Issue 6: An ancient world tour in the company of Judy

In the current economic climate there’s not much new building going on in SL, and it’s harder and harder to find new naturist places to explore. That’s not a problem in itself, as we have a few always exciting and interesting places in which to socialise. Where it does become a problem is in keeping this blog ‘fresh’, if there’s not much news to report. We’ll end up repeating ourselves.So I try to keep looking for places that are, if not wholly naturist, then naturist friendly. And Octagium is one such location. It’s kind of Romanesque, with touches of other ancient world culture (the Orient, Aztec/Mayan civilisation) thrown in for good measure. The scenery is stunning, and it’s a short trip to a neighbouring sim which is Japanese in outlook, with a beautiful zen garden to relax in. I’m guessing the builder is the same person/persons, and they do need to stand up and take a bow for their astonishingly good work.

I toured the sim in the company of Judy, who happily posed for us as we explored the sim together.

Naturist friendly, then, as opposed to naturist, but well worth your time.


Issue 6: Naked Flamenco

Some of us here, as I’ve previously mentioned, are Hispanophiles, in love with the culture, the passion, the colour, the tapas and everything else Spanish.

And so we sometimes make SL friends with people who are similarly enthusiastic for the lifestyle (or any other chosen lifestyle for that matter) or are drawn to other SL users in whom we recognise some kind of kindred spirit.

One of my SL friends, a long time SL friend, is Spanish girl Mercedes, and as you hang out with them you tend to understand a little more about what makes them tick in RL. Until recently I wasn’t aware that Mercedes was absolutely passionate about flamenco, as well as being an enthusiastic naturist. I think that sometimes ‘enthusiastic naturist’ is a wrong way to describe Spaniards who live on the Costas. Its such a part of their lifestyle, in some locations, that it’s a natural thing to do, almost without thought and certainly without embarrassment, from an early age.

Mercedes and I were hanging out at a friend’s naturist apartment when the conversation cam around to our non-Spanish friend saying he’d like to learn guitar in a Spanish, flamenco style. And that opened up a whole new area of conversation for us!

A lot of work in Spain is seasonal, serving the tourist trade. The jobs disappear during the winter, when hotels and restaurants sometimes close up, lay off staff or operate reduced hours. And their unemployment benefits are linked to their summer efforts. In other words, if you put in long hours over the summer, collect big wages and pay big taxes, your entitlement to unemployment benefits in winter is greater. Mercedes does work long, long hours during the summer, so much so that our friendship is effectively the odd IM waiting for one another, and it’s safe to say I would never actually encounter her inworld during the period from roughly Easter until now, Hallowe’en. But then she becomes a semi-permanent presence in SL as she seeks to fill long days with things to do. Besides SL, she’s a keen photographer, attends night classes to improve her already good English and halting French (although that’s still better than my French!) and has a passion for flamenco culture. The music, the dancing, the clothes.

Mercedes spends time making flamenco dresses and is an expert seamstress, and during our conversation she expounded on what has been a passion since she was a little girl.

‘Flamenco is the heartbeat of Andalucia for me’, she wrote in an IM, ‘and I do indulge myself by dancing flamenco when I can, or collecting flamenco music, with a lot of it now available or old, old records through the internet. So I collect old flamenco records in digital form and study them. I dance twice a week and watch others dance twice a week. It is a way for us to meet friends and have a night out without it ever being an expensive night. A little wine and some tapas and we can fill a bar and see old friends, meet new ones and have a social life we did not have in the summer time. You say I never see you in SL in summer. It is the same in the real world. I do not see my friends much in summer. They are working, I am working and maintaining a social life is impossible. We make up for it in winter times.’

I asked Mercedes if she had ever tried naked flamenco knowing her real life enthusiasm for both. ‘No’, she said, but we should try this in Vida Segunda!!!!’

And so, here in Vida Segunda, is the best of the photo sessions Harry did with Mercedes and her friend Pablo, who kindly played the role of barman/dancer for us too. nb: These are not naturist locations. We simply opted to do the photo sessions in ‘quieter’ SL times.

