Locker Larks

Locker room etiquette is WEIRD.

Actually calling it a 'locker room' is probably tinkering on the borders of swimming strangeness.

But the Americanisation of leisure is upon us. The next locker room Comrade to call me 'buddy' gets a camp flick of the towel around the short and curlies.

Way to go, um, buddy!

As ever, it's all about location, location, location.

And rather conveniently I have three locker room locations currently on my morning swimming radar.

Let's start with the lovely lido. We could even finish with the lovely lido, now that Lake Brockwell has embraced outdoor swimming seven days a week throughout the summer and winter season.

For all the art deco splendour within, the changing rooms at the lido are a little run down. One side of the gents is currently out of action. An overturned bench is cordoned off.

Routine is routine though. It hasn't stopped the lido regulars from still using their pegs to hang up the reminders of the day job. It's an unspoken rule that dictates peg etiquette. I usually leave my civvies scattered on the floor.

And then there's the walls of the lovely lido locker room, seemingly made of cardboard.


If walls could talk etc, which they actually do down at Lake Brockwell with the constant gaggle that you can hear coming from the ladies on the other side.

Gawd knows what they make of the operatic musical musings coming from my FAVE Brockwell Icicle back in the gents.

And we've not even addressed the hairdryer down the pants situation.

Best move on down the road to Brixton.

I'm finding much love for the Rec once again. This is my spiritual swimming home. Refurbishment after refurbishment has left the gents changing rooms looking... a little unloved.

And for all my moaning, that's the way I like it.

It's almost impossible not to pass through Brixton at the moment without having the manicured hand of gentrification touching you up. I swear that I grew a full on hipster beard, simply through cycling along Stockwell Road up towards Brixton Hill.

But the Rec refuses to gentrify, despite the best efforts of Lambeth Council and Greenwich Leisure Ltd.

The showers have some weird mini-fly type colony living in the far corner of the gents. They were there some twenty years ago and they haven't shifted. We're probably on the 100th generation. I like the continuity.

There's also some deep level topography going on in the gents at the Rec. The gentrifiers of Clap'ham and St Reatham have to suffer the folly of a 'village' changing room. Careful what you wish for Comrades with your attempts to inflict a rural mentality on urban life.

But back at the Rec and the Brixton old school structure remains. You shower collectively, and then put your Y-fronts back on in full public gaze.

We're all equal in the buff, Comrades.

But what of the Essex badlands.

Oh Lordy.

My third location, location, location locker room of late tops the weirdness table.

No surprises in knowing that it is a private gym.


If the UKIP steam room doesn't do your head in then the racist spa will certainly spoil your swim.

But only if you allow it to.

There's no such thing as a bad swim; all swims are to be celebrated.

Locker rooms however have to be tolerated.

I'm pondering copying the approach of my FAVE Brockwell Icicle: you stroll up each morning wearing your shreddies and a light overcoat, slip off the mac and then the swim awaits.

Come on in, the water's...

Last built: Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 3:13 AM

By Jason A.Cobb, Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 3:55 AM. Good for the environment.