News from NAG – July 2016
Attenborough at 9 or 90
On the 8th May, Sir David Attenborough, one of Briton’s icons celebrated his 90th birthday with an hour special on BBC1. Naturally, one of the many memorable clips they showed was the moment a Gorilla family accepted the young Attenborough like any other member of the family.
To help the celebrations along, the BBC commissioned Aardman Animations to imagine what the Gorillas thought of the encounter and it ended with one of them wondering how to describe him: Archaeologist? Naturist? Presenter Kirsty Young asked the television veteran if he was a naturist and he played along, enjoying the moment and the humour like a nine-year old, without actually answering the question.
So, belated I know, but in case he is a naturist and subscribes to H&E Naturist: Happy Birthday sir.
Scotland the Brave
For some, Scotland and midges go together like peaches and cream, but not if we’re to believe the Daily Record (02/05/2016) who told us of Scottish naturists who gathered at Morag’s Fairy’s Glen, a beauty spot in the Firth of Clyde. A graduate of Stirling University, I can vouch for the stunningly beautiful landscape but this has been the first time that naturists could walk through the valley naked.
Apart from the walk, those attending the Scottish weekend celebrated the national poet for Scotland, Robbie Burns and had a cellidh, where the gentlemen attending were expected to wear a bow tie, while the ladies wore a sash with their clan tartan.
Ivan Gill, the organizer for the weekend told the Daily Record: ‘I do this first and foremost for people to have fun, but it’s also about making naturism more socially acceptable.’
The sad thing is that the newspaper’s editor chose to cover peoples’ backsides with large Daisies in one photograph but not in others. How daft is that?
Black IS beautiful
This is an old article from Ebony magazine (15/10/2015) when ‘sexpert’ Glamazon Tyomi asked if nude beaches were for black people? She was visiting a nudist beach near San Diego with a male friend and it quickly became obvious that they were the only black skinned people on Black’s Beach. Leaving aside the bit where she discusses the effect of a warm sun on her male friend’s penis, Tyomi asks a valid question, why do so few black people visit nudist clubs or beaches?
Tyomi’s article doesn’t really answer the question, it doesn’t even try, and as I’m white, male and aging, I cannot expect to have the answer either, but there are naturists of BAME origin who can. Perhaps part of the answer comes in a comment made by Tyomi, when she said she felt the eyes of the other beach users were on her. Naturism might be a European concept but it isn’t just for us white folks. So, for me a question has been raised, is naturism really as welcoming as we say it is?
“Performance Features Nudity”
The whole world, it seems, is commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Now I know that he is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but what has emerged is just how translatable his plays are with adaptations replacing the setting to ancient Japan or to modern South Africa.
Mahita Gajanan wrote a review for The Guardian (20/05/2015) for an all-woman, fully nude abridged version of The Tempest played in New York’s Central Park in May, performed by members of The Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society (aka Topless Book Club). While it is legal for women to be topfree in New York, full nudity in the park is only allowed if it is for entertainment purposes and licensed.
Alice Mottula, co-director for the play told Gajanan the reason why they chose Shakespeare was because ‘you can’t ague the script sucked’ adding that many of the characters in The Tempest wrestled with ‘confinement versus freedom, being yourself and becoming who you are’.
They also wanted something that they could adapt, working nude performances into the story, ‘otherwise, it defeats the purpose of normalising nudity’, which was one of the group’s aims. Most of the cast is nude throughout, and those who begin in costume, discard it before the play’s end.
The most significant part of the play for the group comes at the end. The actor playing the main protagonist, Prospero, delivers the epilogue, as she gets dressed. Pitr Strait, co-director, explained that once the play ended, ‘nudity becomes illegal again, which is strange, and arbitrary and tragic.’
My challenge to you, if you choose to accept it, is what other plays – by Shakespeare or not – do you think could be adapted for nude performances?
