Meikel Skytower

The sad news reached me tonight that Meikel Skytower, the owner of 7 Hills Naturist, sadly passed away at the end of October.

If you’re an SL naturist, you’ll know how constant Meikel and 7 Hills was in a world of constant change.

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‘It’s just a game’, some say.

You can go over to 7 Hills and light a candle in memory of one of Second Life’s great naturist champions, a naturist in real life as he was in Second Life.

Meikel’s friends at 7 Hills would disagree that it’s just a game. He touched our real lives in a positive way through his commitment to SL naturism, and the opportunity he provided for us to make friends through his build.

Rest in Peace, Meikel, a champion of RL & SL naturism.

Ella

 

 

The Snoopers’ Charter

Probably not something that is making waves in your part of the world, unless you’re reading this from the UK.

This week The Snoopers’ Charter passed into law in the UK. I’m not even going to give it its official title, because ‘The Snoopers’ Charter’ is a more accurate reflection of its proper ‘value’.

Essentially, it requires that Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to maintain records of each user’s internet browsing activity (including social media), email correspondence, voice calls, internet gaming, and mobile phone messaging services and store the records for 12 months.

All in the name of your (in)security, you understand.

So each time I log into SLN2 and blog…that’s going onto a record somewhere in case I’m using digital technology for…well, not even ‘terrorist’ or ‘criminal’ purposes. If I do a photo search, it’s recorded, and I do a lot of searches of naturist websites to provide the background information I do on the lifestyle. On that basis, I don’t really care much about the records. I’m a naturist.

But here’s the rub…should the government determine that naturism is some sort of sex-beast exhibitionist sex-crime (and believe me, the national organisation British Naturism have previously had to fight hard to ensure there was some sort of separation between ordinary naturists and flashers, for example) then I’m going to gaol, for a very long time! 🙂

‘Oh, it’ll never happen’, people say. But the example I’ve given above, of no legal separation between naturists and exhibitionists, as set down in the draft law, shows how quickly people could end up on the wrong side of the law.

It’s only when a naturist ends up in court for ‘browsing unsavoury websites’ that we will begin to see how much of an infringement of our civil liberties. I mean, who determines what is unsavoury?

There will be those out there who regard naturism as orgies, exhibitionism, wanton displays and, well, unsavoury. Do I wish to be judged such on the basis of visiting certain (to me) wholesome websites? I don’t.

And what happens if I click a link that leads me to a site that isn’t ‘naturist’ but pornographic or exploitative, even though I had no idea what that site contained? I’ll back out of it straightaway, but that ‘browsing history’ record remains. Will I be judged on clicking on a link to a site I’d no notion what lay beyond? Theoretically, yes. You can be absolutely certain that should I end up in court for something trivial…refusing to pay water rates because the supplier failed to supply for two months, say, you can bet your bottom dollar that the prosecuting team will have asked for my internet records to see what else they can lump onto their case.

‘Your Honour, Ms. Keng has a long track record of emailing the local council demanding all residents should refuse to pay…she’s clearly some sort of civic terrorist. While checking these records we discovered she’s a sex-beast naturist who exposes herself in public, and she once did a search for Guantanamo Bay, so we demand an orange jump suit and a rendition flight’.

I exaggerate, but only slightly. Enshrined in law, the Snoopers’ Charter will inevitably be used against the people for the purposes of criminalising them, be it for taking our clothes off in public -and in locations which aren’t actually ‘official’ naturist locations- for educating ourselves (doing a search for Guantanamo Bay human rights abuses, for example) or for telling our friends on social media that Politican X is an idiot, thereby condemning ourselves as plotting sedition.

It’s not just the UK. Remember the story from Virginia where a man was brewing coffee, naked, in his own house and was arrested because a woman and her child (who appear to have been trespassing through his front garden) happened to see him?

It will happen if this passes fully into law, and sooner than you might imagine I’d forecast someone is jailed on the basis of the info harvested from ISP records, and the crowing that ‘we’re defeating terrorism’.

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While this photo is alleged to be a fake, the graphic below shows how accurate Orwell’s vision of 1984 actually is.

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There’s between 4 & 6m CCTV cameras in the UK, the equivalent of 1 for every 11 people. For (in)security, you understand.

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Today’s Guardian carries a piece on the Snoopers’ Charter, and as you might imagine has resulted in a huge number of comments (1700 as I write this) almost all opposed to it.

Fortunately, in the UK, anyone can set up a petition whereby 100,000 + signatories can demand something be debated in parliament.

At the time of writing, over 130,000 signatures have been added to that petition.

We’ve set up a number of cameras at SLN2 HQ (these are available on the Marketplace, priced at L$0). Despite being free, they’re actually quite useful as you can set them and point them around your land, and then click on them to give you a direct view of what’s going on in the camera’s sight lines. Quite useful if people turn up unwanted at the other end of your land and begin abusing rezzing rights or pose balls you’re paying for, and then eject them…on the other hand…you’re utilising them for the exact same purposes the UK government claim they utilise CCTV for. Oh, the irony!

