‘Here Comes The Sun’
At the time of writing the hottest day of the year so far is just behind us. Even so, local and regional news outlets up and down the country, the likes of: Torquay Herald Express (21/07/2016), The Scottish Daily Herald (20/07/2016), Wales Online (20/07/2016) and Essex Chronicle (20/07/2016) all asked, “Where are our local nude beaches?”
Let’s not get carried away now, it is ‘the silly season’ after all. It might suggest though, a door slightly ajar for further acceptance of open space naturism in this country, whether it is beach or countryside. Yet, just because the “door is ajar” doesn’t mean open space naturism is going to be given to us on the plate, we still need to persuade them in charge that it is a good idea, one that will benefit the local community? Sadly, the UK lacks the grassroot organisations – those local enough to matter to councillors that run the beaches or country parks – to achieve it.
All In The Past
It is not a publication that I associate with actual hard news, but the Daily Star (20/07/2016) published some old photographs that they allege to be of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The photos have been dated from either 1950s or 60s, but as the paper acknowledged, the future Mrs Merkel was not born until 1954 so she was not 16 until 1970.
The Daily Star contacted the Chancellor’s office in Berlin for comment but, not surprisingly, none came. I left a question of my own on the letters’ page for the paper: What is the public interest in this (allegedly) piece of news. If I get an answer, I’ll let you know.
If you’re a fan of reality TV, in Australia you have Real Housewives Of Sydney to look forward to early in 2017. And before you ask, I’m not a fan.
However, the Daily Mail (22/07/2016) has picked up that the thirteen-year old son of one of show’s participants, Victoria Rees, has banned his mother from walking around the house nude. When asked if she was a nudist (naturist, whatever), Rees denied that she was, adding: “But you know what it’s like at home.”
We all find our parents embarrassing at 13, but interestingly neither the newspaper nor Rees herself put the reason for the nudity ban down to her teenage son’s own embarrassment.
Still, a question for the parents out there: Is there a point when naturist parents should consider the feelings of their teenage children?
“The Skinny Dip”
Would you believe that skinny-dipping has its own show? Oh yes it does! You can watch it on Amazon Prime, if you are the type that goes for premium Internet TV that is.
Reviewed by Decider.com (14/07/2016) it tells us that the show – if you can call it that – originated in 2008 and typically shows the attempts of its host, Canadian Eve Kelly, to persuade people in whatever country she has landed in to join her for a skinny dip. There is no actual nudity in the show, lots of backsides and side boobs instead, all in the last three minutes or so, so from a naturist perspective this is disappointing.
The biggest disappointment though, was a statement made by the reviewer herself. ‘The title is also pretty misleading. Skinny dipping has come to represent something inherently sexual in our culture, but there’s nothing at all exploitative about the nudity in The Skinny Dip.’ When did the inherently naughty skinny-dip because you are swimming with no clothes on become a euphemism for sex or something sexual? Has the reviewer misunderstood the concept entirely? At least she admitted that Eve Kelly is breaking barriers, adding: ‘It’s almost liberating. Everyone’s so free and naked! Eve herself never acknowledges the fact that her show is breaking down this minor barrier [about nudity on TV]; in fact, she doesn’t even seem to be aware of it.’
As Amazon Prime is a subscription service, you would think it was possible to have a post watershed show that features actual skinny-dipping? Originating on cable TV, The Skinny Dip ran for just one season, so perhaps the main purpose of the show was to make Eve Kelly a minor celebrity ready to go on to bigger and better things, rather than the skinny-dipping itself. But that’s pure conjecture of course.
Bored by the Naked Protester?
Nudity is being used in protests quite widely these days, the World Naked Bike Ride to name just one and many have wondered if it is leading to the greater acceptance of the naked body itself?
However you voted in the recent EU referendum, this will be a result that will be debated for many a month yet but some took extreme measures to register their objection to the outcome. Like Victoria Bateman for instance, who attended a two-hour faculty meeting nude, with “Brexit leaves Britain Naked” written over her breasts and stomach. According to The Independent (02/07/2016) the 30 other economists at the meeting completely failed to remark on Dr Bateman’s nudity.
The article went on to tell us that Dr Bateman has previous for public nudity, for in 2014 she posed for artist Anthony Connelly in a painting that went on display at the Mall Galleries. At the time, Dr Bateman told The Guardian that she wanted to challenge the association between the [naked] body and sex.
