Later than intended, we are however, please to announce the publication of our second annual report that covers the period March 2015 to February 2016. It shows that we are moving forward, even if they are baby steps but look forward to taking some giant strides in the future.
Chairman, Naturist Action Group
After eight years of hosting BN’s Nudefest, Newperran Holiday Park will continue to offer a nude experience for naturists in 2016.
Back in 2008, BN had organised a nude event at The Eden Project but needed somewhere for those coming a long way to stay and one of the places they contacted was Newperran Holiday Park. I asked co-owner Christine, if she thought the email had been a joke? ‘When I first received the email from BN, straight away I never had a problem,’ she replied, describing herself as a free spirit. ‘I [just] did my homework as I would with anyone who wanted to bring an event our way. Alton Towers was more than complimentary towards BN.’
Asked if she and husband Keith had any regrets about taking up with naturists, Christine replied: ‘No regrets whatsoever.’
The entire site will be naturist from 10:00 on Sunday 26th June until noon Sunday 3rd July and, if so inclined, you can be nude in all facilities.
There is a large camping area with prices inclusive of electricity. If camping doesn’t appeal to you however, there are two types of static caravan available, one of which can accommodate up to six people, or there are apartments that can house up to four. All the accommodation is offered as self-catering but if you don’t want to do that then Newperran has either a restaurant or a take-away outlet, depending on your fancy.
Evening entertainment will include among others: Edison Lighthouse, a sing-a-long (‘Everyone loves that,’ remarked Christine.), magic man and discos. It does seem a pity, however, to visit Cornwall and not see the sights. As previously mentioned, The Eden Project is not all that far away and Christine says a boat trip has been organised by Colin Gammon during the week. As for trips to the beach, Christine says that most visitors organise themselves and go under their own steam. If you fancy an off-site trip during the week then just ask Keith or Christine for help, and don’t forget to put your clothes on.
I can personally vouch that both Christine and Keith are excellent hosts, and have no doubt that you will have an enjoyable week. You can get more information from their leaflet or from their website or by speaking to Keith or Christine on 01872 572 407.
You may know that on 13 September 2015 a few NAG supporters met at Hampstead Heath for very successful naturist picnic. On the same day Natasha, a naturist photographer who works under the name Natansky, held two photoshoots on the Heath with 16 naked models. This was part of her wider Project Naked further details of which can be found at www.natansky.co.uk
A separate video of the 13 September photoshoots A Walk in the Park is available on Vimeo. We have also added it to our video page.
During summer 2016 NAG is expecting to hold another photoshoot at Hampstead Heath, a photoshoot at Oakwood Sun Club, help the organisers get volunteer stewards for the WNBR London Bike Ride on 11 June and arrange a small group picnic at Hampstead Heath.
The Campaign for National Parks is celebrating its 80th anniversary by running a survey asking people how they use national parks and how they think parks should be managed in the future.
In a section asking respondents what activities they enjoy doing in national parks, there is no mention of naturism.
If as many people as possible mention in the ‘other activities’ sections of this survey, that they would like better opportunities, freedoms, facilities etc., for nude recreation in National Parks, it would at least transmit the message that there is a demand for this. At present the managers of National Parks probably don’t even know that anyone would want to go naked in the countryside. Let’s tell them!
The survey only takes a minute or two, and can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cnp80yrs
In January 2016, Stéphane Deschênes resigned from the Central Committee of the International Naturist Federation (INF-FNI) in the belief that he was ‘unable to make any meaningful impact’ with his efforts to institute reform. The following month he issued an open letter explaining the reasons for his actions.
NAG decided to contact Deschênes to ask a few more questions, which resulted in the following article. You can also download the open letter “Reforming the INF-FNI’ by Stéphane Deschênes in full in either English, French or German.
Although disagreeing with the direction the Central and Executive Committees are taking the INF-FNI, Deschênes makes no criticism of individual committee members, as some of the issues he is concerned about predate the current management. In the letter he gives 14 recommendations for a reinvigorated international organisation, which can be summarised as:
- The INF-FNI is naturism’s equivalent to the United Nations and should be about facilitating communication between the national representative bodies.
- The INF-FNI is instrumental in developing naturism as an ideology or philosophy, and one of its purposes should be communicating that ideology internationally.
- The INF-FNI needs a small professionally staffed office to enable it to function, with greater involvement by its members, with managed expectations on both sides.
Although Deschênes says in the letter its contents is his personal opinion, as co-owner with is wife, Linda, of the Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, producer and presenter of The Naturist Living Show podcast and a past President of the Federation of Canadian Naturists, in addition to his involvement with the INF-FNI for the last three years, his depth of understanding is therefore not inconsiderable.
