Issue 7 : Cap D’Agde’s Port Ambonne

There was a time when we did have a Cap D’Agde naturist sim in SL, but it fixated on one element of the RL Agde, namely the fact that parts of it have drifted away from being genuine naturist to becoming a haven for swingers and exhibitionists.

For those who don’t know, Cap A’Agde is a naked city in France, complete with commercial centre, roads along which ordinary motorists can drive on their way to and from or through the naturist areas, and with pavements along which naturists promenade on their way to the naturist beach. You can read about Cap D’Adge here.

I’ve been there once, prior to its slide into swinger-like ‘decay’. I believe that genuine naturists do tend to still frequent the area, in large numbers, but sadly its gloss has been removed (for me, and for many other ‘genuine’, family values naturists) by the upturn in swinging and exhibitionism.

I would really need to re-visit it, but the media’s overwhelming view is that it’s a swinger’s paradise. And I would need to revisit it for the reason that the media do tend to offer a skewed vision of the reality for sensationalist purposes. But I would imagine there’s more than a grain of truth in their reporting, with some areas possibly now dominated by the swinging community. And that’s not for me.

At SLN we tend to keep things ‘genuine’, and steer away from the sexual elements of SL naturism. And we don’t, in the main, publish RL photos of naturists, because the thrust of the blog isn’t on real life, but on Second Life.

We’ve continually banged this drum for the year we’ve been publishing, but some people still don’t get the concept of SLN. So it’s maybe unsurprising that a reader writes and asks if Harry could do some of his replications of RL photos in an SL context. And there’s not actually anything wrong with that. Yes. Yes, we could do that. But the remainder of the IM suggests we perhaps represent Agde’s ‘swinging’ element in SL imagery. No. No we can’t. We will, and we have, attempted to replicate genuine naturists’ love of sexy dressing up in the evening, as with Pookes’ post on modesty panels, but other than that, no exhibitionist tendencies are on display at this blog/mag, and certainly representation of swinging will never appear.ambonne retouched

A couple (faces and genitalia blurred, deliberately) pose at Port Ambonne’s marina.

Harry’s photo-essay attempts to recreate this scene, and variants of it, within SL, below.

One of the regularly photographed areas of the RL Cap D’Agde is its port, Port Ambonne, where the rich tie up their yachts and motorboats. Perhaps they’ve sailed along the coast to Agde, and opted for a naturist holiday, either on board, or holed up in their own apartments.port-ambonne-50097100111370685050577051514567x

The Cap D’Agde naturist village, with Port Ambonne and its marina centre of photograph

So I spoke to Harry about this some months ago, with the idea that maybe we should do some sort of pictorial essay on naturist marinas, such as that found at Agde, and offer a SL version of what would be a very familiarly photographed location, and offer our own naturist marina special. Harry has, on occasion, photographed such locations, and the odd one or two have appeared in our posts throughout 2012, but all the time we’ve been building to present a sense of the naturist marina in a unified post. And here, right at year’s end, it’s finished.

And so I’m pleased to offer up a picture essay of naturism in the context of marinas.

Any commentaries next to the photos, and all of the photos, are courtesy of Harry.

Ella.

‘The obvious place to start a photo essay on marina focused naturism has to be Eden Naturopolis. Because a part of life there centres very much around life on the water, the main TP point brings you in beside their marina -a place where a floating stage is also often built for live converts. Very much water based, many residents and visitors take to life on the water readily, and their island homes will often feature a jetty with one, or maybe two or three, boat tied up. In the first part of this essay, I’ve sifted through photos I’ve taken in the course of the year at the main arena, and then part two will move on to drop in (often unannounced and uninvited! 🙂 ) on residents’ homes to capture Eden residents’ approach to life afloat. After that, we’ll explore some other marina based naturist life in other sims, and finally lead to part 4, where I’ve captured models in marina locations which aren’t naturist.’

‘I feel we should kick off, though, by pointing out (and thanks to Ella for drawing my attention to this) that the entrance to the Cap D’Agde naturist area is dominated by a copy of a statue of ‘The Youth of Agde’ (L’Éphèbe d’Agde) which was discovered on a river bed in Herault in 1964, and resided in the Louvre for fifteen years prior to being moved to the museum in Agde itself, with a copy now dominant at, and certainly in keeping with, the tone of Agde, featuring a naked youth, in bronze, probably of Greek origin, circa 2nd century BC.

