Body by Rikers: Getting to Know My Trainer, The Ex- and Future Con

In the years since his release from prison, Bashar had a difficult time finding work. Bally and Equinox wouldn’t hire him, but my smaller, independent gym did. “I started helping people,” he said, noting that he had been inspired to train by his grandmother’s struggle to touch her toes, a struggle I shared.

So training me was part of his own self-improvement regimen? That felt a little too The Help for me. I asked him if it bothered him to have a gay client. “Everybody’s just there to get healthy and get big,” he said. “We just on different boats.” You give respect, you get respect.

Published: Nov 30, 2011
Length: 5 minutes (1,437 words)

The Slap That England Deserves

Beyond any question of style is the fact of this book’s sheer nastiness. “The Slap”‘s not anti-anything-it’s anti-everything, the work of the moment for a nation that I met more at the pubs and picnic tables of England than in any other book I’ve read. It’s the book of the great muttering resistance of England, a dark-witted, vote-nay group who could rival the American Tea Party for influence if they could only agree on a bar at which to meet.

Source: The Awl
Published: Aug 17, 2010
Length: 4 minutes (1,234 words)