Learning to be Body Positive
To be honest, this is something I’ve never done but a guest blogger for Young Naturists America (YNA) described her first experience of skinny-dipping as an introduction to ‘a wealth of body positivity to [her] life,’ and that she ‘realize that [her] body was not much different from theirs’.
Initially, wrote the blogger, she was worried that it would introduce an element of sexual tension between her and her friends that hadn’t existed before? It didn’t and she added that, if the opportunity arose, she would go again.
That got me thinking. At the mere mention of skinny-dipping, you think of isolated places in the American West, but does it ever happen here, in the UK?
Breasts are Healthy
Another piece originally published by YNA, this time an interview of top free activist, Chelsea Covington (aka Gingerbread), conducted by Felicity Jones.
Covington explained that even as a child she preferred to go around the house either top free or nude but it wasn’t until 2014 that she went top free in public. Since then, she has became an activist, walking bare-chested wherever it is legal to do so, talking to the police and getting better training for officers on the ground. Permission for her bare-chested walks are never sought, as she says women do not need permission, but she does confirm ‘what already exist in law.’
Her blog Breasts are Healthy was set up to help other women to take the same steps she has and explained in September 2015 why she prefers the term bare-chested to Toplessness.
Here in the UK, women have the legal right to breast feed their babies and young children in public places but they still get abuse, no matter how discreet they try to be. It is therefore surprising that there isn’t a more vocal campaign seeking equality with men to be bare-chested and breast-feed their children without harassment in this country.
Fall Out of San Francisco
Those who have been following events in San Francisco and the campaign for urban naturism there would have been surprised by the sudden falling out between Gypsy Taub and George Davis.
Taub has alleged that Davis has sexually harassed her daughter, who is a minor, and expelled him from the Body Freedom Network. Taub added that she would not be attending any events organized by Davis in the future.
Taub explained in an email to her Body Freedom supporters that the final break between the two occurred during or immediately after the Nude Women’s Day Parade. She claimed to have email and other evidence, adding that it would not be difficult to get a restraining order if he chose to attend her events.
In an email exchange with George Davis, he wrote: ‘I have never ever inappropriately touched her daughter, telephoned her, emailed her, stalked her, etc.’ At the time of contact, Davis said neither the police nor a legal restraining order are involved, and put the whole episode down to a lot of ‘he said, she said’.
‘I only wish that Gypsy had money so that it would be worthwhile to sue her for libel,’ added Davis.
It has also been suggested that the relationship between the two campaigners began to deteriorate about a year ago. Davis admitted to have disagreed ‘sometimes,’ but has ‘no serious problem with [Taub’s] tactics.’ These included linking body freedom with another cause. For example Taub combined a Body Freedom protest with anti-vaccination, and on another occasion to a 9/11 conspiracy, both protests were lightly attended, according to Davis.
In Davis’ opinion by piggybacking one protest on another, ‘diffuses them both’.
Whatever the truth of the matter might be, now the two main drivers for urban naturism in San Francisco have taken different paths, there must be concern for the campaign to allow social nudity on the streets of San Francisco.
Davis says his own plans are to produce a Body Freedom event and parade himself on 24th September 2016 and is helping Andy Golub to create a body-painting day on 23rd October 2016, both in San Francisco.
We tried to contact Gypsy Taub via her Gmail account, but as of the time of writing there has been no reply.
NB: After the publication deadline for H&E Naturist, Gypsy Taub contacted us but objected to the use of ‘alleged’ and suggested that we were already siding with George Davis. NAG is not in a position to judge the strength or otherwise of Ms Taub’s allegations and under both UK and US Law, George Davis is innocent until proven guilty.
It is a staple of comedy sketches everywhere, the man (or woman) to walk out into the street while sleepwalking, naked. Well, it has really happened.
According to the BBC, a naked man was spotted outside his Manchester hotel at 04:30am in his birthday suit. Greater Manchester Police tweeted: “We checked with officers; was proper [sleepwalker], not a dare. Person grateful for our help + saw the funny side themselves.”
Question: how did he get out of the hotel at that time of the morning?