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I had a group of full-size schematic exercise figures from the original Limber Gym installation made for Daniel Pryde-Jarman at his 'Meter Room' project space in Coventry in 2012 that Neville thought would go well in his family shop. The more I thought about it the less happy I was to place some irrelevant art work in a DIY shop: a rather patronising act towards Johhnnys' local customers, so I suggested to Neville that it might be more entertaining if I turned the whole shop into an 'art work' instead. To his credit he had the courage to go along with this proposition even though he was probably very dubious about what to expect

The important point about this proposition for me was the significant correspondence with the idea of practical self-improvement and repair anticipated by going to the gym, with all its equipment and machines, and the concept of a DIY shop with its tools and equipment designed for improvement and repairs of all kinds. Couple this with my absorbing interest in the concept of human consciousness as something always striving for improvements in all aspects of life to such an obsessive extent that 'Gods' perfect world' is not safe from our efforts.

Despite my original scepticism I was grateful that Neville gave me this opportunity to revisit and reflect upon the long term LIMBER GYM project with a fresh eye and to recognise that there was still a great deal of work to be done with the various works and texts that had comprised the two previous installations at the 'Meter Room' in Coventry and at 'First Site' in Battersea. LIMBER GYM: THE TOUR AT JOHNNYS' was a smaller installation than the previous two but no less ambitious or important in the development of the work for the future.

The beauty of the outcome of the project for me was that many of the customers who came to the shop did not notice anything amiss being focussed only on whatever it was that they had come into the shop for. One customer bought one of the 'works': a coverall suit with the words    HOW  TO  WHEN   TO   DON'T   DO     printed on it, because Johnnys' depleted stock of three coveralls were not as many as the customer wanted. There was a certain poetic irony in this sale because Johnnys' was paid twice for the same coverall I had originally bought from them to make the work and so, strictly speaking, it was not theirs to sell, but my artistic intervention had resulted in a 100% increase in the price they got for the item of protective clothing, reflecting the healthy art market down in Deptford.



Sung at the beginning and end of every session


                                             Everything your heart desires,

                                             Even penetrating thoughts.

                                             Why dream of suicide,

                                             When you can join the Limber Gym.


                                             Stand out in the crowd.

                                             Release all that tension.

                                             Don't just dream of constant effort,

                                             Appear just perfect every moment

                                             In the emptiness of Limber Gym


                                             Bathe in our solution.

                                             Dispense with all false effort,

                                             In the bath of absolute simplicity.

                                             Astonish family ...        friends alike

                                             In the  shower of absolute indifference

                                             Limber Gym is your defence

                                             Against all expectations.




  An ode to Limber Gym found in a country churchyard....





                                             You did.

                                                            Thinking little when you have

                              Each know corner,

                                                            Many places been.

                              Of what

                                             Or to

                                                            A room

                                                                          Some small room.

                             Will you next wonder,

                                                                           Is the now,





Laurie Preece is very grateful to Neville Johnny for collaborating with Limber Gym to further the cause of home and self-improvement in South-East London. Deptford owes Neville an enormous debt of gratitude 



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