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As part of NAG’s campaign for the acceptance of naturism in London, on 7 July, Richmond Park was the location for a naturist picnic. Keith Palmer gives this report:
“Peter and I met Steve at the information kiosk at Richmond Station as the sun emerged from behind the drizzly morning clouds and a fine afternoon seemed in prospect. We waited 15 minutes to see if any others turned up but no-one else appeared, possibly put off by the poor weather earlier. As we three ascended Richmond Hill we looked down upon a super view of the river curving away into the distance.
“In the park we found a sunny glade among scattered mature oaks to make our encampment. We stripped off and settled down to our picnics. We were positioned discreetly but certainly not hidden. A number of cyclists and dog walkers passed by, clearly noticing us but making no comment either negative or positive. I think we can take that as acceptance?
“The turn-out of three was distinctly disappointing, given the improvement in the weather after midday. Many thanks to Steve for guiding us across the sandy paths of the park to a suitable spot.”
Yet another indication that the NAG hard work, along with BN over six-years, on getting a better awareness of the legitimacy of naturism paid off. That work led to new guidance from the CPS in 2013 and the College of Policing in 2018. Police officers, court prosecutors and open space managers now realise that public nudity by naturists is not illegal.
Having established naturism as a legitimate activity on Hampstead Heath, NAG is currently looking at other open spaces and parks around London where naturism may take place. It is important not to rely on advance weather forecasts, when a day may instead turn out sunny.
Unless it is clearly unsuitable weather, NAG will always check at the meeting point on the day. If you would like to be part of future NAG activity in Hampstead Heath contact Chris Lamb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women who would like to join action at Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond should contact Louise Ponting through www.naturistwomen.org. For Richmond Park contact Steve Harrison at email@example.com.
For other enquiries on NAG London activities contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 20 July 2019 and at 2.00pm, to a clap of thunder, 25 naked cyclists started the 7th Clacton WNBR from the west sea front near to the Martello Tower. Organised by Robert and a small local Four Seasons WNBR collective, the route took the naked riders from an assembly point in the Toby Carvery car park on a gentle 8-mile circular route around the streets of Clacton in sunshine and showers.
Without fanfare, other than the thunder, they could not match the Colchester send-off the Saturday before when 20 riders and watching crowds heard music from the Street Orchestra Live. Naturally, amongst the tunes played was the hit ‘Ride my Bicycle’ by Queen.
To aid traffic control a motorcycle escort, provided by Michael, helped to clear the way at road junctions. Riders came from far and wide; London, Brazilian friends Gabriella and Milton, Eastbourne, Gloucester, a WNBR ride organiser from Australia, Cambridge, Ipswich as well as the area around Clacton. They included Ken on a special trike which accommodated his oxygen cylinder. and to add to the carnival atmosphere Adam wore a colourful straw hat.
For Barry Greenope, definitely not to be confused with Barry Freeman, it was his 99th WNBR. Barry was disappointed that he will not attain 100 rides until the start of the 2020 WNBR season. Advance coverage by local paper Clacton Weekly Gazette meant that thousands of people lined the streets to cheer on the naked cyclists.
Robert gave a good interview on BBC Radio Suffolk, at their invitation, on the Monday after the Ipswich WNBR. Then on Wednesday Robert had a phone conversation with inspector Matt Breeze, a police officer from Ipswich, who said they had received no adverse comments from the public about the ride. Along with the public, police officers were looking forward to the carnival atmosphere created by the ride. Patrons of Marine Parade pubs and restaurants had a lucky opportunity to cheer on the ride twice.
After the ride ended some of the jubilant cyclists went to the new naturist beach nearby. A small stretch of beach is just past the Martello Tower and easily identified by the big rocks in the sand. After a spot of sun and sea we had a joint meal in the nearby Toby Carvery. Another special rider was Alan, who is autistic and collected £125 for the charity National Autistic Society.
Four baffled police motorcycle outriders arrived at 1.00pm at the Espace Naturiste in Paris on Sunday 8 September. Paris WNBR organisers then had to inform them that the Paris local government had cancelled the planned ride – just the day before on Saturday 7th. But the local government department officers had not informed this police unit. That meant the police escort to clear the WNBR route through Paris traffic was not needed.