Deschênes senses that the INF-FNI is undermining the national representative bodies by accepting individuals as members and that there needs to be boundaries between the national bodies and the INF-FNI. He explains: “People that get involved in the INF are… in the habit of dealing directly with naturists because they all come from [member] federations. They have to be reminded that the job of the INF is different.”
This argument was picked up a few years ago, when INF-FNI membership was debated by some in BN, who stated that INF’s membership rules allowed individual naturists and clubs and/or resorts to by-pass their national federations and thereby weakening them. Naturism needs strong national representative bodies to lend their strength to the INF-FNI if it is to have any sway with other international organisations and national governments.
How Deschênes sees the INF-FNI is as a place where naturism could be developed further as an ideology or a philosophy, by allowing different ideas to be communicated internationally. The INF-FNI has created a definition that has served naturism very well and has been altered over the years to expand the concept beyond what the likes of Richard Ungewitter believed naturism to be. Whether it is an ideology or a philosophy is yet to be determined. This does not mean, however, that Deschênes thinks the activities of individual naturists or that of clubs and resorts should not be supported, but perhaps this lies better with the appropriate national federation.
Perhaps the most surprising revelation in Deschênes’ letter – to this writer at least – is that the INF-FNI is sitting on a pile of cash: €500,000 (US$550,000 at the time of writing) to be precise. While much of this money has been allocated to specific accounts, it has not been earmarked for any projects. He then explained that the INF-FNI does not have “even one full-time person working for [them],” and believes that its over reliance on volunteers is detrimental to the organisation. Deschênes justified his view by explaining that he has been involved in several not-for-profit organisations and “the most effective are the ones where the volunteers set the direction and [paid] staff implemented it.” The most common complaint about the INF-FNI is the lack of timely response to communications made to it, if at all but if they were doing their job properly then it will: “only increase.” It would therefore be essential that the INF-FNI establish an office staffed by professionals. He would not be drawn on the functions the paid staff should fill but said they should be “a combination of executive director and administrator”.
Deschênes also thinks that this office should be located at a major transport hub, somewhere in Europe. At the moment the INF-FNI has a central office in Hörsching, Austria, which is 200 kilometres (125 miles) away from its closest transport hub, Vienna. London would be an obvious candidate as a location, but Deschênes believes that with the UK being outside the Schengen area (if not out of the EU altogether after June’s referendum) it would be more difficult for those travelling from mainland Europe. This should not be the case; leaving the EU could throw up some unwelcome barriers, but regardless of the outcome, the most difficult obstacle is likely to be getting a good exchange rate between Sterling and the Euro. Having said that the better European transport hubs could be either Paris or Berlin.
Having a professional office will help to manage the expectations some national federations have about what the INF-FNI can and cannot do. “A common example is that federations want the INF-FNI to come and fight for changes in [national] law,” explains Deschênes. It seems the national bodies don’t appreciate that the INF-FNI has no legal standing in the country, have no knowledge of the issues involved; as outsiders, they would find it difficult to connect with local politicians and people, and despite the €500,000 languishing in the bank, such a legal battle will quickly bankrupt the organisation.
One thing that Deschênes would like to see is greater participation in INF-FNI affairs by its members. He remarks in the open letter that: “The majority of [those sitting on the Central Committee] are from small federations: Austria, Luxembourg [previously] Canada and New Zealand. The federations who contribute the most money, and who, because of their size, have the greatest resources must get more directly involved.” However, most naturists will know – or at least should know – that many of the national federations rely heavily on volunteers and probably have their own problems in filling committee roles. Below that, other volunteer-based groups or organisations in naturism are also struggling to fill vacancies on committees, et cetera. Yet, as Deschênes says: “You can’t complain about something but then refuse to get involved in fixing the problem.”
To quote American comedienne Lily Tomlin: ‘I said why doesn’t “somebody” do something about that? Then I realised, I was “somebody”.’
Naturally Deschênes hopes that his letter sparks a debate, if not within the INF-FNI’s Central and Executive Committees then among its member organisations. As indicated above, members of British Naturism have already called for their national representative body to resign from the INF-FNI in the past. On that occasion they were defeated, but who is to say that BN’s membership will not raise it again or that members of other national representative bodies will not do the same.
Chairman, Naturist Action Group
11th March 2016.
This update article is for publication – please feel free to pass it on!
John Paine Management Collective
Member of NAG’s Management Collective, Duncan Heenan wrote in response to Daniel Finklestein, who argued that although he has not done anyone any harm, Steve Gough deserves being locked up. As I have remarked before, Steve Gough divides opinion among naturists, not only society, but I disagree as does Duncan and he made his opinions known through a letter in The Times.
In case you’re wondering, The Thunderer is a nickname for The Times newspaper published in London.
