Hope you had a great Christmas. Normal service now resumed (for 364 days)

Hope you all had a great Christmas and the months of madness leading up to it were worth the effort. It’s a busy family time, so I’ve not had much SL time this past week, but normal service is now resumed in the ‘Keng’ household, at least until next year.

All being well, I’ll have three naturist holidays in 2012 (two and a long weekend, more accurately) and, a bit of shopping aside, an almost 365 day naturist existence in Second Life. Maybe I’ll meet some of you inworld in the course of the year ahead.

I picked up this article in Jezebel magazine today, which asks the question ‘Is public hair coming back into fashion?’ My old friend Emmanuelle was a big pubic hair fan on her blog, and there are many posts on there about pubes. It was a topic of hot discussion amongst the staff of her 2ex blog (and inworld group) on several occasions, and I recall us discussing Naomi Wolf writing in New York magazine about a pubic generational divide. It’s also cited in the Jezebel article, which also notes Crystal Renn’s Vogue shoot, in which she is beautifully furry.

What has all of this got to do with SL? I tp’ed into the Nearly Tactile pubic hair store earlier and, damn!, if it wasn’t almost standing room only. It rather looks as though a lot of ladies (and guys too) are buying up pubic hair, and my own observations from some of SL’s naturist sims suggest that ladies are no longer prepared to be ‘as featureless as Barbie’ (as the Jezebel article accurately, IMO, puts it).

When I started in SL, three years ago, I felt I was the only one being ‘natural’ in the sims. I stuck with the look, as ‘Ella’ certainly reflects the real me to a scary degree -SL isn’t an alternate fantasy existence, but more an extension of the person who shoves the avatar around the grid and writes these words- and now I feel kind of vindicated. Wherever you are in SL in 2012, it rather seems there will be more pubic hair on display, either on the naturist beaches or in the private boudoirs.

Lost Garden Naturist Park

Even its name – ‘Park’ – infers a new thinking. I’ve had a good look around now, and met some of the lovely people who are members (all sporting a ‘Naked and Unashamed’ group tag). You can too, for the piffling sum of L$250 and membership to this new naturist sim.

I’ve also been in conversation with the park’s owner, Instant Karma (or ‘Karma’ as he appears to be known to all), and I drew from this that there’s a drive for ‘purity’ within the sim. What the park is seeking to achieve is a sense of a garden of Eden, unspoilt by man (or woman), with even bridge crossings over water subtly disguised to offer a sense of an unspoilt world. I like this, I like this a lot, because the lack of ‘things’ makes one focus solely on the social interaction elements of SL. Which is rather the point of it all.

Too often we TP in somewhere to find it’s more of the same. More malls, more dance intans, more buildings, more…of everything we’ve seen before! So to drop in to somewhere that lacks all of that, and just to sit (or swim) naked with other naked players is so refreshing, so novel, so unique, it makes for an odd, yet uplifting, experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience because, 1000+ days into my SL, and having displayed all manner of ennui at spacesuit wearing giant rabbits wielding samurai swords, I suspect that this might have been what SL was like when it began. A world not having become a commercial rat race with sim after sim displaying the same elements again and again.

Note: I have a few days off work now, in which I plan to spend substantial time at several of the grid’s naturist hotspots, and hopefully get into conversation with some of you. I’ll be at Su Casa, Lost Garden, Eden and a couple of other places over the coming days. More reports, interviews and photos to follow.

A new grid?

Word reaches me (via an SL friend who isn’t a naturist) of a new grid going ‘live’ in January. I’ve not got any details beyond the fact that it will allegedly offer a full sim, with loads of prims, for around US$30 per month. This is great news if there’s any truth behind the rumour, as it will ‘democratise’ SL (or an equivalent) to a large degree.

I know many north American and European players regard their SL activities as ‘pocket money’ prices, but the entire globe doesn’t enjoy north American or European levels of ‘disposable income’. I know this is something Emmanuelle discussed on her blog when I was writing for her, and I would echo her sentiments. There is huge untapped potential for SL in the ‘BRIC’ economies (that’s Brazil, Russia, India and China, for those who don’t follow global economics), and hauling in players from those countries would benefit SL enormously, presuming we haven’t actually poisoned them to aspire to Old and New World ‘values’.