Months of planning by APNEL’s Jacques Frimon, together with Gilles had gone into the ride. APNEL is the French equivalent of the UK’s Naturist Action Group. All the correct procedures were followed and permissions were granted. Then on the Saturday Didier Lallement, Prefect (head) of the Paris Police decided that the ride should not be classified as a protest – as all other WNBR rides are accepted to be internationally – but would instead be classed as an illegal sexual display.
On the Sunday morning hundreds of riders turned up at the Espace Naturiste in Bois de Vincennes. Also there in force were
Ton Dou (poet speak for Anthony Douglas) a Bare Body Freedom Activist singer-songwriter from Las Vegas is running for President of the United States 2020. He will be holding an outdoor clothing optional campaign rally at Duffy Plaza in very central Times Square New York City during his Ultimate Freedom Concert Sunday, September 1, 2019.
San Francisco Body Freedom activist, who is supporting the campaign, has been writing loosely campaign related news-essays-blogs which Ton has been posting. Aside from FaceBook and Change.org, they can be read in the blog section of nuderallies2020.com. Especially interesting to me is essay #2 titled, “What about the children?”
If Donald Trump could be elected, anything could happen. It would be an interesting change to have a bare US President instead of an unbearable one!
We are delighted to announce that Louise Ponting has agreed to join the NAG’s Management Collective, and look forward to working with her in the future.
You can learn more about Louise through her website: NaturistWomen.org.
The Minutes for our Spring meeting held at Spielplatz Naturist Resort in May are not up for you to enjoy.
The weather forecast in London on the morning of 16thJune was not promising by all accounts but the sun did come out for the Hampstead Heath Picnic and four hardy souls persevered and by all accounts had an enjoyable afternoon. Rather than repeating my report for the day, I’ll leave you to read Hampstead Heath: Picnic in the Sun.
Before you go, take a look at our brief revision of the Summer 2019 Outdoors.
For anyone who hasn’t been watching this, Lene Tereland has just completed her BA in photography at London Metropolitan University. Her graduation exhibition project featured naturists doing the everyday things we do. Lene had hoped to persuade the University to allow a clothes optional viewing; this they would not, but they have allowed Lene to invite five of her subjects to be present (nude) during a private viewing on 19th June between 7pm and 8pm at 1st Floor, Annex Building, Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT. Members of the public will remain dressed, which is a shame, but as Lene says: ‘Is good news, as I thought [the university] wouldn’t allow any nudity.’
If you can’t make it that day, then you can still see Lene’s exhibition during one of its public days from 20th June until 30th. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm.
Guidance for journalists when writing about nudity in general, and Naturism in particular.
This brief guide is offered, because though there is good, responsible writing about naturism, there also seems to be some very poor reporting, even from journalists who on other subjects produce good work. We seek here to identify common failings and offer some help in approaching naturism in a way to produce good quality writing and a proper respect for the subject.
The most common fault is to assume that nudity always means sex. In some contexts it might, but this would be an extreme rarity when the nudity is part of a story about naturism, as naturism is a lifestyle involving non-sexual nudity. Sex is often implied or injected into a story in order to try to get readers or editors interested in something which has little other appeal. Naturism is a minority lifestyle, albeit a substantial and growing minority, so it is unusual, and sometimes attracts attention for that reason alone. As most of society has little experience of nudity outside of the bedroom or bathroom, the vocabulary used to describe it often resorts to silly euphemisms about the body, childish language, jokes and puns, often to get a laugh. The problem is that this trivialises the subject and encourages the reader to treat it superficially, and this can reflect on how the writer is viewed also. Put simply, it seems that faced with nudity, too many journalists seem to eithrer turn into Frankie Howerd impersonators (…..ooh er, Missus!), or recreate the old News of the World mock horror.
Why report nudity at all?
There are two basic reasons for reporting nudity. Firstly if there is an arrest. Secondly because it is unusual.
Arrests for simple, non-sexual nudity are a rarity nowadays (see later regarding the law). Of course there are still a few flashers around, and these cases should be reported along the lines of any crime report, with the emphasis being on accuracy, balance and objectivity.