Agde_-_Éphèbe01Statues appear to be something of a theme at the approach to naturist areas. I do know that in the Vera Playa area of Spain, a statue also dominates the approach to the naturist hotel. I’m unaware of that statue, a nude female with a dove, having a name, but the dove, surely, is a representation of peace, and probably references the manner in which naturists come together as one, unencumbered by the baggage of uniform or social status, and a reminder that we’re all, stripped of those badges of class or social standing, all one human race.30595605

Why is this relevant to the current post? Because Brenda and Elbag have a similar statue on the approach to Eden Marina.

the youth of edenIn the absence of a name for the statue, I think I shall call this ‘The Youth of Eden’. As with the Vera Playa statue, the nude female holds a globe which has to be seen as a representation of a world, stripped of its borders -a metaphor for Second Life itself?- with a common aim coming together to have fun, relax and enjoy the marvellous lifestyle we have at Eden.

Perhaps Elbag and Brenda would care to consider its tenants and ‘council’ (group officers 🙂 ) naming the statue? I should certainly like to be there and photograph what I feel would be an important SL naturist social event.

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Issue 7 : The photo ‘out takes’, part 1

It’s fair to say that we take many, many more photos for SLN than we use. I’ve got (and Ella has copies) thousands of photos stored on a hard drive, some of them also pre-dating my involvement in SLN. I thought it might be nice to look through these and maybe use some of them in a pictorial essay. In Part 1, I’m going to go through the photos that are currently on my hard drive, pick some, tinker with them and simply offer a selection of photos. In Part 2, I’m going to go through the folders on the hard drive and pick out some that remind us of locations lost and maybe even skins and hairstyles best forgotten 🙂day8b_008esme11i_001timiany3_001baabs eden_001babs su casa xmas1_001believe7_001munoz paddle_001 munoz paddle2_001V with the guys2_001xiu turtle_001

Harry

Issue 7 : The St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6th) party.

What’s the relationship between ourselves and publisher Howie, I’ve been asked on occasion, the inference sometimes being that we bump pixels 🙂

Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s a few proper gentlemen around SL (Rok at NWAT, Elbag at Eden being others…funny how some of the prime movers and shakers in SL naturism are all nice guys!!!!)

Essentially, Howie and I bumped into one another at the Manatee naturist sim (now defunct) within days of us joining (although I predate him by a week or two) and hit it off. We’ve been SL friends since, and back then I think his framework for his SL was to look at music production within and exclusively for the grid.

We kept in touch, saying ‘hi’ on occasion when we were both online, and sometimes running into one another at naturist locations (he’s a RL naturist just as I am).

Our conversations sometimes exclusively revolved around our favourite restaurants in this RL naturist location, or that RL naturist location and we’d swap notes. We even have some mutual RL naturist friends in these places, although we’ve never yet met in RL. One of these years!

One or two of our naturist friends from real life have even ended up joining SL as a result of our enthusiasm, and I know that one current player was ‘converted’ to the SL cause as a result of my writing the ‘Postcards from Spain’ series away back in the summer and now appears in my friends list from time to time when I log in.

Howie’s role, as someone who claims not to be able to write (in a journalistic sense) or build anything, has been to effectively bankroll SLN. Yes, it’s naturism, so there’s no need to go to him and ask for L$800 for a ball gown, but whatever items I need to make this a full, rounded, as realistic as possible experience of virtual naturism, he’ll fund.

The ‘bras and panties on a line’ we used in a recent post, to illustrate how naturists hang swimwear from their beach umbrellas…that was Howie’s L$40, for example. It’s small stuff like that. Poses? Howie funds it. Sarongs, beach bags…sunglasses…all Howie’s doing. The cost of the imminent ‘Moonella’ Group, Howie’s money. Uploading of photos…Howie’s money. The beach house that is sometimes used for photo locations…Howie’s. That said, I do fund some of it myself, I’m not a freeloader, lol.

I mentioned Rok, at NWAT. That’s another fella with a big, generous heart and terrific outlook to SL, and both of them have a willingness, each in their own way, to improve and enhance the SL experience for others for nothing other than thanks.

So thank you guys, I owe both of you big time for your friendship and generosity. 🙂

And what Howie has is an enormous number of SL friends, almost all from the naturist community, or converts to it as a result of his enthusiasm. One or two of our models over the past year have been recommendations from Howie.

So Howie had a party at his home recently, to celebrate St.Nicholas’ day, and Harry spent a lot of time there shooting pics. Below, we offer a selection of what appears to have been a fabulous naturist social gathering in SL. They’re a lot of fun, and if you get an invite to any of these events, make an effort to attend. Rok also holds such events. ‘Eve’s Party Pier’ at NWAT is designed for just that purpose. I missed the last one (it began long after my RL bedtime) but I bet it was a blast, too.beachcombingcharlene marjorie_001dan and howie party wine_001howard and ella_001jonny malcal jill_001party_001party2party3_001party4party5party6

Ella.

