Michèle Lamy asks “What are we fighting for?” with a three-month-long, boxing-themed pop-up at Selfridges’ flagship store in London. The strapline that Lamy utilises as the calling card for her residency at Selfridges, named “Lamyland”, comes from one of the contributors, Overthrow Boxing Club. The New York based boxing club is what you would expect to see if Sid Vicious turned to a life of boxing. Something that Lamy’s style easily bonds with.
Though not one to just showcase a punk love of boxing in the “Corner Shop” area of Selfridges. The woman that describes boxing as “a great metaphor for life” created a fully functional boxing gym in the lower ground, with the help from BXR London. The boutique London boxing gym is renowned for being the place where Anthony Joshua trains and also being one of the best public facilities in the country.
The “Lamyland” boxing gym ran throughout February and in it’s last week, I had the pleasure of taking part in one of the BXR London run sessions. As it doesn’t happen every day, you can never be entirely sure what to expect when walking into a pop-up boxing gym on the lower ground of a department store. One thing it already had going for it, was not having too far to walk through Selfridges dressed like a ‘gym ready scruff’, as you could quickly make your way down one escalator and in. Then when in there, with more than enough space given to the pop-up and equipment most gyms could only wish for, it was in good shape. As I thought I was.
There was a choice of which station to start on and of course, I went for the punching bags first, with the aerobics section an area I was happy to avoid. Gloves on, stood in front of the bag, the lights dimmed, motivational quotes from Any Given Sunday and Rocky played, ding ding, round one! With the help of the trainer that stood inside the reduced size boxing ring, we were underway going through combinations, me against the bag.
This was great fun, energy levels high, making sure I was hitting as hard and as a fast as I could with every single punch. I was sure to listen to every instruction and when we got the one-minute freestyles I was off, beating the bag like it owed me money. But then something happened, after rounds of punching away we were asked to switch sections to the floor for the fitness. Now at this point, I was definitely ready for the floor, maybe for a little nap, a snooze, a siesta perhaps? I was not ready to do jumping squats, weighted squats, weighted lunges, burpees, rotating plank, standard plank and a lot, lot more.
Was it done? No, after what felt like forever we were back at the bags. Perhaps I can rest a little now, punch the bag a little lighter, throw some fewer punches. Though two things got the better of me one was the fact those motivational quotes at the start got the better of me and second the trainer wasn’t letting me off lightly after seeing me beating on the bag in the first wave. So once again I went for it and once again they asked me to go back to the floor.
This final session was definitely not a warm down, not even close. This time we grabbed the dumbells and we were in for a world of pain. The heaviest dumbells I had to choose from were 8kg. 8kg is usually “easy work” and something I wouldn’t even pick up in a regular gym session, but right now these two 8kg dumbells felt like 800kg. Dumbell rows in press-up position, tricep extensions, curls, shoulder press, weighted hip thrust, you name it, we were doing it and I was dying. It has been a long time since I felt that tired, probably back to playing basketball and the Summer sessions to get us fit for the season. Though it still wasn’t done, with one final “finisher” to drive out any chance of leaving that session not dripping in sweat, close to death, tired!
I finished that session thoroughly exhausted, but definitely felt all the better for it and will be checking out some of the sessions at the permanent BXR London. As in-store residencies and brand experience, pop-ups go Michèle Lamy, Selfridges and BXR London have really pulled no punches with this one. It’s a shame that the “Lamyland” X BXR London boxing gym will only be in Selfridges for a month, as it is a great addition to the store that could have lasted much longer. Unlike me, on the other hand, who could not have lasted much longer in the training session!