forS minsordinary ). iacu/xis ( York Street only ).

I Browns 30 Brow n Street. ( i3. 304

1247' S. Mon l’ri Sam lflpm: Sat. Sun lilam (rpm. Annual membership: L'lfltspecial offer until the end of January). plus £2.65 per session. Monthly membership: £185“ for ttnlimilcd use oflacilities. Sunbeds are [3.5” per 3U minute session. or £3” for a course often. l’acilities: see aboy c. Members may also use the aerobics studio when there is no class till.

I Gentle Persuasion Health Studio I 3 Baliaffray Shopping l’rccicnt. (irantpian \Vay . Bearsden. (ibl . 9-13 7204. Mon- l’ri noon alm; Sat. Sttn lllam bpm. o different annual memberships from £2“ (plus £3 per session) to L33“. facilities: ('omputcri/ed aerobics studio.

which programmes difficulty and

duration of exercise according to individual requirements. multi-gym with separate facility for each muscle group. sauna. sunbeds and ‘\'ibrosaun‘. which is designed to improve circulation. ()ualified instructors attend at all times. and the emphasis is on a relaxed atmosphere for those who lack enthusiasm for pumping iron.