Manchester

Manchester is 200 miles away from where I live. Regardless of distance, it’s another city in the UK so this week’s events in Manchester are something I feel is close to home.

As usual, though, some elements of the press are keen to link Monday’s events with all of Islam, when we all know that’s not the truth. Most Muslims are peace loving people, and identifying all of Islam with terrorism is ridiculous and wrong. It was 21 years ago Manchester endured, and survived, a terrorist attack by Irish extremists.¬†Manchester survived then. It will again. And today the Irish, in Manchester, aren’t seen as ‘all’ being extremist or terrorist. We can hope that it takes less than 21 years for ‘all’ Muslims in the Greater Manchester area to be regarded as peace loving people, the overwhelming majority as offended and disgusted by Monday night’s events as you or I.

I’m always aware that a Second Life link to real life, in these circumstances, trivialises tragic events….wherever! Be it Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Nice, Manchester, London…

SL, of course, responds. We’re human beings, embracing humanity, even in our SL guises. But now is not the time or place to post a couple of posts I’ve been working on for a few weeks now, regarding Islam within SL and how we, the real people at this end of the screen, can learn from the avatars on the other side of the screen, not only in terms of the Islamic faith, but sexuality, gender issues, colour.

Ella

Carpe diem : Naked cookout

I had intended to be inworld last night (Friday) but the weather was Mediterranean in its evening heat and zero breeze – so it was a case of carpe diem, seize the day, or more accurately carpe noctem, seize the night. With the children in bed, and just settling down to open up the computer, Jim had this mad idea to do a barbecue at 1030pm! The weather was so marvellous we’d not been wearing anything at home since getting in from work/the school run, so there we were at 11pm, doing some barbecuing in the fading light. Because we’re quite northerly here, the evenings go on forever. Not quite Scandinavian levels of it being bright all night, it does get dark, but there’s a marked difference between the evenings here and evenings in London, where I was used to it being pitch dark by 9pm, even in summer. Here, there’s some light in the sky at 11pm and in a month or so it’ll be bright enough (weather permitting) to sit out and read a book in natural light at 11pm. I’m still not used to it after so many years living further south!

So no SL activity last night. Instead, a glass of wine (or two! ūüėČ ) and some naked al fresco cooking. We wrapped up around 100am, both of us a little tiddly, so I’m a little delicate this morning ūüôā

 

Rain is forecast for most of the day today, so hopefully I’ll get online this afternoon or evening with some posts, particularly as I’ve got a bit of a backlog of posts now and I’d like to ‘clear the decks’ before moving on to new naturist blog entries.

Ella

nb: when researching for suitable ‘naked BBQ’ photos to accompany the post, I chanced upon some imagery, cartoons, by Hannah Carding. As it’s copyrighted work, I won’t reproduce it here, but there are some amusing nude cartoons featuring a world BBQing nude, going on the Underground (Metro/subway) nude and doing some field sports, also nude. Worth checking out!

From Rock Star to naturist : From Beau Brummell to ‘John Smith’.

Last October, Harry Leistone, our photographer, dreamed up a back story wherein a rock star, John Smith (you can’t get a more ‘everyman‘ name than that in English) had recorded a long playing record, a concept album and rock opera, called ‘Eden’.

In this ‘rock opera‘, the world, clothed since Adam and Eve ate the apple and suddenly¬†knew they were naked (i.e The Book of Genesis in the Christian Bible), rediscovers its innocence and a sense of peace and harmony via naturism (or, at least, the non-sexualised naked state). Peace spreads across the world which becomes a huge Garden of Eden.

You’re with me so far?

Given the world we’ve inhabited since October, the election of Trump, the decision to press on with ‘Brexit’, a fracturing world punctuated with idiotic acts of mindless terrorism, the concept stands up quite well! Under our clothes, we’re all the same (one of two basic models) and, suitably unclothed, not so very far different from one another in our hopes, dreams, ambitions and aspirations. Peace might just reign, or be more achievable, if we were all naked, quite literally stripped of the uniforms of ‘power’ and need to subjugate one another.

Harry got some of our model friends to pose in roles, we took photos, I got to play a hippy, we mocked up covers to magazines and generally had a bit of fun -mostly clothed- in wearing some outlandish rock star/hippy clothes.

