Tib Street streaker of Manchester

Sorry, this isn’t exactly new news… I’m still getting caught up.

The mystery streaker of Tib Street
is, as the Manchester (UK) Evening News wrote about her on July 18…

she’s shown everyone a clean pair of heels – and a lot more besides.

A woman wearing nothing but a pair of trainers and a scorpion tattoo has run down Tib Street in Manchester City Centre at the same time for the last three Fridays.

Of course, had this occurred in most U. S. cities, the “mystery streaker” would have provoked howls of protest and galvanized SWAT teams into action from miles around to put down this terrorist menace. (In the states, if you run unclothed through the streets brandishing an assault rifle there will be a great hue and cry: “Stop him — he’s naked!” And you may rest assured that the NRA will quickly spring to your defense.)

But since this happened in the somewhat more civilized society of Britain,

“It’s all very light-hearted with people laughing and joking,” [one onlooker] said.

“People seem pleased to see her, I don’t think anyone is offended. Tib Street must be the place to be. I’d like to see a lot more of it myself!”

Just good, clean fun. The news stories do not report than any children who saw the streaker turned to stone, spontaneously combusted, suffered from PTSD, or caught some nasty STD. (As would surely have happened in the U. S.)

(A shorter account may be found here.)

But of course, as soon as anything good becomes common knowledge, the laws of karma and human nature dictate it cannot continue. Immediately following publication of the story, the streaker herself owned up to the deed.

I never thought it would get this much attention. I felt so helpless after the London bombings and I just wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces.

There has been nothing else in the papers or on TV recently. I’m a mother and I was thinking of all the mothers who might have lost someone and this was my way of expressing my freedom.

is how Andrea Hall, a 29-year-old mother of 3 children explained her outrageous behavior. It turns out Andrea went for her first streak the day after the London bombings of July 7, apparently to provide a bit of good cheer in a difficult time. She repeated the performance on the following Friday (July 15), but that was the end — no third time as the earlier stories claimed. (Reminding us once again how unreliable any press report can be.)

I think I would only do it again if it was sponsored for charity. It has been a laugh and it has cheered people up.

The funniest comment I’ve probably had is when somebody shouted I was running the wrong way as Tib Street is one way only now.

is Andrea’s conclusion.

Our conclusion? It all goes to show how people around the world are different. The UK isn’t perfect either. While a naked streaker in the U. S. will predictably bring out the minions of morality, in the UK your life is at grave risk if you happen to wear a heavy coat in public in the heat of the summer.

Originally published August 21, 2005

World Naked Gardening Day – September 10, 2005

Get ready for the inaugural World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD)! People across the globe are encouraged, on September 10, 2005, to tend their portion of the world’s garden clothed as nature intended.

Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural. An elderly lady in a Manhattan apartment can plant new annuals in her window box. Families can rake leaves in their backyard. Freehikers can pull invasive weeds along their favorite stretch of trail. More daring groups can make rapid clothes-free sorties into public parks to do community-friendly stealth cleanups.

Why garden naked? First of all, it’s fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us–even if only for those few sunkissed minutes–that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.

Sounds like a really great idea, no? Read more about it here.

Better yet — get involved! There’s a Yahoo! Group where you can discuss plans with others.

Originally published August 17, 2005

The TreeSpirit Project

A few photographers have undertaken sizable projects that either concentrate on or at least include nude human figures, and that convey a naturist message.

The TreeSpirit Project by Jack Gescheidt is one of the most recent examples.

Most of the photos are black-and-white, but a few are in color. All feature magnificent trees, each worthy of photographic studies in their own right. But the photographer has also included in each image several (as many as ten or more) nudes, both male and female.

Better yet, the project is still underway, and volunteer tree spirits are still being sought to participate.

There is another shoot scheduled for San Francisco on Sunday, August 28, 2005.

According to an invitation recently sent by Gescheidt:

Two stunning Giant Sequoias watch over a small park @ 25th & Harrison, in the outer Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, just a few blocks in from Cesar Chavez/Army St.

Look at the [photos on the web site] to see if these youngsters call to you and your friends. All ages and sizes of human are welcome to be photographed connecting with these creatures. The only requirements are playfulness, adventurousness and your open heart.

Save the date on your calendars and I’ll have more detailed information the week of August 22nd before the shoot.

This event will consist of 20 or more men & women, so there is a place for both the mild-mannered ground-dwellers at the bases of the sequoias and courageous tree climbers (up to about 120 feet). Feel free to pass this email invitation to your friends.

As always, each participant will be given a print from the shoot and asked to sign a photo release so the final image can be used in The TreeSpiritProject, incl. fine art prints and website.

Anyone interested should be able to contact the photographer for more information from the contact details on his website.

Originally published August 16, 2005

Literary nudity

For folks interested in the theory of literature or literary criticism, there’s an interesting book review in the latest eSkeptic — Reading Homo sapiens. It didn’t deal with nudity at all, but was otherwise so interesting that I wrote a long article about it on another blog.

That article of mine didn’t touch on nudity either, but I think it’s worth raising the issue here.

In a nutshell, what I’m talking about is a theory of literature which considers it to be simply an outgrowth of something humans do naturally all the time: creating what-if stories about people (usually including themselves, possibly in disguise) that place them in interesting situations and attempt to figure out what will happen.

There have recently been a few naturist-themed stories that some people have self-published on the net or through vanity presses. But other than that, almost nothing I can think of in recent times. Decades ago, when naturism/nudism was still somewhat of a new idea, there were a few more mainstream pieces of fiction that featured it, such as The Cool Cottontail (1966), a mystery by John Ball and even earlier (1932) The Bishop’s Jaegers by Thorne Smith. Then there are various novels by Robert Rimmer (mostly 1960s-70s). More recently there was Ready, Okay (2000), which had a sympathetic teenage naturist character but otherwise had little to recommend it. And there was a really badly written novel The Metaphysics of Nudity (1996) by Eric Miller, which was essentially someone’s daydream about a cross-country trip of a guy and two young women, who all eventually get into a little skinny-dipping. And nudity has sometimes appeared in science fiction (especially Heinlein’s). But on the whole, there’s been very little (nonsexual) “literary nudity”. Especially not much with actual quality.

Why? If we could do something about this, it might help spread naturist ideas a little better.

Originally published August 7, 2005