Issue 7 : The photo ‘out takes’, part 2

charlotte and diane levee3_001These are the Levee Sisters, Charlotte and Diana. RL sisters, I’ve not seen either online for a long time now

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It’s the editor!!!! Here’s a headshot of Ella from her profile when writing for the SSL blog. Not my photo, but passed to me by Ella.harry wild coast_001harry wild coast2_001

Blackmail corner? Yes, the two shots above are of me at Turtle Coast, camera in hand but sporting oh, so unfashionable hair 🙂

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Howie and a friend of his called Jaineba.

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I’ve no recollection of this girl who posed at Turtle for me. She’s listed as ‘Lak’…so if you know her, or are her, get in touch! I think she may have been from eastern Europe somewhere

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This lady goes by the name of ‘Mamma’. A mature avatar, whom I hadn’t seen since shooting this pic at Buffy’s Cove, until the ‘St Nicholas Day’ party recently.

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My Spanish friend Mercedes. Another for blackmail corner, as her appearance has changed markedly since this was taken at Turtle.

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I’ve no recollection of this couple from Turtle.

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Similarly, this couple from Turtle have now escaped memory.

zoe ronin3_001And finally for this post, in this issue, we’ve got Zoe at Eden. I’ve not seen her for a long time, but last time I did she was very much changed from this appearance.

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Adds: Oops! I intended to include this too, a Ukrainian girl called Jelena who was wearing a very ‘Princess Di’ styled 80s hairstyle when I first met her. A sweet lady with a sweet avatar.

Well, that’s just a few of my old shots, most from maybe two years ago or more. I’ll dig through the files in subsequent issues of SLN and bring you a variety of other avi’s I’ve taken over the years.

Harry

Issue 7 : End of year review, and around the naturist sims

We’ve lost a couple of familiar naturist places this year, with Buffy’s Cove and 7Hills disappearing, and Sweden and Lupe’s teetered on the edge of extinction at different times during the year. It was, perhaps, a worrying time to be a naturist in SL during 2012 but happily things steadied, and SL’s naturists showed clear support for Sweden and Lupe’s, enough to ensure they continue.

Other familiar names continue, thrive and develop. Su Casa, Eden, Naked Dreams, Turtle, Wild Coast and NWAT are all still in place, looking and feeling great -like old pals we’ve maybe not seen for a couple of weeks (this isn’t actually true in my case, I’m generally in and out of them every 2-3 days and if I’m not, someone from the staff appears to be writing something about them or taking photographs at them).

I would say that, in the current economic climate, we should be happy to know that there are a few highly trusted and very genuine naturist locations available to us, and we can do our best by supporting them on a regular basis. In every crisis there is opportunity, remember? I think the fact that fewer people are starting up new sims and splitting the naturist community across several locations means that we -the community as a whole- may be coalescing behind the few excellent sims around and by regularly revisiting the same places and meeting the same faces are forming a very, very sociable group within SL. Which is precisely what naturism is out there in the real world, a highly sociable lifestyle.

I’ve sent Harry out on a whistle stop tour of the biggies (as named above), the new camera I bought him for Xmas in hand, complete with b&w film stock!!!!, to capture a flavour of how they look, right now, at the end of 2012. I hope to see you around some of them in 2013 and beyond.

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It’s the SLN office at NWAT! On the first floor above the cafe. Mmmm! We can smell coffee!!!! 🙂nwat xmas2_001Yes, well, maybe not very Christmasy, but it’s the gym at NWAT, and maybe once you’ve done scoffing chocolates you’ll start the new year with a resolution to get more exercise?

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Like the real life Cap D’Agde, NWAT has its own gendarmerie. Here, a stern looking officer patrols outside the gym

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The Su Casa Christmas tree looking good! Now…where’s our copy of Phil Spector’s Xmas album, to put us in the mood!

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The entrance to Turtle. Deck the entrance with boughs of holly, tra la la la la….