The unusual nature of social nudity sometimes attracts initial attention, however it is usually soon discovered that naturists are doing exactly the same things as clothed people, except without clothes, such as swimming, sunbathing, socialising, rambling. This can look mundane (largely because it is!) and can lead to some writers seeking some way of spicing up the story. This temptation should be resisted, as should the embellishment of any story. Nudity is no big deal to naturists, and it shouldn’t be to journalists either. This applies to the style of the article as well as the content.
Things to avoid
There are some clichés and puns which get recycled every time nudity is mentioned. Their use not only kills any serious points elsewhere in the writing, and they represent lazy writing, usually aimed at getting a cheap laugh. If you want people to take what you say seriously, and read to the end of the article, avoid all these overworked and inaccurate terms. Examples are:
The bare truth; naked ambition; getting to the bottom of the matter; raising a titter; keeping abreast of events; letting the cracks show; papering over the cracks; wobbly bits; standing erect; prancing around; brazenly parading; barely visible; a bum deal; nudies; covering his/her modesty; ‘manhood’ (meaning genitals); indecent exposure; the great cover-up… etc.
Who are the naturists, and what do they do?
Two surveys commissioned by British Naturism in 2001 and 2011, carried out independently, concluded that there are some 3.8 million people in the UK who at some time enjoy some form of naked recreation. In other European countries there are higher figures. These are ordinary people of both sexes, all ages, all social groupings, who happen to enjoy being naked sometimes, either for its own sake or to enhance some other activity such as swimming or sport. Because of repressive social attitude in the past many naturist clubs were developed where this could be done in privacy, but in recent years, and often influence by continental holidays, naturists are wanting to be able to be naked in other places, such as their own gardens, the beach, camping grounds, the countryside, swimming pools and even hotels and other leisure facilities. And there is increasing acceptance by facility providers, and the public at large, of naturist use of public places and facilities. Naturist Clubs still exist, but it is probably a minority of naturists nowadays who are members. Even the ‘National Representative Body’, British Naturism has only about 8,800 paid up members. It seems that ‘organised naturism’ is now giving way to do-it-yourself naturism. However, there are still incidents sparked by the public myth that it is illegal to be naked in public.
Some people will say “ but what about the children?!”, echoing a vague myth that nudity is somehow harmful or shocking to children. There is no evidence that nudity is in any way harmful to children, and what academic research which exists indicates psychological benefits. Naturism is a lifestyle for all ages, and there are many families who enjoy naturism together.
What is the law on nudity?
Simple, non-sexual nudity is not, and never has been illegal in England & Wales, though many people still believe that it is, and in the past it has occasionally been treated as if it were illegal. In the past there have been arrests for Disorderly Behaviour under 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, but following a series of failed prosecutions, and increasingly enlightened attitudes by the Courts and the public, in 2017 the Crown Prosecution Service issued guidance to Police and Prosecutors on the subject. This concludes that simple non-sexual nudity in a public place should not normally be prosecuted. This was followed in 2018 by the College of Policing’s guidelines on the subject, which also concludes that, in the absence of any aggravating factor, nudity in public does not in itself require a police response. Similar guidelines have now also been adopted in Scotland. There is some time lag between these guidelines’ issue and their universal understanding by The Authorities, so very occasional misunderstandings do still happen, however if they are reported on at all, it should be against the background of the actual Law and guidance.
‘Flashing’ is an offence, usually prosecuted under s66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and it should be reported along the lines of any other crime report. To obtain a prosecution, it has to be proved that the offender intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress. The term ‘Indecent Exposure’ is still wrongly used by both the police and public, and should be avoided as it fell out of the law in 2003, and is now archaic.
Some flashers and pornographers have claimed to be naturists, though this is nearly always shown to be false, by the actual behaviour leading to a prosecution, or the nature of the material.
In reporting naturism, journalists should avoid trivialising the subject or poking fun at the people being reported on. It is a legitimate subject for journalism as it is a widespread and growing way of life, but prurient interest is not welcomed and will usually get a bad reaction. Reporting should be factual and well researched, and free of personal bias as far as possible. The best way of researching the subject is to try it for oneself.