We’ve over-egged the pudding with the photo to replicate UK RL with SL, and the enormous number of cameras dotting our streets.

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Of course, there is one way to fight back 😉

L$199 will buy you a ‘flasher’s mac’ on the Marketplace too!

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If the government wants some dirt on you, give it to them!

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These would make great photos to go alongside your ‘rap sheet’ of internet searches whenever the UK’s surveillance culture comes for you.

Oppose the Snoopers’ Charter. And (are your reading, insecurity services?) maybe even taken naturism into the High Street, flash-flashes, if you will, to tie up their system for months.

Ella

 

 

 

Too early for Christmas?

Is it too early for Christmas? I know that in real life you can see Christmas trees and decorations two or three days after Hallowe’en, which is far, far too early.

In real life I’d consider today, four weeks away, to be far, far too early for decorating. Two weeks time sounds about right to put the tree up and the lights out.

But this is Second Life, where anything goes, so I teleported over to Eden earlier when I got a call from Howie.

While he gave up publishing SLN earlier this year, and hence the blog’s rebranding as SLN2, he was kind enough to provide Trine, initially, and then myself with access to the home he doesn’t use, but still pays rent for, specifically for the purpose of us having our own blog ‘home’.

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The tree is up, and more than that, he’s affixed a new SLN2 sign to the wall of the building, so that our home is well signposted and if you’re sailing by on the Eden Naturopolis estate, you can drop anchor, step onto dry land and say ‘hi!’ if we’re around. A Christmas present from our continuing benefactor!

I’ve also been given some rights to allow me to re-decorate, so the furniture will go and it will take on more of an office look in the New Year (when the tree comes down).

We decided to celebrate this with a photo…

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If you think I’m not looking quite myself, that might be down to different glasses. I’ve taken possession of a new pair in real life this week, and decided I’d update slightly in SL to reflect this new look. I’m not actually coping very well with them, if truth be told, and have been swapping between old and new for the past 8 days. I think I need to go out and treat myself to a new pair in SL so I feel more comfortable in my avatar.

So yes, it’s too early for Christmas, honestly, but it had to be done. I fully expect much of the grid to follow suit next week when we finally enter December.

Ella

Shake it!

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I’m grateful to former SLN photographer Diane Toxx for sending me a photo which utilises the current group gift at Reel Poses. Entitled ‘Shake it’, it’s certainly a booty-ful naturist friendly pose. Group join fee is L$0, gift is L$0.

Scuba diving at Naked Dreams

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The photographs above reminded me of something…

…scuba diving at Naked Dreams! It’s a sim I’d not visited for some time, so I rectified that earlier with a re-visiting of Tess’s wonderful sim, majestic from the highest point of the island to the lowest point of the waters surrounding it.

Yes, as well as being an imaginative, beautiful build above water, you can get some scuba gear and search the waters beneath it, and although we’ve blogged this before on the original blogsite, it’s certainly worth blogging again.

Ella and fellow visitor Lee take in the sights of Naked Dreams

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One thing I’m noticing is becoming much more prevalent at naturist sims is the number of avatars who imagine that signs such as this, which outline the sim’s dress code, don’t apply to them. I’ve no idea who the avatar left of picture is, but clearly she can’t read. Here’s an idea, folks. If you aren’t going to go nude at a naturist sim, don’t visit the naturist sim. Go elsewhere!

harry-justine_001b Harry and model Justine try out an animation at Naked Dreams

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Former SLN contributor Abi at Naked Dreams (photo from our archive)

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Avatars take the boat from the main Eden landing point out to Naked Dreams (photo from our archive)

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Abi collects her free scuba gear (photo from our archive)

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Abi amongst the sea life beneath Naked Dreams (photo from our archive)

I’ve never scuba dived. That’s not strictly true, I’ve tried to scuba dive (not naked) but was terrible at getting the breathing right and abandoned the lesson fairly quickly. I just couldn’t get it, and the mouthpiece made me feel like I was going to gag. Lots of people I know just love snorkelling and scuba diving, but I’m afraid  that it’s something I’ll never truly live, so it’s great fun to be able to pop on an oxygen tank and go diving amongst the coral at Naked Dreams.

The scuba gear provided includes a wet suit, if you’re not naturist. However, as you’re on a naturist sim…when in Rome, do as the Romans.

Ella

Royalty, tattoos and nudity.

Second Life isn’t a constant naturist experience. Sometimes I throw some clothes on to go shopping! 😉

It was on one of these irregular trips beyond the naturist zones of SL that I chanced upon avatar Lavinia (or as her full initial SL name styles her, The Honourable Lavinia).

She had to be British, sporting a name like that. So I asked, and yes, she was indeed British, with an honorific name. ‘The Honourable‘ usually references the son or daughter of a Viscount or Baron.