There was the publicity shots…

…cast in an ‘end of the 60s’ style.

The magazine covers…

…and the subsequent breakdown by John Smith, his creative genius and mental capacity destroyed by his drive to complete the double album.

He moves to Morocco with his girlfriend, turns to drugs and subsequently has a spiritual rebirth and decides to live an ‘Eden’ life rather than write about it. Which is the hook we would hang a bit of SL naturism on.

I’m not sure why we then abandoned the whole thing. Possibly the inability to make magazines look authentic. It certainly wasn’t ‘the concept’ itself, as daft and unhinged and wonderfully, deliciously mad as any rock opera or concept album ever issued. From the made up back story, we would move seamlessly to the real life sixties, Woodstock, for example (see the small b&w gallery below) when attitudes to social, communal nudity were changing fast. We’ve not published the SL photos shown above before.

We mentioned the entire idea, briefly, in a blog entry called the Wild Rock and Roll era.¬†And then we moved on without pursuing it further, apart from a ‘naturist as rock star’ post I did in January called ‘Hendrix‘. Many elements of those blog posts had been cut and pasted from the original ‘John Smith’ posts we’d planned.

I’m bringing this up today because another of those ‘dandy rock and roll hero’ type suits Harry (or John Smith) used in the original idea came to my attention, with Carson Caiben at the Fab Free blog modelling it (in the context of a theatre visit).

It’s a free group gift from¬†¬†Lara Augusta Carnelian.

And it has me wondering if there’s any appetite for a series of posts outlining ‘John Smith’s’ sojourn for enlightenment through naturism. Even if there isn’t, it reminded me that there are parallels between ‘John Smith’ abandoning a pop music career for naturism in Beau Brummel, a South African pop star who had minor hits in England. (not to be confused with San Francisco group The Beau Brummels).

You can read his story, in a pdf file, here (complete with numerous naturist photographs). And, indeed, 60s pop star and 70s naturist Beau Brummell’s suits don’t look so far removed from Lara’s free gift!

He also made a video called ‘Africa’s Naked Tribe’, which can be seen on youtube.

I’ve not decided yet, but there may be some mileage in the whole ‘John Smith’ back story just yet! In the meantime, click the links to read about a pioneer, perhaps the pioneer, of South African naturism.

Ella

Heroes of naturism : Inge de Bruijn

Former Olympian swimmer, Inge de Bruijn, now 43, proud holder of four gold, two silver and two bronze medals, has appeared on one of those ‘Adam seeks Eva’ TV reality shows we’ve covered before, the format being largely the same around a number of European countries.

While many celebrities will flaunt a soft sexuality, it’s a little less common to find someone famous quite literally laying themselves so bare.

It’s refreshing that she has the confidence, as a ‘famous face’, to help normalise nudity. We expect actresses to be photographed nude, as within the context of movies it’s part of the gig. We expect singers to sometimes do the same to deflect attention away from their declining record sales. It’s somewhat less common with sporting stars. While the ‘Adam seeks Eva’ format does a little to normalise nudity, it wouldn’t quite be normal, common or garden ‘naturism’, but we certainly applaud her for her appearance on the show.

 

Ella

No Nukes

The forthcoming British election (June 8th) has resulted in us being swamped by politicians telling lies in various forms of media. No change there.

It has also resulted in questions being asked of the Labour Party, the opposition party, regarding their position on Trident, the UK’s nuclear ‘defence’ system.¬†The party are for it, while its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is against it. Or not. It depends what news source you read.

Trident’s HQ in the UK is based at Faslane, not so far away from where I am, and the presence of nuclear weaponry close by -or anywhere, as owned by anyone- makes me uncomfortable.

There’s long been opposition to Trident in the UK, mainly because we’re a minor European country who might be better off shovelling the cost of maintaining a nuclear deterrent into our health system, for example.

 

A bit down the coast lies Sellafield, one of the UK’s nuclear power plants. It’s an ugly blot on an otherwise beautiful part of the world.

In the past, opposition to the Trident programme has led to nude protests at Faslane…

 

…which had us thinking about nude protest within SL..