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And Wild Coast’s Xmas tree’s in place too.eden xmas_001 copy

Finally, the rotunda at Eden, flying the flags of all nations as usual, and reminding us of one people united in naturism. Wherever you are, Feliz Navidad, Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noel, etc…

Barbara

Issue 7 : Hopes for the New year

‘Politics are largely absent from SL, apart from the perpetual sniping at Linden Labs, lol, who probably have a lot to be sniped about for! And what a nice place it can be for that. But what I’d like to see for 2013 in SL is LL reduce tiers to kick start the economy. LL are our ‘world government’, and I’d say they do need to reduce tiers and invigorate building. All year its been a case of places closing, sims, stores, everything! And we’re losing good sim builders, imaginative sim builders, excellent clothes designers and so on. There’s a real life economic crisis going on out there, and LL seem oblivious to it. What we spend inworld is usually disposable income, and there’s less of it to go around, and it needs to stretch further and further. And LL seem oblivious to the value they offer to communities beyond north America and western Europe. The Linden dollar maybe needs to float free of its linkage to the US$ and offer better value for money to the likes of Brazil, India, China…. It’s thinking that maybe threatens the whole project. In my opinion, for the opportunity to escape real life and its same old, same old, there’s nothing quite like SL for some game playing, role-playing and escapism. LL do need to think beyond north America and western Europe for their longevity, and begin to think outside that box. Placing cheaper servers in other locations, and then making the value of it fit the economics of the developing world. I know there may be issues with China, regarding it having a role in some sort of non-Communist utopian world where free thought and action are the order of the day, but I would imagine there are huge, untapped potential players within Russia, India and Brazil.’

Pookes

‘I’d echo Pookes’ thoughts, but suggest that Brazil IS in fact already here in Sl and will continue to develop its presence in SL. I think the Vida Virtual freebie shop, with its Brazilian emphasis and Portuguese language taking precedence, means that there’s probably a lot of Brazilians congregating to that sim as noobs, picking up decent enough free clothes to get their SL kick started, and the sim develops through word of mouth. By contrast, English speakers are poorly served. Unless you happen to bump into a helpful veteran, you’re left flailing around as to where you can pick up free hair, AOs etc as a new player. Vida Virtual has it all in one place, plus enough Portuguese speakers to make the experience of joining a little less daunting. ‘

Areola

‘Just keep building, people! 🙂 I’m constantly amazed by the rich variety of people’s imagination, and how I can constantly find new, beautiful locations in which to photograph.’

Harry

‘On a personal level, and in an SL context, it’s to be among friends when I log in, and to just enjoy the rich experience SL offers if approached in the right spirit.’ella sarong twilight_001

Barbara

‘My simple hope is that those naturist locations in SL thrive and survive, and we can continue to enjoy this game we play. If there’s one thing I would yearn, it’s that sim builders -and this isn’t aimed at the naturist lifestyle- is that people who do build try and think less about it being a shopping mall experience, a very familiar mall experience wherever we go. I understand their motives. Selling stuff may offset tier costs. But there’s only so many malls to visit, and even if LL were to rethink the tier costs for undeveloped land, and make it cheaper for builders to develop different sorts of terrain, it might build variety. Some rain forest, desert, woodlands, perhaps with more of an educational element, would give us a different perspective. I DO want to wander around bazaars, medinas, villages in the Punjab, tents on the Steppes of Russia, and so on. The shopping mall experience becomes samey and dull’

Ella.

Issue 7 : Our (un)coverage, (un)covered

Wow! SLN spans the globe. Here’s a screen shot of our reach out into cyberspace this year. Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 16.10.06

All of Europe, all of north America, all of south America, and large parts of Africa and Asia too. I have to say I’m surprised at how SLN has managed to girdle the globe, and in some surprising places, too.

Who would have imagined we’d be in some of the bits of Asia we’ve been read in, or Africa, too. Looks like north and west Africa have taken to us, most of the Middle East, and much of the Indian sub-continent. The remaining blank spaces can pretty much be put down to lack of internet coverage or regime control. We really do need to reach out to China in 2013, and it would be terrific just to see Greenland coloured in!

I’d like to thank all of you who have dropped by, and I hope you’ve had some insight into virtual naturism, read something you’ve enjoyed, got some tips, hints, slurls or whatever you’ve wanted. I wish each and every one of you a happy, peaceful 2013. The map demonstrates just how much the world can come together as one, even in a niche lifestyle blog within an online game. Politicians take note!

Ella.

Issue 7, publishing tomorrow, not Thursday

Due to ‘technical issues’ (i.e I’m travelling on Thursday, so internet access and the time to post may be limited/non-existent) the publication date for SLN Issue 7 has been pushed forward to tomorrow, Wednesday, and it’ll be up on the blog some time in the evening, kinda 4pm-8pm ish, depending on when I get free time to get it out there. 🙂

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