Last month I told you about our change of address, but the gremlins got into the text (my fault, not Sam’s) and the post code was quoted incorrectly. It should have read WR7 4DH. Apologies to all.
Another change is that this is the penultimate monthly edition of News from NAG to appear in H&E Naturist. After December 2017, the next time News from NAG will appear will be in the March 2018 issue, and it will reappear every three months thereafter. We shall still be posting on our website in-between times, so you might like to consider registering for naturistactiongroup.org if you haven’t already done so.
By the time you get to read this, the German General Election would mostly be forgotten but I would like to raise a metaphorical hat to Gregor Gysi, leader of the anti-capitalist Die Linke, who stood on a naturist beach bemoaning the loss of the lifestyle, according to the Denver Post. Sadly, he did so while wearing a shirt and trousers, because at 69, everything has boundaries, he told The Daily Telegraph.
The left leaning Die Linke taps into lingering cultural differences between the old FDR (west) and GDR (east) almost 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite the communist regime’s bad press, there were some things in the GDR worth keeping, only to be lost in the rush to integrate the two halves of a nation.
Despite a membership thought to be around 40,000 people, naturism in Germany is loosing its popularity, mostly in the (capitalist) west than (socialist) east, where it had originally been banned. However, the people saw it as an expression freedom and continued to enjoy naturism as piece of casual civil disobedience before it was absorbed into then promoted by, the communist regime. Since 1989, the freedoms associated with the Weimar Republic have returned but not in a healthy way with the soft porn industry increasing, leading to popular opinion turning away from public displays of nudity and naturism.
Only briefly did the UK have similar freedoms, briefly in the late 60s but these were quickly shut down by a judiciary afraid of anarchy. Still, I can’t really see Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn doing what Gregor Gysi, lamenting what could have been anytime soon, do you?
“Let The Sunshine In”
Talking of the late 60s; having informed you last month about Shakespeare in Central Park, this month I can tell you that to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its original production, The Vaults, London is staging Hair from 11 October to 3 December. And as an experiment on 11 November there will be a clothes optional performance.
Kids; this’s how your grandparents behaved when they were your age? So do you believe us now that there is nothing new under the sun!
If you hurry, you might still get a ticket. Be there, or be square man!
If naked calendars are so last year for you, how about a skinny dip? Better still, why not do it for charity? Established in 2013, the Sydney Skinny gives participants a choice of swimming in open water either 300 or 900 metres in aid of local charities. You set off from Middlehead, a secluded beach in Sydney Harbour National Park, and no spectators are permitted. Naturists might be disappointed to learn that only the swim itself is nude, but think of that lovely dosh going to charity, and all those people who take to the water without any swimmers for the first time; it could really help Australian naturism.
The next event is on 11 March 2018, so plenty of time to get some practice in, and as its in the middle of the southern summer, what better way is there to cool off? If you want more information go their website.
It is not unusual to read articles in magazines or local (regional) newspapers about a journalist, usually female, being sent to a club or beach to ‘try’ naturism; especially in the August silly season. The idea of trying naturism may seem as strange to you as it does to me, but this is what happened to Jamie Lauren Keiles, US-based Journalist writing for the online magazine, Racked. If you ignore the constant referencing to boobs and penises, and being nude designed to attract the core young adult audience then this piece, which is longer than usual, isn’t bad.
Entitled: “Naked Truths; who are we without our clothes?” Keiles spent several days at the Eastern Naturist Gathering organised by The Naturist Society. This longer than usual exposure to the lifestyle meant her report differed to the sometimes glib reporting seen in the UK press. She wrote:
‘…I was sent there not to leer at naked bodies, but to see if I could prove, by way of contradiction, what we accomplish when we choose to wear clothes. …’
No, I’m not sure what she meant by that either. Keiles seems to be saying: do we live differently when we don’t wear clothes to when we do? Whatever she meant, it was good to see that even the most confident person can have doubts:
‘I hadn’t planned on being nervous. I have enough invested in the idea of myself as a “laid-back person” to want to enjoy a week of nude recreation. If I have the standard amount of body anxiety for a 25-year-old white woman in America, then I have always been able to set it aside for as least as long as the time limit in a sauna. My hang-ups have always seemed more theoretical than practical.’
On the first day, in the final hours before sunset, Keiles sunbathed naked, perhaps for the first time in her life, and wrote: ‘It was great. If this is all it is, I can go home tomorrow. One doesn’t need a week to learn why ice cream is good…’ only to find later that the sun isn’t always our friend, having burnt her bum. And all too often that is were the silly season articles end. But Keiles went on to describe other events she attended, like the round table discussion about pubic hair; the for and against being a smoothie, and later in the week, a discussion on the ‘biggest issues facing naturism’ that were skewed towards the speakers pet peeves, including apathy within naturism, so: ‘No one seemed to enjoy this event, except for a woman asleep on her towel.’
There was no epiphany for Keiles, or at least none that she would admit too, no concluding paragraph stating her love for naturism (or nudism) and that she’ll be nothing else for the rest of her life. There was no point to this article. And maybe, that is the point. How often has commentators on naturism said that it is just normal living, but without clothes? This is difficult to convey in any medium, the written word, film, whatever but if naturism is to engage with those who are yet to experience it then we need to try. Science can tell people there is method in our madness; the arts can show them. Keiles has now gone back to her normal 25-year-old clothed life and there is no way of knowing if she’ll ever be clothes free again, but I think we have won a friend, and often that is the most we can seek.