Not strictly naturist, but the winner of this year’s BP Portrait Award has been announced. NY-based artist Aleah Chapin’s Auntie is a full-length portrait of an “older” woman. The portrait is just one of a series of portraits of women created by Ms Chapin, all of whom are real and not altered to appear ‘perfect’.
The nude has been a staple of artists for centuries of course, but does this selection signify that society is becoming used to the naked body, and is it a good thing? Does it improve our chances to gain greater acceptance for naturism, or do you think nothing has changed? Tell us what you think.
After the publication of the article on Steve Gough in April a few comments were made here, which were broadly supportive. Oddly enough, not long afterwards – and purely by coincidence – Gough came up as a topic of conversation on the Yahoo group forum, naturists UK that confirmed my opinion on how divisive he is among naturists and I don’t suppose it will end any time soon.
I have no intention to go over old ground, however I would like to pursue an idea that was put forward (by Peter Knight, as it happens) among the comments; that we should use Gough’s plight in Scotland to gain publicity about the wider problems naturists have when they encounter the justice system. We could, and I believe we should.
Gough is held under the common law offence of breach of the (monarch’s) peace, which the Court of Appeal in R v Howell, has defined as: ‘an act done or threatened to be done which either actually harms a person, or in his presence, his property, or is likely to cause such harm being done.’  However, following Bibby v Chief
The latest report about progress with The London Question, following a meeting in central London last March has been released and can be read HERE.
If you are interested in helping the Naturist Action Group to answer The London Question, contact John Paine, our project co-ordinator who is waiting for your email!
Issued on behalf of John Paine.
If you are going to either of the two World Naked Bike Rides in London (9th June) or Bristol (10th June) then you have the opportunity to meet other Naturist Action Group supporters beforehand (see attached). We could also do with a little help, by printing and distributing the leaflets to other participants who may also be entranced by the naked lifestyle, just as you are but unsure how to promote and encourage a lifestyle that is body positive.
If you do that for us, you’re a star and it is much appreciated.
It is but a week to go before the WNBR in Portsmouth takes place on Saturday 26th May 2012, giving you a chance to be “as bare as you dare”.
Choose your preferred form of human powered transport, be it an old penny-farthing (aka boneshaker) to roller-blades.
Gather at Rose Garden, Lumps Fort, Southsea Esplanade from 12:30 for a 13:00 set off for 40-minutes of fun cycling around old Portsmouth and the city centre.
This is your chance to voice your concerns about the UKs oil dependency and the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads. The directors for NAG will also be around – with one or two actually participating – so if you can get there we’d be more than pleased to see you and happy to answer any questions.
Follow Portsmouth WNBR on Facebook or the Portsmouth page of the WNBR wiki.
And finally, can also mention Bristol WNBR 2012
It is being organised to take place on Sunday 10 June. It moves off at 1.30pm for a 4 mile circular route around Bristol city centre area. The assembly place is outside THE FULL MOON on North Road, Stokes Croft, BRISTOL BS1 3PR
and it will finish there.
Before the ride, people will be putting on body paint, but that may be done at a different location so that they arrive at the Full Moon already painted. Whether anyone will be organising an after-event I do not know. In 2011 they estimated this WNBR had over 200 riders.
The Bristol WNBR 2012 organising group contact is Caroline on email firstname.lastname@example.org
Towards the end of March the Daily Telegraph reported that Welsh naturists wanted part of Newborough Beach in Anglesey to be designated nudist. The article said the beach was often described as one of the best beaches in Wales, and it went on to say how it included Llanddwyn Island – named after the patron saint of Welsh lovers – and that it had been used in filming the romantic thriller Half Light in 2004 (and starred Demi Moore) and Clash of the Titans in 2009. But what really got the journalists’ nose twitching is that Prince William is stationed as a RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot not very far away and held out the prospect of our future King and Queen encountering naked subjects while walking their dog.
The beach has been attracting naturists for a number of years and the article stated that British Naturism claimed that ‘official status would make a big difference and benefit local tourism’. Does it? I have in the past agreed that it might provide a boost to the local tourist industry if a town embraced naturism but at the same time I called for research to back up such a claim. Just saying it does, doesn’t make it so and if BN or anyone else is going to be quoted stating that naturism makes good commercial sense then the local authorities will want to know how they arrived at that conclusion. If they cannot point to the research then their statements will ring hollow and any future pronouncements made by them will be dismissed without a second look.
Phil Penson, the landlord of the Joiner’s Arms in the neighbouring town of Malltraeth was quoted as saying that the beach was for everyone’s use and he saw no problem with naturism, as long as ‘it is kept under control’. Control? What did he mean by that! A clue might come from a quote by BN’s Commercial Manager, Andrew Welch, throwing that organisation’s weight behind the designation as ‘It takes away the hassle factor because a lot of people see naturism as illegal.’ They might, but is seeking some kind of “official” status the right way to go about informing the public that there is no law banning public nudity? I contest that it isn’t, in fact I’d go further and suggest that it will only make matters worse.
There is a disparity between the law, allowing public nudity and British social norms that causes much ringing of hands by council officers. A Carmarthenshire council spokesman told the BBC News website that: ‘If genuine naturists turn up and aren’t causing distress, life goes on. … [but] there are other group types who would possibly commit acts of gross indecency or lewd behaviour in front of our visitors.’ In order to “control” these “types” of undesirable people, councils have taken a sledgehammer to the problem by banning naturism from their beaches. A few though have designated certain beaches where nudity is permitted; usually well away from their main beaches and hence from any facilities like toilets or places to obtain refreshments.
The thing about designating a beach, or some other secluded public area, for naturist use is that it suggests to the non-naturist that it is not for them, while at the same time it acts like a magnet to every undesirable scallywag within driving distance. These can range from the almost harmless voyeur to the equally pathetic dogger who sees the naturist designation as permission to excite their otherwise dull sex-lives by fornicating in a public place, which is illegal. Naturism and naturists have been complaining about these hangers on for a very long time, but their protests have largely been impotent simply because the distinction between the legitimate naturist and the illegal dogger has been blurred, and the police can not tell the difference. After all, one naked body looks like any other when it’s running around trying not to get caught.
Yet, in some ways I cannot help thinking that we (naturists) have not helped matters by allowing a “live and let live” attitude to prevail within that portion of the naturist community who prefer open fields and beaches. By not challenging what we would consider as unacceptable behaviour in any other walk of life, we are in essence, accessories to an illegal act and it is up to us to tell these fake naturists that they are not welcome.
Back to the main theme of this piece however, the Naturist Action Group has chosen a different path to BN and our policy is that ALL beaches should be clothes optional. This way the clothed and unclothed, and