Subscribe to Granta today

Colin Robinson: The Granta Podcast, Ep. 55


Detail from illustration by Guy Shield / The Jacky Winter Group, which accompanies ‘Paddleball’ by Colin Robinson in Granta 122: Betrayal.

This week on The Granta Podcast Colin Robinson reads from his memoir ‘Paddleball’ in Betrayal (available now) and talks to online editor Ted Hodgkinson about how an old brotherly friction re-emerged during a game in New York, and how gym culture has changed the way we view our bodies.

The new McBurney is located just nine blocks further south, on the ground floor and basement of an apartment building on 14th Street. Though its purpose-built premises, with their gleaming white exercise rooms and brightly tiled swimming pool, could hardly be in starker contrast with the previous building, the clientele has remained largely the same. Leaving those dedicated to fitness and physique to the city’s commercial gyms, the emphasis here is more on the sociable than the cardiovascular. The crowd is generally neither young nor fit. These people would rather spend time turning radioactive pink in the steam room than labour on a StairMaster or exercise bike. They converse in high decibel on clusters of stools between the lockers, or watch baseball from sticky plastic armchairs arranged around a small TV in a corner of the room. The scene resembles an exhibit of Lucian Freud’s work, with yards of drooping grey flesh in every direction.

Extract from ‘Paddleball’ by Colin Robinson in Granta 122: Betrayal.

Comments (43)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.

  1. Sinibaldi

    Mon Jan 28 16:39:31 GMT 2013


    Quand le
    chant d'un
    rayon décrit
    le sourire je
    vois, dans
    la mer, la douce
    émotion des
    pensées solitaires...

    Francesco Sinibaldi

  2. seoking

    Sun Mar 30 16:14:54 BST 2014

    I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be informative and to the topic. Thank you for not rambling on and on just to fill the page. Thanks..

  3. windjife

    Mon Dec 16 18:38:45 GMT 2013

    How to turn on the magic and spy your competitors?
    How to skyrocket your online and offline business with Twitter?
    What if you could build an AdSense website that only displayed ultra-high value keywords worth $300 per click?
    If you’re looking to ‘fast track’ new products that are PROVEN TO SELL into your business - check out Mobi Video Leads!
    The Most Powerful WordPress Theme Ever Made!

  4. awatts

    Wed Dec 18 18:11:00 GMT 2013

    I love Colin's writing, he managed to make me stand on the edge of my seat while reading a story about how he found his apartment. I guess he could have taken the easy way out had he gone to but then what would have become of this amazing story?

  5. danielutler

    Thu Apr 10 13:55:37 BST 2014

    Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.
    meble rustykalne


    Wed Apr 09 13:19:59 BST 2014

    His liking for the little public heritage gathered over thirty-seven years compared with the ill-disguised contempt he had not only for his conquests but also for their arena: Rio de Janeiro.

  7. nilson12

    Sat Apr 12 09:32:18 BST 2014

    I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles.

  8. The Crest

    Mon Apr 07 05:13:33 BST 2014

    the gym culture has really changed with the new introduction of sports hub with world-class facilities at kallang riverside. More can be found at

  9. johnsmith3289115

    Mon Apr 07 07:30:54 BST 2014

    I did enjoy reading articles posted on this site. They are impressive and has a lot of useful information.

  10. jack

    Sun Apr 06 13:25:19 BST 2014

    <a title="fun games" href="">fun games</a>lobally, one in every five children do not have access to vaccines, and it is just a twist of fate that separated my life from the lives of those children

  11. jack

    Sun Apr 06 12:50:31 BST 2014

    I am glad to catch idea from your article. It has information I have been searching for a long time. <a title="funny jokes" href="">funny jokes</a>

  12. jack

    Sun Apr 06 11:57:41 BST 2014

    Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here<a title="el clasificado" href="">el clasificado</a>

  13. jack

    Sun Apr 06 11:28:28 BST 2014

    Your posts NEVER ever disappoint, and that certainly holds true here as well. You always make for an interesting read <a title="free classifieds" href="">free classifieds</a>

  14. Commonwealth Towers

    Tue Apr 01 08:35:47 BST 2014

    Commonwealth Towers will be accessible via Queenstown MRT station. Commuting to the Bukit Timah Area as well as the city area is therefore very convenient. It is also near to Alexandra Central, a rare mixed commercial development which comprises of Hotels and mall shops

  15. jack

    Mon Mar 31 09:38:16 BST 2014

    Im impressed I try to keep a couple blogs fairly up-to-date, but it can be difficult every now and then.<a title="Oahu Wedding Photographer" href="">Oahu Wedding Photographer</a>

  16. affiliatemmo2

    Fri Apr 11 12:19:13 BST 2014

    I am extremely impressed together with your writing abilities as well as with the format for your weblog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it your self? Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice blog like this one today

  17. shahzaib11

    Tue Mar 11 21:29:27 GMT 2014

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!.

