If you live in the Americas, or possibly much of Europe, the name Richie Benaud will mean nothing to you. If you’re reading this from any part of the Britain’s ‘Commonwealth of Nations’, then you almost certainly know the name.
Richie Benaud, former Australian cricketing great, followed by a long career in cricket commentary, died overnight.
A broadcasting colossus, with a quiet, understated manner about him (both as a person and a commentator), his was a velvety voice who soundtracked my summer, sunbathing sessions in the back garden. Off with the clothes, on with the radio, and a chance to sit in the sun with his genteel voice describing the sound of leather on willow. (Forgive me if you don’t understand the terminology).
I don’t even like cricket that much, but it was marvellous to listen to his voice, and his descriptions of the action was perfect on an English (or Scottish) summer’s afternoon.
Australian wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh wasn’t having a good day behind the stumps (the equivalent role, to explain it to people in the Americas, would be ‘baseball catcher’) when a streaker invaded the playing area. Marsh brought the man down with a rugby tackle. ‘And that’s the only thing Marsh has held onto all day’, Benaud said in his silky tones. Perfect. And a piece of commentary that raised an audible chuckle from listeners and viewers up and down the country.
If you’re like me, you are essentially disenchanted by a noisy, shouty world, a world in which hysteria is a by-word for passion. Naturism is an antidote to that. The afternoons with home-made lemonade, and a more relaxed, laid back and quite way of life, a life that we often look wistfully on as we grow older. ‘Life was so much better then’.
I do like to live in the moment, I’m not a nostalgist, but a slower pace of life would be good for everyone’s soul and spiritual well-being if ‘consumed’ on a regular basis.
Look at film, for example. Orson Welles’ ‘Citizen Kane’ begins with a long, slow tracking shot over 30-40 seconds? I don’t know, I’ve not timed it. But it draws us into the film in a quiet, understated way; scene-setting. Now? If we haven’t had two explosions, three dead and 4-5 jump cuts in the first 40 seconds of a film people are…bored. It’s just all too loud, too shouty.
Music? The Beatles begin with an intro and a verse, building momentum before the orgasmic release of ‘I wanna hold your haaaaaannnnnddd!!!’ Now? Get your chorus and ‘hooks’ in within the first 5 seconds otherwise an audience satiated by music will have lost interest and moved onto the next thing.
Fashion? ‘Something so awful they feel a need to change it every six months’, wrote Oscar Wilde. While the quiet, unchanging beauty of the naked human form remains changeless over thousands and thousands of years. A quiet beauty, not loud, not shouty and, in a way, much less attention seeking than its clothed, tribal counterparts.
Richie Benaud? Quiet beauty in his words, not fixated on himself, understated, building momentum. English summers will be poorer without his voice. It’s a post that has little to do with naturism, but one that carries a sense of nostalgia for quieter simpler times, as voiced by Benaud. Quieter simpler times which naturism remains part of.