Keep Fit and Dance with Peter Powell

Label / Cat. No: K-Tel INTL ONE1167
First Released: 1982

What The Album Blurb Says...

An Album to help you take shape and have fun while you’re doing it.

Exercising to your favourite music has proved to be one of the most successful and enjoyable ways of keeping fit.

Feel better and look good.

Keep Fit and Dance is precisely what it says. This album will give you a range of exercises you can do easily in your own home – either by yourself or with your friends or family.

The dance steps are fun to work out and you’ll find when you’ve learned them you can use them to very good effect in the disco or at parties.

One word of advice – don’t overdo it! Gradually build up the exercises as you feel fitter and more supple. Only do what you feel capable of doing.

Enjoy yourself.

*If you are in any doubt about your health or ability to do these exercises, you should consult your doctor before commencing the exercises.

What I Say

1982. What a heady year that was. E.T., The Falklands 'Conflict', The Commodore 64, Come On Eileen, T.J. Hooker, and, most importantly, Jane Fonda's very first 'Workout'.

Naturally, on this side of the pond we needed to find a British answer to this American type, trying to tell us how to exercise. A home grown role model to knock Hanoi Jane into a cocked hat. Who had the necessary gravitas, the long history of keep fit and the engaging personality to take on the future heavyweight of workout videos? Peter Powell, will you please step forward.

Yes, Peter Powell. That Peter Powell. It's sad to think that a man who was once one of our most highly regarded radio stars will forever be remembered as the man who married, and was left by, Anthea Turner...

 


...but we won't dwell on his marriage mistakes when we have this record in front of us. Oh no, we'll focus on his career ones. I think the problem here is that 'generally being a bit matey' isn't quite enough to compel people to start exercising. There is no authority from the man - he cajoles in a quaintly cheesy way, but there's no way you're going to listen to him and think,"oh, well I'd better start exercising then". No presence, you see.

Equally, I'm not convinced that Peter Powell at this point had ever been anywhere near a gym. His photo on the cover of him in a sweatshirt and wearing a towel casually round his shoulders isn't enough to convince me that he's a regular aerobics aficionado.

Speaking of which, it's interesting that this album (which only achieved number 13 on the British album charts for just the one week) was also released in America. Taking on La Fonda on her own turf, eh? I have no idea how well it did, but there is one interesting addition to the album:-

...it features the words 'Aerobic Dance Program' on the cover. Clearly the word 'Aerobic' hadn't made it to the UK at that point, but was a major selling point in the USA.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have no belief whatsoever that Peter Powell had even thought about joining a gym before this album, so his sports clothes and fake involvement annoy all the more. He's clearly in a sound booth, probably sitting in a nice comfy chair, telling the listeners 'I know it hurts' and then scoffing like a schoolgirl into his sleeve. The barrage of 'terrific's and 'great's really.... grates. The whole thing is so contrived.

See, at least with a video, you can see that the instructor / celebrity is actually doing the workout, and therefore has some kind of a bond with you. Having just a disembodied voice which, for all you know could be sat within reaching distance of a plate of doughnuts and a trifle, just doesn't inspire.

To make up for this lack of visuals, there is a free poster included which demonstrates all the moves that you should know for complete involvement with this record. Is it Peter himself, photographed in the various stages of exercise? No it sodding isn't. It's the same leotard-clad lovely who graces the cover in a range of clothes and hairstyles to try and convince us that K-Tel weren't so cheap that they would only pay for one model.

I'm not sure how helpful the static images are in getting you to do the right exercises, but here are the moves to the first routine.

 All in all I found this record fairly confusing. I've never indulged in 'keep fit' products in my life, and if this is in any way representative, then there's no chance of me ever getting involved. The instructions are confusing, they come too fast, Peter, for all his DJ skills seems to have little sense of rhythm or timing and the whole thing just seems a bit rushed. I imagine the results of trying this at home would be akin to something from the golden age of 'The Generation Game'.

I know we all need to exercise in these post-holiday girth-widening times, but take it from me, this album is not your friend.

As a final point, as the songs are secondary, with the exception of the 'Can-Can' which demonstrates the bizarre pace, nasty matiness and general weirdness of this album, the soundclips are just some of my favourite Peter Powellisms from this record. I'm sure they'll become your favourites too.

Sound Clips

Tracks

Side 1

1. The Shakedown (‘Use It Up and Wear It Out’) – A general warm up and de-tenser. A preparation for the exercises to come.
2. Firming The Body (‘Isn’t She Lovely’) – Firming exercise for the stomach and thighs.
3. Firming The Legs (‘Physical’) – Leg kicks and ‘bicycles’ for firm shapely legs.
4. Body Stretches (‘Body Talk’) – Let’s tone up some of those muscles that don’t get used too often.
5. Looseners (‘Ai No Corrida’) – You’ll be amazed what you can do with just the back of a chair for support!
6. Troublespots (‘Young and Beautiful’) – Waist, bottom, bust – you know the spots that need a little extra attention.

Side 2

1.The Energiser (‘Hooked on a Can Can’ – specially edited version) – A lighthearted track to ‘get some energy into your body’ – when you’re feeling very fit, play this track twice!
2. Absolute Collapse (‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’) – Rest for a few moments after the exertion of the last track and take a few deep breaths.

Now learn four simple dance sequences:-

3. The Strut (‘D.I.S.C.O.)
4. The Wrap (‘Celebration’)
5. The Rotor (‘Cuba’)
6. The Slice (‘Hands up’)
7. Danceability (‘Dance Yourself Dizzy’) Put all the steps together and enjoy yourself.

8. Relaxation (‘The Canon Suite’) – After the exercises a special time put aside for you to relax your body and mind.

Final score:

3.25 out of 10

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