    Link Building Service

  18. shahzaib11

    Sat Mar 15 20:45:25 GMT 2014

    Hello, I just wanted to come here and tell you that you are doing a wonderful job on making these posts. And you should continue doing so!

    find out more

  19. jack

    Fri Feb 28 11:31:49 GMT 2014

    A reliable blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have experience that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a good one<a title="SLOT GAMES" href="">SLOT GAMES</a>

  20. Dewa Poker

    Tue Apr 01 19:37:55 BST 2014

    Excellent ideas! The way you laid out this post made a lot of sense Dewa Poker. You really helped me and Permainan Poker this was exactly what I was looking for. You made it Poker Online very easy for me to understand, and it greatly helped me out Game Poker. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say Poker Online Indonesia
    For those guys who are looking for Agen Poker a high quality essay writing services there is a good Poker Uang Asli news for them because now they can make best essay with Agen Poker Online the help of high quality services Cara Bermain Poker

  21. Dewa Poker

    Tue Apr 01 19:38:15 BST 2014 Agen Bola Agen Bola Terpercaya Agen Sbobet Casino Sbobet Bola Tangkas Ibcebt | Bandar Bola Bandar Bola Online Situs Bandar Bola Agen Bandar Bola Bandar Bola Terpercaya | Bola Tangkas Bola Tangkas Terpercaya Bola Tangkas Online Agen Bola Tangkas Agen Bola Tangkas Online Tangkas Online Agen Tangkas Online

  22. jack

    Mon Feb 24 20:47:54 GMT 2014

    It's a great pleasure reading your post.It's full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work<a title="fathers custody rights" href="">fathers custody rights</a>

  23. mp3skull

    Tue Mar 18 05:13:27 GMT 2014

    What really impresses me is that you are correctly mentioned that there are thousands of tools that are available to create a website or launch one but what matters is that you choose the right one, the one that gives you all that is actually needed.

  24. danielutler

    Wed Apr 09 12:36:03 BST 2014

    Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information.
    best face serum

  25. shahzaib11

    Wed Feb 19 06:09:02 GMT 2014

    These are great strategies for project managers. Though they study an entire unit on it in the certificate iv course, I think a lot comes down to personal time management strategies.
    bubblegum casting

  26. its me

    Sat Mar 29 02:18:43 GMT 2014

    This blog contains so many interesting stuff that makes me want to visit again and again. Look forward for more interesting updates..

  27. jasa web desain

    Mon Feb 24 00:35:51 GMT 2014

    Wow great post, very nice..
    I really like your story, this very touching...
    <a href="">Jasa Web Desain</a> <br>
    <a href="">Jasa Desain Grafis</a> <br>
    <a href="">Jasa Multimedia</a>

  28. jack

    Sun Feb 23 19:47:32 GMT 2014

    <a title="Sleeping bags" href="">Sleeping bags</a>You could post on the friendless of the blog owner. You may illustrate it's mesmerizing. Your blog feedback may add to your contacts.

  29. Ooge

    Fri Mar 21 12:25:43 GMT 2014

    Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I'm getting fed up of Wordpress because I've had issues with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  30. Interlace Condo

    Thu Mar 27 03:29:37 GMT 2014

    A wonderful and unique lifestyle awaits you. Please see The Interlace project details and floor plans for more information.

  31. shahzaib11

    Wed Feb 12 21:14:54 GMT 2014

    Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.

    bubblegum casting


    Wed Apr 02 09:01:13 BST 2014

    This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post. I will visit your blog regularly for Some latest post. bubblegum casting

  33. Real Estate

    Tue Apr 08 05:07:44 BST 2014

    “Together, these two government assistance schemes, at $167 million, translated to about 36 percent of town councils’ operating expenses. This is quite substantial and helps reduce the financial burden on residents,” noted Mr Khaw.

  34. Commonwealth T

    Sun Apr 06 04:05:48 BST 2014

    i've read it over and over on numerous occassions.. i must admit i'm falling in love with this.

  35. shahzaib11

    Mon Mar 31 21:59:01 BST 2014

    Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.

    is bubblegum casting legitimate

  36. shahzaib11

    Mon Mar 31 22:06:14 BST 2014

    This subject has interested me for quite some time. I have just started researching it on the Internet and found your post to be informative.

    is bubblegum casting legitimate