If this new grid is a reality, it excites me because, even as a European player, I have only got a certain amount of ‘disposable income’ to spend on what is a hobby (or any other hobby for that matter).  My SL activity revolves around my family, and thus I’m always keenly aware of the need to balance the time, and outlay, against other, more pressing financial needs, particularly in a depressed global economic climate.

IF the rumour is true, IF it runs as smoothly (or as glitchily! 🙂 ) as Linden Labs version, IF the costs are correct and IF I can import my stuff into the new grid, then I’m massively interested in opening up and running my own naturist sim on that grid. Imagine a full, green, forested and relatively unspoilt (certainly by commercialism) sim, which doesn’t require huge volumes of traffic to make for any sort of  justification for its existence. Watch this space, because I would certainly be thinking of settling in for a long term commitment to the project, 2-3 years at least, if it all comes off.

Mention of Emmanuelle reminds me that her self-imposed hiatus from SL and her blog must be ending in a couple of weeks and I, for one, hope to see her back in SL, along with some of the friends I made amongst the staff when writing for her. I’ve already contacted a couple of them, Diane and Vajeena, about doing some stuff for ‘SL Naturist’ if they’re keen.

Crossover

I feel that SL sometimes works best when there’s some crossover between it and RL. Yes, I know some people talk about there being some ’emotional connection’ in ‘cyber’ between two avatars (something I know nothing about, as I have all the ’emotional connection’ I need with my RL husband and our children, and thus feel no need to emotionally connect with others).

But I’m talking about where some sort of ‘creative linkage’ occurs, and people bring their RL talents, beyond the obvious computing ones, into SL. Clothes designers, of course, are part of this, but I really do enjoy where painters import (and maybe sell) their RL works in the context of SL, where people do properly live cyber-concerts, and even where people -I’m thinking about the likes of inworld magazine publishing, and how ‘SL Naturist’ will hopefully eventually be alternately delivered- create magazines (there are already some fashion magazines and ‘mens’ magazines (like Playmates) readily available). I’ve already referred to the displays of public art at Su Casa, for example, in this blog post.

But how about we transfer our SL naturist activities back into the real world?

I’m working on an article I intend to submit to a couple of RL naturist blog sites. There’s no guarantee of publication, of course, but if anyone has any thoughts, links, photos, ideas or anything else they’d like worked into it, let me know. How cool might it be for SL to pick up new players, genuine naturists, to have some sort of virtual naturism while we shiver through a northern hemisphere winter?

 

We all shine on!

Wow! That’s all I’m going to say for now, but trust me, wow!!!!!!

I’ve been given a sneak preview of a new naturist sim heading our way, and all I can say is that it will substantially alter the thinking in SL naturist geography because it looks superb. I’ve taken a few pictures of the unspoilt verdant land, and my immediate impressions of it are that it subtly alters how people will regard a naturist sim.

It’s European! Well, to be honest, I don’t know if it’s a European designer/owner or not, but it has a European vibe, inland France, for example, somewhere like Aranaoutchot. (Yes, I do know Arna opens out onto the beach, but just set back from it is some wonderful wooded areas that provide pleasant shade from the sting of the midday, midsummer sun. Or maybe La Jenny, also in France.

I’m not about to go into a whole long review of what’s currently a work in progress and, much as I’d love to, I’m not going to say much more…for now! I’m going to leave it until the place is properly open but, trust me, this place is going to be a wow! for all the rest of you SL naturists. The scenery is stunning and the layout imaginative. Even now it looks as though it’ll be a huge hit with SL naturists like you and I.

Busy behind the scenes

I’ve not got any posts up for a couple of days because I’ve been busy establishing ‘SL Naturist HQ’, a skybox we’ve rented. The sand’s down to create a beach, and besides the house/office, there’ll be a ‘sun rest’ area, from where the staff will (possibly) conduct interviews. Photos to follow.