Ella with additonal reporting by Pookes.

Pookes adds…

The fan, sombrero, castanets, shoes (as well as free dressses in a flamenco style) are all available at Gee’s flamenco house -where the main bulk of the photos were done- or Flamenco Pasion which are each, in their own way, beautiful looking builds. Gee’s is more of a casa style restaurant which is very evocative of the bars and restaurants the real Spaniards eat at away from the tourist locations, while Pasion is more of a courtyard style with typical Spanish architecture. Both are lovely. All items worn (or not worn!) in the photoshoots were either free or L$1.

A serious under-estimation…

…has been made into the amount of work Ella pours into this. And even more pre-planning, re-writing, editing our stuff, shuffling photos and so on.

In our defence, we’ve had to step up to the plate late in the day to deliver anything, due to Ella’s ongoing RL situation. But it’s clear we can’t deliver a full ‘Issue 6’ as we’d like, and so we’ve decided to split it in two, with some articles, and the Hallowe’en element of it, later today, and with ‘Issue 6, part 2’ arriving in about 10 days time. This will allow us time to complete things to our satisfaction and to try to maintain the standards Ella has set, rather than throw stuff at the blog in a random manner.

Our apologies, but it’s the best solution we can manage right now.

Pookes, Harry, Areola and Barbara.

New York, New York (and Hurricane Sandy)

As Hurricane Sandy makes its way towards the NYC area, we’d just like to tell our SL friends in the area (and in Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and the entire NE of the USA affected by it) to stay dry, stay indoors and, most importantly, stay safe.

I’m following it on the BBC’s news, and I sincerely hope you all manage to see what is being dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’ -a hurricane from the east colliding with wintry conditions coming in from the west- through safely.

Slovak naturist Marta poses beside the symbol of America, one she says inspired her in childhood while growing up behind the Iron Curtain.

From adversity will come tales of heroism from the blue light services, groups and individuals.

And it’s a reminder of how much we can’t control the weather, and of how our need to overcome the difficulties it presents unites mankind. Wall Street is suspended, which is no great loss, as it’s an odious cathedral to Mammon and inequality, and more fundamental issues of life take over, such as securing life and limb.

The race for the White House is also largely suspended, along with public transport and much of the business of the city. It’s a town I adore, and I hope you all see it through safely to the flip side.

We should also be reminded that in the likes of Cuba, for so long an ‘adversary’ of the US, the suffering, from destroyed buikdings to the reported 11 dead in Sandy’s wake, is exactly the same. At times like these a kind of SL spirit rises in RL, with strangers inclined to take the opportunity to perform random acts of kindness to others. We are reminded just how much our values are similar, not different.

Take care, everyone.


The Naked Pumpkin Run (SL Version No.2)

We reported in this post about the origins of the Naked Pumpkin runs on various US university campuses.In it, I encouraged readers to point us in the direction of proper pumpkin heads around the grid, and I’m pleased to report that one reader, Niamh, IMed me to say she’d found just such a thing, and pointed me in the right direction. I IMed her back, she rounded up her SL boyfriend, and together they posed for us. We now plan to do a third instalment of this post in Issue 6, as I’m currently organising a time and place where we can get a few people together to do a photo essay of the event (is it SL’s first ever Naked Pumpkin run? I think it is!!! 🙂 )

We’re going to be at an SL university campus on Monday AND Tuesday evenings, GMT, and if you want to join in, I’ll have a time and place posted tomorrow, but I’m hoping we can do this late evening so we can maybe catch some of the US Eastern early evening crowd and US Pacific lunchtime crowd if we can. Wanna take part?

I would select one of the naturist sims, but as the Naked Pumpkin runs originated on campus, and because SL’s universities aren’t naturist, it could be terrific fun to do this at a non-naturist location.

In the meantime, here’s Niamh and her fella posing for us on campus. Niamh even managed to grab a pair of running shoes (as it’s a running event) for the occasion.