The Manchester based creative duo shared with us their publishing house’s latest Release: No Bombing, a publication where collage meets writing in a way only DR.ME can mix! They guys shared with us some of the collages and few texts, that we’re happy to publish here 🙂
DR.ME – No Bombing is our third release on our publishing arm Waiting Room press. It features 30 playful collages by Mark Christian Edwards that use the recognisable poolside instruction to not bomb in the pool and is accompanied by a selection of writings by artists, designers, writers and friends of the studio who have written shorts stories, poems and recipes about swimming, pools, diving and their fear of the deep blue sea. The writers include: Aliyah Hussain, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Jilly Edwards, Mark Edwards, John Powell-Jones, Lorcán Kan, Lou Stoppard, Mary Nally, Musa Okwonga, Rob Lowe Supermundane and Ryan Doyle. No Bombing will also come with a swimming pool changing room locker token : ) The publication will launch Thursday 4th November at Village Books in Manchester at 6pm
GADDINGS DAM by Aliyah Hussain
Gadd (Norse word meaning spike) (an old English occupational surname for a cattle driver) (a word used for a quarrying tool) Ings (an old Norse word for water meadow) Dam (early 19th century embankment dam)
Is cold water swimming seductive? Does the story of a friend who, whilst spending a cold winter away from Todmorden, got so agitated about not being able to swim in Gaddings Dam, ended up filling an old cow bath with water so they could maintain their morning routine help to answer the question? Some people crack a hole in the ice to take their daily dip. I’ve yet to see this in action, it feels like legend or myth. A folk tale.
How would you get in? How do you face this encounter? What is your preferred dosage of shock to the nervous system? Are you someone who gets in inch by inch starting at the toes and breathing their way up to an immersion to the waist before taking the plunge? I’ve seen this take up to 5 mins, almost like a meditation. A strange place of avoidance and prolonging the inevitable. A slow dance of indecision. Or maybe a savouring.
Some people get in by having to be cheered on and encouraged by friends and strangers. I’ve also seen people running in from the shallow end splashing and screaming their way into the water. Stomping through the peaty clay that lies under foot. Then there are those that get all the way up to their knees and then abandon the swim altogether. Or do you just go for it? Jump in first, worry about it later? My method is to wade in up to just above my knees, take two deep breaths and go. Fingers first, arms, shoulders, chest then whole body. It knocks your breath away, it’s like a sharp slap in the face. Every nerve in your body is screaming and all you have to focus on is moving and breathing. You know it’s less than a minute before you acclimatise and the shock wears off but it feels endless and glorious.
As your breathing slowly returns to a regular pace and you start to notice which bits of you give into the cold first. “My fanny’s frozen!” Tendons in the armpits, tips of the fingers, sides of the neck. Tingles, ice daggers, stiffness. It’s now a negotiation of how cold is too cold. How long should I stay in? Keep moving. You are in deep communication with your body. How much is enough, how much is too much? I’ve been told to get out before you feel cold. What does that even mean? There are so many flavours of cold. You have to get intimate with each one to know where safety is. Keep anxiety at bay.
The rest of the swim is more serene, feeling the awe of being immersed and swimming in a large body of water at an altitude of 355m surrounded by ancient moorland. Noticing the variety of other beings who have also taken to the water, such as the swallows diving during a summer storm. Skipping, skimming and scooping across the surface in a beautiful dance. The duck and her 12 ducklings, learning to swim alongside me. Or the myriad insect dramas that take place on the surface and in the waves. Spaces that become magnified when you zoom into the scale of their tiny lives and deaths.
Once you’ve had enough, getting out is the next step, it’s harder than getting in sometimes. Especially if the giddiness has gone to your head and you can’t stop laughing. Balancing on stepping stones and watching the waves lap at the edge are too many things to coordinate when you are riding the post swim high. Sometimes an undignified scooch out backwards on your bum is needed. When you get out, the strides you take up the slanted rocky embankment feel powerful. Dripping body glowing red, nerves still tingling and muscles feeling activated.
