Can’t Swim, Can’t Pay

Day 16 of the Privatisation of Leisure in the Rotten Borough, and are the new arrangements at Brixton Rec starting to bed down?

Are they b*****ks.

Swim London members were given assurances at the Users Forum to announce the closure of Clap’ham Pool that all GLL membership cards would be transferable. Simply swipe your card at Brixton, and Bob’s yer uncle.

But I haven’t got an uncle called Bob. I haven’t even got an Aunty called Robert, either.

If the 7 – 9am only swimming in SW9 wasn’t bad enough, we now have to suffer the daily embarrassment of being branded a Clap’ham refugee. I arrive bright and early (very early) in Brixton, full of anticipation of my barcode card being swiped.

“Could you try again, please, Sir?”

“Oh, let’s swipe it a little slower.”

“One more time, please, Sir. Sir? Sir…?

The Brixton Rec smiling receptionists are doing their best under very trying circumstances. The closure both of Clap’ham and St Reatham pools by Labour led Lambeth Council, has led to all Lambeth swimmers now competing for a slot in the two hour time frame in SW9 each morning.

But how b***y difficult can it be to update the GLL records, and update my card, as promised at the Clap’ham Users Closure Forum? That’s the whole point of a Swim LONDON membership, surly? Your card is transferable across all GLL sites. I was certainly led to believe this when I was stung with the hidden costs during the generic online signing up process.

Tuesday morning saw a new twist to the farce of the early morning leisure failure. Three receptionists smiling away, and not a single customer. Cripes – a quick swipe or three and I should be in the pool before chucking out time at 9am.

But nope – I was asked instead to use the fast checkout machine at the side of the reception. I’ve every sympathy for the lovely GLL smiling ladies – the self-service machine is similar to the scab labour sets ups that are on the increase in supermarkets.

My Swim London card has yet to work on a single day since the Privatisation of Leisure by Lambeth Council, and so I was weary of the new approach.

“Don’t worry, Sir. It will be fine.”

And so I swiped, swiped, and swiped again. If at first you don’t succeed, bugger off back to bed and admit defeat. The free market has won, and you might as well turn into a lard arse, rather than try and use your local leisure facilities.

I continued of course, and asked once again for my details to be updated.

“How do we know who you are?”

I would have thought that you have got enough data on me already, seeing as though the direct debit still comes out of my bank account each month.

“Could Sir please try and resolve this membership issue at our Member’s Office?”

“Sure, what time does the office open?”


Chucking out time at Brixton Rec is 9am. Swimming in a sea of fools.

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