Back to the protest, however, if a woman can sit naked for two hours in protest and no one else in the room remarks upon it, I have to ask, are the days of the naked protest numbered? There is a saying: familiarity breeds contempt. Is the nude protester so familiar now, people are contemptuous of the nudity. Dare I say even bored by it? Is it time for protesters of all stripes to think of a different strategy to gain the desired publicity. By extension, however, can we say simple, public social nudity is more acceptable now than it ever was in the past?
Thief Picked Wrong Phone to Steal
It’s an old dodge; one used countless times in films old and new. Someone is peddling something or other, a magazine say, among a crowd and they fall to the ground. The peddler then not only picks up the magazines but whatever they have conveniently covered. The peddler-come-thief walks off and no one is the wiser.
That’s how it’s supposed to go, but an article on the BBC News website (29/07/2016) told us that it doesn’t always go according to plan. Mikaela Kellner was sunbathing with friends in a Stockholm park when she spotted a man hanging around nearby, acting suspiciously. The magazines he was selling fell to the ground. He picked them up and walked off, so far so good, but it wasn’t long before a friend noticed their mobile phone was missing and off-duty police officer Mikaela sprang into action. With no time to get dressed, she chased down her man still in her bikini, along with another friend, also an off-duty police officer. Sadly the article didn’t mention if it was a he or a she. Still the point is made.
A picture of the arrest posted to Instagram got 9,000 plus likes in two days. Why I mention it here, however, is because of the remark Mikaela Kellner made to Aftonbladet that she would have acted the same way even if she had been naked. Presumably that was an unprompted remark, so was she trying to tell us something. That her duty as a police officer comes first, regardless of what she’s wearing or not. Or that she saw nothing wrong with public social nudity and she really wanted to sunbath in the park, naked. I guess we shall never know.
Talking of Cameras
Just a quick reminder that next spring will see the launch of H&E Naturist/NAG Photo 2017 competition, and if you are south of the Equator this is a good time to plan that photo trip to describe Living Naturism. Actually, now is a good time to plan if you’re north of it too. More details will be published as they are confirmed. Don’t forget to share and spread the word.
First Reviews: Naked Attraction
Last month I mentioned that Channel 4 was planning a “summer of nudity” with a variety of programmes. The first of these, Naked Attraction, has now been aired.
The Guardian (30/07/2016) tells us that of the 1.4 million viewers, 160 made a complaint to either the broadcaster or Ofcom about the show’s content by the following Friday. Brian Viner of the Daily Mail condemned the show as ‘stupid and degrading voyeurism’ while The Telegraph (26/07/2016) said the only reason why the show had been commissioned, along with the others on Channel 4 this summer, was to give it a ‘ratings boost’. Gerard O’Donovan, who reviewed the show for The Telegraph, compared it to dramas Game of Thrones and Versailles both of which feature lots of nakedness and he thought the nudity in Naked Attraction less gratuitous than either drama. The Mirror (30/07/2016), said the channel had reached a ‘whole new sordid low’.
Quoted by The Guardian the show’s presenter, Anna Richardson, told critics to ‘get a life’ claiming the show was for the Tinder [the dating app] generation, adding that it is ‘ludicrous to assume we don’t sit in judgment on everyone else. We do it everyday.’ The article goes on to say that Richardson said that she was ‘comfortable with nudity’ yet The Telegraph said she refused to be naked along side the other 14 people featured on the show. Perhaps she was recalling the ridicule heaped on Keith Chegwin after Channel 5’s Naked Jungle, but it does smack of hypocrisy.
So will it help to advance naturism in the UK? As I haven’t seen it, I cannot possibly say but going by these reviews – and not all were negative by any means – its doubtful. Then, that wasn’t the reason why this show was commissioned, as Anna Richardson said, it’s a dating show for the millennial generation and I’m far from being one of those.
Jihadist threat to Cap d’Agde
A convert to Islam, currently serving time in a French jail, has made threats to bomb Cap d’Agde once he is released because of his opposition to ‘the immoral display of bare flesh, and especially all the naked arses,’ according to The Mirror (21/07/2016).
Quoting a French official, the article said that other prisoners informed the authorities of the threat, and they also complained that he tried to radicalise them and made some ‘anti-Semitic remarks’. His original sentence of 18 months for glorifying terrorism has been extended by a further six months.