I’ve been told that when you get out, all the cold blood is at the surface of your body, the warm stuff is deep inside and close to your organs. Now you have to race to get dressed before the cold blood starts moving inwards. Rubbing your body dry speeds this up. Toss up whether you rub or not. Better to pat dry. Socks are impossible but very necessary. Legs in trousers, also difficult. Bra, no chance. Layers upon layers are added, a quick drink from a hot flask and then race down the steep hill back to normality.
Brylcream, lynx atlanta, davidoff cool water, £10 for the tuck shop, 50p for locker, Pods, FUBU, Levis, 6pm, Number 3 bus, Malvina Place, Glasgow Road, Lacoste Shorts, Frog bin, 3 flumes, cross the bridge, chlorine, wet socks, locker room, disco lights, tony the dj, waterfall, sauna, outside swimming, sunset swimming, snogging under water, river rapids, wave machine, irn-bru on ice, will you go out with my mate, crazy frog, Thinking about our younger years, scooter, are you ready? Strobe, smoke machine, dunking, no diving, 10pm curfew, highland toffee, chewing gum, hiding from life guards, kicked out, wet clothes, night bus home, swimmy disco.
The Void That Flows Beneath Us by Musa Okwonga
Twenty-one years ago I visited two worlds. The first world was the beach on the edge of the Mediterreanean, in the town of Fuengirola, and the second world was the sea itself. I had come to the first world for a week of holiday just before sitting my university finals, for several days of sun, strolling and tapas. I sauntered down to the beach, preparing to take a dip in the water, and at once found that the sand was too much for my bare feet. It was searing hot, a simmering plate of sheet metal, and seethed beneath my soles as angrily as shards of crushed glass. I was too far forward to go back, so I started to jog, then to sprint, and then I met the sea.
The sea was a second world. It seemed utterly unconnected to summer in Spain: it was furiously cold, its chill as harrowing as the heat of the sand. It was perfect. I don’t know why so many people are obsessed with exploring the deepest reaches of space when the oceans are right there in front of us. The seas are as inspiring and terrifying as anything that the void above us has to offer. It was a short swim, a swift baptism; the waves mercifully weak as I made my way along the shore, the water massaging all the warmth out of my limbs. I walked back onto the beach, the sand covering my feet like breadcrumbs: and two decades later I still wonder at the feel of the sea, so close to our soil yet so utterly foreign, and how I briefly slipped into the void that flows beneath us.
NoBombing by Mark Christian Edwards
The pool; a framing of water capturing a moment or a person in time, through endless lengths and moments sunk at the tiled floor of a shimmering blue universe.
The sea; the opposite, endless, rolling, deep, a continual question, waves breaking over calm expanse, what just brushed against my leg?
The dive; a deep dive into shallow thoughts, a spring into the unknown, a hope of depth brought on through the medium of height, pike, cannonball, forward dive, back dive, reverse dive, bomb, no bombing.
In a pool and swimming – it doesn’t get any better by Jilly Edwards
Life can be calmed by slowly immersing your self in the warmed water sending gentle ripples out as you get deeper & deeper – then with a gentle push out from the wall, your legs come up & your arms stretch out – you’re afloat – your face bobs up and your first strong pull of your arms and legs in unison- ‘I – frog – y – frog’ as the teach said – comes swimming into my mind – and with strong arms and legs you swim the length / turn & push off the wall again – up & down remembering to breathe in a rhythm – all your tensions go – everything is possible. My favourite pool is in Exeter its 1/3 inside with ledges to rest on & a wood burning stove to warm the air – then a glazed barrier / exit which you swim out under into the main pool which laps the top ledge of the pool – it’s still warm but the fresh air makes your face tingle every time you emerge from your stroke. After the swim a rest reclining on a bench looking up at the sky then a second dip but this time gently floating on your back the sky is full of birds flying past or stars if you take a night time dip.
No machines. No phones. just you making the world right.