Yes. Our models have clambered into the submarine pens at SL’s Museum of Nuclear Warfare to protest the use of such destructive weaponry. Consider giving the sim a visit…it’s an educational sim, in a manner which used to be oh so prevalent in SL almost a decade back, in the early days of SL itself, when educational purposes almost outweighed the commercial outlets in SL…great times indeed, now sadly lost, in the main, on the grid. Back then it was possible to hop from sims that recreated the moon landings to sims outlining the Palestinian conflict in the space of an hour, and do some educational (if politically skewed) research. Scouring our archives brings up numerous entries related to nude protest.

Ella

 

 

 

Beach Weekend

Come Soon Poses new group gift (no joining fee) is Beach Weekend, with Jimmy and Mal taking advantage of the fine SL weather to enjoy a lazy afternoon.

The pose gives me an opportunity to present a small gallery of sun umbrellas & loungers as real life naturists enjoy their own beach weekends, and demonstrate just how normal and non-sexual naturism is. No one is ogling others, and naturism is exactly like any other ‘textile’ beach scene, just without the idiocy of uncomfortable, wet, clinging, sand filled swimwear. People are chatting, reading, swimming or queuing for ice creams or cold drinks. Such boringly normal scenes it makes you wonder why you’re still holding onto the daftness of swimwear in your real or Second Life, doesn’t it?

 

Ella

Razors redundant?

I picked up a story this week from various UK news outlets, regarding women binning the razor and going ‘au naturel’.

It’s slightly depressing to read the line that ‘New trend for celebrities to bare their own body hair has emboldened women’. Why do you need a ‘celebrity’ lead on this issue? Why not embolden yourself by making your own lifestyle choices, regardless of what any shallow ‘celebrity’ is doing?

Other than that, I welcome news that women may not be slavishly following what any fashion industry is telling them how to dress, do their hair, apply make-up or anything else.

Julia Roberts possibly led the recent upsurge in celebrities not shaving their underarm hair

Julia Roberts was famously photographed with underarm hair, almost twenty years ago, and since then it has become a much more visible thing, both on red carpets and the High Street, at least in the UK.

While I’ve long been an advocate of not shaving ‘down there’, and have periods when I don’t shave my armpits either (and reflect this in SL), I do like to shave my legs. Kudos, then, to model Willow, who agreed to sport an essentially full set of body hair for us, utilising some of the same body hair I would – notably the Nearly Tactile pubic hair and Route 666 underarm hair. (price L$59 on the Marketplace) I don’t think I would step out in SL (or RL) with leg hair

What she’s added, though, is leg hair from Jaryth’s Barber shop (price L$250). It’s quite a ‘whoa!!!!!’ sort of look, it’s going to turn heads, big time. It’s very striking.

I wondered if the initially radical look of a hairy-legged nude would be softened by the addition of clothes, so I also got Willow to pose while clothed (now there’s a first for SLN!).

And yes! The look is somewhat softened by the addition of clothing.

Willow is an avatar who likes a bohemian, hippy look, and she has been sporting both pubic and underarm hair previously ‘as a reflection of real life’, so I asked her what she thought of the addition of leg hair.

‘I don’t shave my legs in real life either, but they don’t seem quite as radically dark and hairy as they do on my avatar. My initial reaction was ‘yuk!’, but having lived with avatar leg hair for a couple of days I’ve grown to like the look. There have been negative comments, yes. There’s sometimes negative comments about wearing pubic and underarm hair, never mind leg hair, but negative comments about either leave me dismissing the commenter as shallow and unworthy of wasting any more of my time, and I think I’m rather going to stick with the leg hair too, as you can either accept me for how I represent myself in Second Life, my Second Life, or you move on, muted. I’m not prepared to live my Second Life in accordance with what you think is a female ideal. I don’t play for you. I play for me.’

I’m not convinced that we’re about to see hairy legged women become a trend, but evidence grows that women are letting their armpits and pubic area become a little more hirsute. The trend in SL has been for more women to sport more pubic hair, so it will be interesting to see if this continues, either under arm or underneath. After all, we seem to inhabit a society in which what grows naturally, hair, is often described as a ‘fetish’ as opposed to ‘natural’.

Ella