For everyone that doesn’t know anything about me, I listen to the radio far more than look at the TV. I find the pictures are far better and have been in HD for decades. Over the holiday season I’ve listened to two programmes that I think you might enjoy too.
Late Night Woman’s Hour is a short series that allows the topical woman’s magazine programme to discuss subjects in a fashion that – at times – can be far more forthright than if it was in its usual mid-morning slot. First broadcast on 30th December the title of this show is: Naked for the New Year.
Hosted by Lauren Laverne, it features:
Inna Shevchenko from leader of FEMEN;
Miss Glory Pearl – the naked stand-up;
Vikke Dark, ex-model and now feminist academic who campaigns against the ‘glamour’ industry;
Shahidha Bari, lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary’s University, London, and;
Natasha Porter, a photographer under the name of Natansky and one of the collective organising the London leg of the WNBR.
The other show I’d like to draw your attention to: Desert Island Discs, a long running radio programme, first broadcast on 29th January 1942. This is an episode of the re-run series, Desert Island Discs Revisited broadcast on Radio 4 Extra on 27th December 2015 featuring American folk singer Peggy Seeger, and available for 26 days (from 31-12-2015). Quite early on, Peggy confirms that her parents didn’t believe in clothes unless they were necessary, a brief insight into early family naturism in America. True, not much of a connection to naturism, but a wonderful listen just the same. Originally broadcast in July 2001, Seeger moved back to the US following the death of her husband, Ewan MacColl, but according to Wikipedia, she came back to live in the UK in 2010, to be closer to her children.
It has come to my notice that British Naturism has carried out a National Survey of Clubs. Or rather a survey of its members about what they find attractive in clubs. I would just like to take a moment to applaud BN for doing this, as it is long overdue.
Back in the early 2000s, I was part of the Executive Council that proposed and even helped a little to design the questionnaire for a previous attempt at this, but after Duncan Heenan and I left the EC there was no one to champion the need for a members’ survey and it was quietly dropped.
What I found surprising about this latest incarnation are the results and I’m left wondering what they might herald.
In an article for BN magazine, Tania Lang – the creator of the survey – explained some of the background. Briefly, for those not part of BN, in the Autumn 2014 Diogenes Sun Club wanted a better understanding of what attracted its members to the club and proposed a survey, but they needed the help of BN’s main office to send the survey out to all its members. It was then suggested that the club and BN work together on a wider survey to assist other clubs to understand their members. The survey was launched in November 2014 and was available online or as a paper document. The aim was to get as many responses as possible, regardless of club membership or not.
On the face of it, this was a reasonable thing to do as it gave a more accurate answer by creating a larger dataset. However it might not work that way, as the Government found out when it tried to expand an IT system created by HM Prison Service to manage the prison population to cover the whole of the justice system, so anyone caught up in it will have only one file. Its failure to deliver became national news and cost the public purse millions. Of course, this is nothing like on the same scale but the principle is the same.
The article listed the most important facilities as judged by the respondents and, as Tania said, it is not surprising that sunbathing areas and an outdoor swimming pool was mentioned among them. Other facilities that made it onto the list are: a lounge or quiet area and areas to pitch a tent or park a caravan. The ‘most important’ list was expanded with things such as the friendliness of other members and the ease of joining, as well as an all inclusive membership fee. These are not resources to help members to enjoy their time at the club, but add to its ambiance and could influence a prospective new member in their decision to join or not.
Naturally the article also listed the least important facilities and these included courts for volleyball, badminton, tennis and Miniten. A Gym and TV room were also listed. Doctors have remarked how we are becoming more sedentary as a society and these findings seem to bear witness to that. Another item on the least wanted list is ‘inter-club sports competitions’ and yet as I write this Diogenes Sun Club is promoting its inter-club Boules competition on Facebook.
So we come to my dilemma. Apart from indicating that naturists are no longer the active people we once were, it seems to be saying that we are not as social either. According to these results, a club could be a field with somewhere to swim plus a hut to make tea or coffee in and to hold socials, nude or otherwise. So my question is, is naturism fracturing, with the members of each club wanting it to go its own way instead of unifying under the British Naturism banner? It seems to be from Tania’s article.
What we don’t know from this article is, how many people responded to the survey or what age range did they fall into? It could be that most of the responses were from the older members of the community and therefore skewing the results.
To be fair, questionnaires are tricky things to compile and the analysis of the results by two different people can come up with two very different answers, so I can just as easily be wrong as right. The thing is, with surveys of this kind you must have a clear understanding of the question you want answered. In this case, a club wanted to find out what attracted it to its members. Expanding it to embrace all members without understanding the question was not the right thing to do, as the Government found out to our considerable cost.
I do hope they try again. It’s hard but well worth it. They just need to understand the question asked.