The Lazy Journalist at the Prince Regent: Vanity in the Uk - The Insta generation

Steve Holloway. Photo by Paul Jenkins
Steve Holloway. Photo by Paul Jenkins

When did it become socially acceptable to take photos of yourself, in your pants, in the mirror, in the gym?

I don’t know what’s happening in women’s changing rooms but as far the chaps are concerned, certainly in most of the bigger gyms in the city, it’s muscle-flexing and solo-admiration all the way.

You wouldn't catch this quietly dignified fellow posing for photos in a gym. Photo by Paul Jenkins

You wouldn't catch this quietly dignified fellow posing for photos in a gym. Photo by Paul Jenkins

The absence of changing-room posing and prancing is another one of the things I appreciate in the smaller environs of the Prince Regent.

Sure it’s not perfect, there are obviously fewer cardiovascular exercise machines, and after less than two months I’m already inwardly huffing about the fact I always need to remember a pound coin for the locker, as opposed to the more personal padlocks used elsewhere.

At the risk of sounding like the thoroughly repressed old Uncle Monty in Withnail and I, at least in the titchy Prince Regent’s gym changing room I’m not jostled by buff, mostly tattooed, young men (stops to wipe my steamed up glasses) scrutinising their reflections and taking snaps for their Instagram accounts

I accept that my reactions are largely driven by middle-aged reactionary tendencies but I’ve recently started to embrace my knee-jerk curmudgeonly behaviour and I’m at the stage in life when I’m beginning to hate youthful exuberance first and ask questions later.

Prince Regent Swimming Complex, Brighton.

Prince Regent Swimming Complex, Brighton.

Although it’s not just the young bucks, there are some older pumped up narcissists out there who really should know better and spare us the public self-love.

My grumpiness is also probably partly due to jealously because it’s not something I’m ever likely to be able to do again (note the teeny, almost undoubtedly deluded, hint of optimism).

And on a practical note, the last time I was trim enough to potentially admire my bod in a gym mirror was barely in this century. I had a mobile phone but it didn’t have a camera in it and questions would have been asked if I attempted to take a sneaky mirror selfie with my bulky new digital camera.

These days (another creaking middles-aged way I shouldn’t be starting sentences), my relationship with the camera isn’t what it once was.

This week I saw an ad for personal trainer which featured a before and after photo and I glumly realised the man’s ‘before’ photo looked in better shape than I do after six weeks of diet and increased exercise...

But it’s not all bad news. I have lost nine lbs in weight and my previously spiralling blood pressure has dropped to a much lower, less-stroke inducing horror show.

There’s still months and months of exercise and healthy eating to be done but it’s a step in the right direction.

My diet hasn’t been quite so good of late, largely due to a horrid cold, which was so bad I almost considered calling the World Health Organisation to tell them I’d somehow picked up the most virulent superbug on the planet.

Fortunately, for all concerned, I battled through and have made an almost triumphant return to the gym, where I’ve discovered it’s now possible to watch large periods of televised snooker on my phone, while sweatily plodding away on an exercise bike.

Surely that’s a much better use of your phone in a gym?

To find out more about the gym and classes at the Prince Regent visit www.freedom-leisure.co.uk