‘I’m not posh’, Lavinia told me, ‘but I liked the idea of fantasising being posh, high-born, so I adopted the name. Then I got my Mum to play SL and she styles herself as a ‘Lady‘, hahah. Then we chanced upon an SL group called ‘Debrett’s Peerage’, which gives you a group title of ‘SL Aristocracy’, so we joined that. SL is all about fulfilling a fantasy, and I quite liked the idea of living an SL at odds to my own rather ordinary, working class life.

‘I did a lot of research on ‘the gentry’ in England, and I’ve run my SL within a certain framework accordingly’.

We repaired to a cafe to talk (I often like to do SL ‘interviews’ in an SL cafe if I can, it provides a relaxed ambience in which to talk to another avatar, plus it’s easy to find an empty cafe where you don’t get disturbed often) because I’d previously looked into the topic of royals being enthusiastic skinny dippers.

While we were talking, I noticed an array of stars across Lavinia’s tummy. Not very royal, I reasoned. ‘You’re wrong, though’, Lavinia told me laughing. ‘There’s a long history of royals being tattooed!’ A little research proved that Lavinia was correct. Royalty does indeed have a bit of a history under the needle.

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‘I’ve got several SL tattoos because, like you, people don’t think that ‘the upper classes’ would do such a thing, but it’s historically correct. There’s a small irony in that I’m not remotely upper class, and don’t have a tattoo, but for the sake of accuracy I maintain several SL tattoos. What I found out during my research was that royalty have also been keen advocates of piercings. Look no further than the Prince Albert penis piercing!’

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Princess Sofia of Sweden has a tattoo

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Princess Stephanie of Monaco has several.

‘The idea’, says Lavinia, ‘is that the tattoos I utilise in SL should be discreet, in the same way that real life royals might have them’.

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Lavinia keeps it discreet with an ankle tattoo

She also offered to strip off for the pages of SLN2. ‘It’s not something I’ve done before, but again there’s a kind of history with royals being comfortable getting naked, so it kind of fits the whole Lavinia back story’.

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Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

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Princess Diana

Princess Stephanie of Monaco

I’ve not posted the photos above to embarrass royals, but rather to show that if monarchy are supposed to be a symbol for their nation, from England to Monaco to Sweden and beyond, then ‘a semi naked royal’ merely reflects, and accurately captures, the mood of their nation. For most young French or English women, going ‘topless’ is pretty much normal behaviour. If we were to see a photo of royalty in Victorian swimwear we would, rightly, sneer at their disconnect with most of their subjects’ reality. And yet we are equally (well, the media are) astounded that (a) their females have breasts and (b) like to sunbathe in a style familiar with most of their subjects.

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We’ve also seen this in recent days with photos of America’s next First Lady, Melania Trump, posing naked in a previous life. So what? I’m quite enamoured with the idea that the First Lady had an earn-a-living, unsanitised life before the White House (the closest America gets to royalty).

Not that that’s unique to the next First Lady…

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Jackie Kennedy (by then Onassis) enjoys some nude sunbathing.

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And so Lavinia poses nude, reflective rather than contemptuous of those who bear titles.

I have to say that the concept of royalty, or those who hold honorific titles, embracing tattoos seemed odd to me. (Semi) nudity less so, as these events have been well documented in the media.

But rather than think of royalty as an elevated set disconnected from the rest of us, perhaps we should reflect that, in many ways, they take their cue from us, the ordinary people, and adopt topless or nude sunbathing, or going under the tattooist’s needle.

Ella

Postscript: Lavinia told me that she’s encouraging her RL mother, and SL aristocratic mother, to go under the tattooist’s needle as well, in a bid for an accurate reflection of real life. Unfortunately, as of now, her mother’s avatar appears to have been abandoned.

The death of David Hamilton

The apparent suicide of photographer David Hamilton, aged 83, was announced this week.

 

Hamilton also made films that he might describe as ‘arty’ but which many of us would regard as little more than soft-porn exploitative, as he favoured working with young teenage girls, sometimes nude, in his work.

I won’t use any of his imagery in this post, bar one, as even dressed his models are sexualised beyond their tender years.

Levels of child pornography were levelled at him over the years, with his approach being his trademark “Hamilton blur”, his photos often bathed in a very distinctive artistic vagueness, as the Guardian has it, a soft focus apparently the patina of ‘decency’ behind which, in my view, he hid.

Recently, one of his former models, Flavie Flament, accused him of raping her when she was thirteen, as told in a book recently published.

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And this is the only Hamilton image I’ll use, on the basis that Ms. Flament used it as the cover for her book in which she makes the accusations.

Hamilton described the accusations as ‘an abominable libel‘. A week later he took his own life.

The photographic history of naturism is littered with examples of exploitative photography of this nature. There are others, still alive, who’ve documented naturism is such a framework, and the whole thing leaves a very unpleasant taste. While ‘in real life’ naturism is certainly a wholesome, family lifestyle, there are those who -ahem- bathe their photographs in a very distinctive artistic vagueness as little more than an excuse for some exceptionally dodgy and unwholesome interest in teenage (and younger) children. Photographs of such an ilk have no place in naturism.

Ella