‘Tough Boys’. Today’s theme, since this is what the small group of Portuguese lads (and two girls!) from the local beach ‘fight club’ have told us they wish to call themselves. In English, which is fortunate as we’re really struggling to come to grips with the local language. Inspired by their friends Alfredo and Seb, who work here with us and appear in our shows wielding the sledgehammers for breaking concrete blocks on us and so forth, the lads came for their firs intensive weights session yesterday, and informed us that they ‘want to do everything you do in the shows’ – which means they’re presumably up for bed of nails and the rest. Seems we have some work to do!
The evening beach fights – bare-knuckle boxing / kickboxing / wrestling / whatever NHB! continue year-round apparently, with diving into the sea after being the customary finale. We were rather surprise to find such a group into fitness in our new locale, since most groups of local youth we come across are seemingly just smoking / drinking / and drugging for all we know. So spreading the fitness bug, at least to one small group, can’t be bad, and it is earning a little money for our gym budget – fortunate, as one or two items, particularly cable pulls, are beginning to show some wear and tear already.
We’re beginning to show some ‘wear and tear’, too, after nine weeks of intensive effort here running gym training and doing acro/fakir shows during the peak tourist season. We’ve managed to organise a show schedule without us in it for the next couple of weeks, and will be taking some time off, covered by Alf and Seb, and then we cover for them for a two-week stretch. Probably just explore locally, although I do need to make a flying visit to UK in connection with the launch of a certain book…
It’s about a Tough Boy, as it happens. A boy so disturbed by the unwelcome reactions to his sexuality that he doubts his very existence, more or less, and commits himself to exploring the great outside world largely alone, except for an argumentative spirit guide. Whether he gets to find true love you’ll have to read it to find out – release date 26th October from Vanguard Press (no link available yet): ISBN 978-1-784653-23-1.
Here’s a teaser!
The boy, shirtless and barefoot, sat motionless under the tree, oblivious to the shadows lengthening around him and the chill developing in the air as evening began its slow transformation into night. Since lunchtime he had been there, moving only once to relieve himself against the same tree trunk.
His face displayed no emotion, no indication of the turmoil which had occupied his brain for the previous twenty-four hours. Indeed, his face seemed almost serene, calm. And, indeed, he was calm, now. He was close to reaching the decision which would immeasurably change his life forever. A decision he had never imagined he would have to make, but which was now unavoidable after the events of the previous afternoon – a catastrophic chain of events for which, he now admitted to himself, he had been entirely responsible. And, yet… was he? This was one of the several debates which had raged in his mind. What had occurred had seemed to him entirely natural. So why should it have resulted in such a dramatic reaction from the elders in his community? But, inside himself, he knew the answer to that perfectly well.
I call him a ‘boy’, partly on account of his youthful appearance and partly because, in my world, we use the term rather generously to describe young men well into their twenties and, as we become older, we tend to carry the term forward to mean anyone of our own age or younger. But this was, indeed, a man of just over nineteen mature years. Naturally dark of complexion, his shirtless habit in all except the very coldest weather had added a deep and even tan. His dark-brown eyes, seemingly unseeing and looking into the distance, yet noting even the slightest stirring in the grass, conveyed no emotion either… indeed, they conveyed an impression of serenity which totally concealed his true feelings. His hair, jet black, was both full and long. Very long, in fact, with much of it collected into a ‘pony tail’ tied with a leather lace: the tail, and the end of the lace, extended down to the small of his back. If you were asked to guess his age, you would probably have put it at no more than sixteen.
So you can see that this indeed the boy on the book cover… More ‘teasers’ will follow.
Back on the general ‘tough boys’ theme, the conversation with our local lads made Dave and I reflect on whether we would ever have been called ‘tough’. In our dads’ day, boys at school appear to have been evenly divided into the ‘hard’ (the sporty ones always up for a fight) and the ‘pansies’ (the rest), with any boy thought to be eyeing up another in the changing rooms being taunted with the chant ‘Osc, Osc’… since Oscar Wilde was a ‘wild Oscar’ according to the English Literature master, if you take my meaning!
In our day the school environment seemed to be more tolerant, with more ‘categories’ if you like: my oldest and then best friend Colin (straight) told me years later that, at the age of ten, he knew I was gay (I didn’t) but didn’t give a damn. I was his friend, so whatever? That’s so nice to know – especially as he still is a close friend and his son likewise with mine.
You don’t have to show a fist to be tough – although it does make a good picture:
We think that the ever-growing gym culture makes guys think well of themselves without the need to show aggression. The vast array of web pictures surely confirms that, and we celebrate that fitness here with a further collection of the best web-finds showing young men who are proud of the results they get from their training. ‘Up all the Tough Boys!’
Tough dog, too!
So there we are: a collection of nice ‘tough boys’ to hopefully inspire you. And, if you really want to be a tough boy, with Winter coming on n’all, you could try this: