Naked Ramblers finally arrive

The news stories give the essential details, so I won’t add much.

Get ’em on. We’ve made it [Link still valid!]

If the certainty of having your collar felt, metaphorically of course, by the local police every few days is not enough to put you off walking the length of Britain naked, then the February wind blowing off the Pentland Firth should at least be a deterrent. So, as the Naked Rambler and his girlfriend finally arrived at the northernmost tip of Scotland yesterday, their first thoughts turned to clothes.

‘Naked Rambler’ gets dressed

A man trying to walk the length of Britain wearing nothing but a hat, boots and a rucksack completed his marathon trek on Monday and celebrated by putting his clothes back.

“It’s nice to get warmed up again,” self-styled “Naked Rambler” Stephen Gough (46) told the domestic Scottish Press Association news agency from a café in John O’Groats, on the tip of the north-east Scottish mainland.

Gough and his partner, 34-year-old hairdresser Melanie Roberts, completed the last 32km of their 1 363km walk from Land’s End, south-west England in temperatures of about five degrees Celsius.

“It has been pretty cold and the locals have been coming up to us offering us whisky and all sorts,” said Gough. “They’ve been very, very friendly. We passed a school and there were even parents coming out with video cameras.”

Naked rambler completes his trek [Link still valid!]

Mr Gough and his partner Melanie Roberts, 34, from Bournemouth, reached the north coast of Caithness on Monday.

The ex-marine, who began his 874-mile trek in June, has been arrested and jailed on several occasions.

Mr Gough, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, said he wanted to challenge public attitudes to nudity. He celebrated his success by putting his clothes on.

It was a nice touch that the Guardian ran, in addition to the story, a brief — but quite favorable — opinion piece:

In praise of… the naked rambler
[Link still valid!]

However often the police may have arrested the incorrigible nudist, including twice in his final week on the road, the general public always seemed hearteningly unfazed by his presence. The nearer he got to John O’Groats, a tired but happy Mr Gough reflected yesterday, the more that local people offered greetings and whisky to him and his partner Melanie Roberts.

Oh, and just in case you’ve been living most of the last year (or more) in the Amazonian rainforest (hopefully naked) and find this story interesting but lacking in background, just go to the Naked Rambler’s web site for more information and pictures…

Originally published February 27, 2006

Dining nakedly in New York

OK, given that the following article appears on an ezine called “Eros Guide New York Erotica”, there’s no denying the erotic framing. Clearly, the site is for people who like sex. On top of that, the article is by a woman who writes “erotica and steamy horror”. [This is certainly not a standard naturist activity, but the event in question didn’t feature sexual activity (according to the report). It does illustrate a non-sexual social event where nudity is very appropriate.]

The writer was invited to attend a clothing-optional dinner in the city and read from her own work — while naked (sort of). It’s been organized by a naturist club that exists specifically to enjoy dinner in the nude at various fine restaurants in town. What a surprise that she was nervous about going naked, but finds the experience isn’t erotic at all — and she clearly rather enjoyed it.

CODinners, a dinner club for naturists in NYC

My reading went well and as I let my tongue slip over the words of one of my favorite stories, I forgot I was naked at all.

When I was finished, I remembered I was naked again, and felt a bit odd as people came up and talked to me about my reading. But it was no different than any other reading. People seemed interested in me and my work, especially since I was from Toronto and made the effort to come to this event — and it was my first time naked in public.

Once I got over the initial shyness, and had a couple of drinks, I was totally fine with walking around naked and talking to everyone.

She has high praise for other attendees:

This is a fantastic group of people with all ages present, though it did seem to slant more towards the over-30 crowd. Everyone was polite and respectful. Not everyone was naked. Many women wore shawls around their waists, as I did. Some people wore togas. I never felt like I was being picked up or hit on in any way. Like the fetish clubs I frequent, manners were at a premium, as was the air of desire to welcome new people into the fold.

It all sounds downright civilized, no? We should all be so lucky to get invited to something like this. Apparently, if you live conveniently close to New York all you have to do is join the club.

To make things even easier, the club has an online discussion list at Yahoo!. And in case you’re into yoga, they even have a subgroup for that.

Originally posted January 29, 2006


Urbanudismo, or Urban Nudism, is the name given by some — associated with the Urbanudismo website — to a new type of naturism. It appears to be associated mostly with Spain and Argentina. The following article discusses, briefly, its appearance in Buenos Aires.

Urbanudismo, el boom llegó a la ciudad de Buenos Aires

The article’s in Spanish. My understanding of the language is limited, but I’ll offer a rough translation anyhow.

Urban nudism, the boom reaches the city of Buenos Aires

Although some define it as an artistic phenomenon, people from Buenos Aires don’t stop being surprised by nudists who take off their clothes in public places

Urban nudists are a phenomenon that is growing in the city of Buenos Aires. It is a matter of people who decide to take off their clothes in public places.

Some prefer to consider it an artistic phenomenon.

Luizo Vega is one of the figures that most stands out for his capacity to generate live works, according to Diario Popular.

Buenos Aires also was the setting chosen by the photographer Spencer Tunick, who in 2002 brought together more than 500 nude people in the Obelisco.

The daring is also expressed by women. Inés Gilemmon decided to move nudist celebrations from closed locations to plazas and streets, with the sole objective to “provoke and generate strong reactions.”

For her part, Abril X (pictured) practices a political type of urban nudism, following the European example.

Originally posted January 8, 2006

Dancing for votes

Apparently Norwegian teenagers are a lot like teenagers everywhere, only more so. Around the time of their graduation from high school they have a tradition of rowdiness. They even have a special term in their native language, “russ”.

It seems that this is such a tradition that the “russ” in each school elect their own president. Back in May one school had an election that was interesting enough that it made the news. Evidently it even got some notice on the Internet, but I didn’t see it. Guess I don’t visit the right places. Anyway, according to this story:

Antics by Norway’s ‘russ’, reveling high-school students who celebrate impending final exams with often unbridled debauchery, have caused a new controversy after a stripping stunt was filmed and publicized via the Internet.

A 19-year-old girl promoted her campaign to be the local russ president by stripping naked at a student assembly at Atlanten High School in Kristiansund two weeks ago

The young woman’s name wasn’t reported, or even whether she won the election — but she’d certainly have my vote if I were there.

Sounds like this caused a minor scandal, even in Norway. Imagine the repercussions had this occurred in the U. S. (However, back in 1998 a graduating senior at a private school in Vermont was naked under her graduation gown, which she removed after addressing the audience at the graduation ceremony, as reported here. That did cause quite a stir.)

Anyhow, there will by some excessively prim naturists who will complain that “this isn’t naturism”. Maybe not, but it’s something we could stand to have a whole lot more of.

Oh, yes, there’s even a video, here.

Thanks to Say Anything for the story.

Originally posted November 29, 2005

A week without clothes

The following is about goings-on in late June, taken from a story that wasn’t posted until the end of September, and here it is now almost Thanksgiving (a U. S. holiday). Oh well. It’s a great article.

Author is Richard Collins, familiar (or notorious) to some naturist netizens, at least in the UK. Richard is known for riding his bike nude in Cambridge (UK) and generally getting around in a lot of places without the encumbrance of clothing. He also moderates several Yahoo! groups (Go Bare, Naked Walk, British Naturism) and manages several Websites too (,,

Here he writes about a week in June he spent attending the Glastonbury Music Festival and then meeting up with Steve Gough, Melanie Roberts, and others to spend a few days rambling through the English countryside.

(Nearly) all without wearing clothes.

A week without clothes

After a breakfast of muesli and long-life milk, I set off with ring-pull can of sausages and beans, fruit, biscuits, a litre of orange juice and a can or three of beer, my daily sustenance for the foreseeable future. Being well prepared saves a lot of queuing and money at festivals. Boldly going where I had not walked naked before, I set off. Nothing to it really. I had been naked at Glastonbury before, but never walked about with such confidence. This time I was determined not to let thoughts of “I might offend someone” stop me. This is Glastonbury. If you can’t be naked here, you can’t be naked anywhere.

To hear Richard tell it, he was warmly received from the start:

I could write reams about the various people I made friends with for an hour or two or a whole evening, on each of the three days, but I don’t want to bore you. Suffice it to say, nudity is very much appreciated, and a great icebreaker to get people talking, as those around me in the crowd really partied.

I will mention one young woman who’d been encouraged by friends to go, despite not liking crowds. She was standing next to me as she said this, and I said that being naked one gets a little more space to move. She replied, “That’s good. I’m going to stick with you all evening. I feel safer.” It’s almost inconceivable that a woman should say that to a naked man she’d only just met!

Eventually Richard linked up with Steve and Melanie and several others, and he tells of various pleasant encounters, like this one at a stop in Brampton:

I put my backpack on the floor just inside the door and approached the counter where hot pies and sandwiches were on display. A very nice lady served me and told me which aisles I needed for fruit, more biscuits, and juice. Nothing out of the ordinary it seemed, except when I came face-to-face with two giggling young women, they ducked back behind the end of the aisle! I returned to the counter where the lady happily continued to serve me while other staff looked on and smiled warmly. I made a brief comment about the walk and, as the last to leave, said cheerio to the staff who’d been so pleasant and helpful. Shopping au naturel there, wasn’t any different to Euronat, except that we were the only nude shoppers ­ever!

So go read the whole article. It’s very upbeat. But you will be very jealous.

Originally published November 22, 2005

World Naked Bike Ride 2005 photos

The San Francisco naked ride photos have just been put up — here.

Yes, it’s taken quite awhile — the ride was June 11. Only four months… but the organizer has done a really great job. There are separate albums from five different photographers and hundreds of pictures. (Does get a little repetitive after a while.)

This may be one of the best collections for WNBR 2005. If you want to check out the other cities, you’ll have to go to the main WNBR page and start looking yourself. Select a country, then a city. Most don’t have many photos, but there’s lots of other info. Many cities have their own discussion groups at Yahoo! or elsewhere.

Imagine doing this yourself next summer. Better yet, get involved, or organize a ride yourself. You can sign up for new cities at the pages for the appropriate country. If the city is already listed, just check back early next summer for further information, or join the discussion group. If you can’t find your country, you can be the first — sign up at the main page.

Originally published October 18, 2005

Top 11 naked experiences

Brought to you by AOL’s city guides

Not all of these would appeal much to naturists, I think. Some are kind of offbeat, but it’s interesting that AOL would be promoting naked experiences. There’s information on what each experience is about, and when you can enjoy it. If you want to.

  1. Hollywood, CA – Naked sushi. Chow down on sushi artfully arranged on the body of a naked model.
  2. New York City, NY – The Naked Cowboy. Enjoy (if that’s the right word for it) the singing of a “cowboy” who performs in Times Square wearing only Fruit of the Loom briefs. At least he’s better looking than George Bush.
  3. Laguna Nigel, CA – Mooning Amtrak. It’s a tradition – the second Saturday in July anyone can come to the train station and moon the passing trains. Really!
  4. Seattle, WA – World Naked Bike Ride. Many other places too, in early June. One of the best naturist events of the year.
  5. Chicago, IL – Naked Boys Singing. A theatrical production, runs daily at least through January 2006.
  6. Los Angeles, CA – Human Body Project. Here’s your chance to have your naked self photographed for the sake of art. Wow.
  7. Key West, FL – Naked sunsets. Enjoy watching the sunset from the clothing-optional Garden of Eden rooftop bar. Live bands and bodypainting too.
  8. San Francisco, CA – Bare to Breakers. Join the annual Bay to Breakers run across the city in May, and naked’s OK. You can even walk if you prefer – running is optional.
  9. Dallas, TX – Naked yoga. Men only, but you don’t have to be gay. There’s naked yoga in various other places, too. Some even allow women, but maybe that’s too radical of an idea for Texas.
  10. New York City, NY – National Underwear Day. Must have been inspired by the “Naked Cowboy”. (See above.)
  11. Miami, FL – Haulover Beach. The real deal. Especially if you’re in South Florida but don’t care for bars. (See above.)

You can even vote for which of these appeals most to you. Unsurprisingly, Haulover Beach and the naked sunsets are just about tied for first. Revoltingly, the “naked” cowboy is third.

Originally posted September 13, 2005

How Berkeley Can You Be?

From the official Web site:

Come and help Berkeley celebrate itself in one of the most colorful, irreverent, and fun events on the west coast. The Tenth Annual “How Berkeley Can You Be?” Parade kicks off on Sunday, September 25, 2005, at 11:00 A.M. It starts at the corner of California and University Avenue and proceeds up University Avenue to Shattuck, turns right on Shattuck to Center Street and then goes down Center Street two blocks, where it ends in Civic Center Park.

And the best part of the parade is — it’s clothing-optional. Or if you’re a little shy, topfree is OK too. So, if you like to “parade around naked”, Berkeley is the place.

Originally published September 7, 2005

Staff writer looking for a clued mood

Yet another comment on art and art appreciation. We seem to be having quite a run of these right now.

Austin American-Statesman staff writer Chris Garcia seems to have struggled mightily to grok the scene at a fairly ordinary (for participants) viewing of photographic art at an Austin, TX gallery recently. The attempt is almost successful.

All the images on exhibit, by photographer George Krause, are of nudes, and (almost) all the spectators are nude too, members of the local Hill Country Nudists club. So what’s the big deal?

Art exhibit’s visitors in a nude mood

The naked man looked at the clothed man, and then he looked at the naked people, and then back at the clothed man, all the time wearing a scrunched look that said, “What is this weirdo doing here?”

The weirdo, fully dressed, was there to talk to naked people. He told the naked man this, and the naked man relaxed. But the clothed man did not relax, for he was one of only a few clothed people in an art gallery filled with naked men and women. Twenty-one of the naked people were there in the literal, quivering flesh, and about as many were hanging on two long walls, the subjects of life-size photographs by Austin artist George Krause.

Somehow, Garcia’s prose comes across in shades of purple:

Naked people admired the photos’ indiscriminate honesty, and the boxy, concrete gallery echoed with the slappy patter of bare feet. Sipping cheap cabernet in plastic cups, nudists mixed casually in the shocking altogether, proud in their mammalian resplendence. They embodied all sizes and shapes, from pears to bears, though the age scale tipped to ear hair and backaches.

But here’s the part that gets me going:

There was chatter about “liberation,” “society” and the nudist “agenda,” yet a curious dearth about sexuality and the whole naked thing. One wondered how these people abstain from . . . looking.

“With some practice, it’s completely possible to maintain eye contact with a topless woman,” Morgan said. “You don’t stare, but you don’t avoid looking in a particular direction either.” Gotcha.

What the writer is struggling to understand is that looking is simply not a problem. It’s not a problem, because people who really get naturism don’t mind if anyone looks, or at what parts. To be naked means that certain body parts, which the prevailing culture considers to be taboo and “private”, are uncovered. But since these parts aren’t taboo for naturists, there’s no problem with their being seen, or even something one may pay attention to.

That’s subject to reasonableness, of course. A person who stares without interruption at anyone or any part of someone certainly will be regarded as weird, uncouth, oafish, or gauche. But even then, many, if not most, naturists will not be so much “annoyed” or “offended” as simply pitying toward such behavior. Naturists are quite used to seeing nudity. They enjoy seeing it, but aren’t mesmerized by it. Anyone who is clearly hasn’t got the idea yet.

In traditional Japanese culture there are communal bathing facilities known as onsen and sento. In connection with these, the saying is that “nudity is often seen, but seldom noticed.” However, such bathing facilities usually have separate areas for men and women, so there remains a definite nudity taboo.

Naturism is different. It has a culture of its own where even noticing nudity is not a problem. That is because the nudity — one’s own as well as that of others — is something to be enjoyed. Just so long as one doesn’t take it to excess.

There’s another newspaper story on the same event, by Houston Chronicle writer Louis Parks, who doesn’t seem quite so overwhelmed by it all — and thanks to Mark for this:

A great night for art buffs [Link still valid!]

The gallery served wine, the guests stood around and chatted and discussed the photos. What could be more, well, natural?

No big deal.

To a fully dressed observer, the most striking aspect of this gathering — aside from the vastness of skin, the profusion of body hair and the usually hidden wrinkles — was how similar it seemed to a clothed gathering.

And yet not quite the same.

“It’s refreshing,” said Kathy, whose father, a photographer, taught her ‘the difference between nudity and pornography.’ “It’s nice to meet people where you feel comfortable. One thing about people who are truly nudist, you are not looking at the body image thing, it’s more who they are.”

Vive la différence.

Originally posted August 28, 2005

Nude theater… in Kansas!

Nude actors to perform in Topeka

Actors and actresses will bare it all next month at a city-owned theater when a nudist colony stages a series of plays it commissioned to promote a clothing-free lifestyle.

The Lake Edun Foundation
Inc. (Edun is nude spelled backward) promoted the plays in its August newsletter under the headline, “No Sex, No Violence … Only Nudity.”

The plays are scheduled to be performed Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center’s Hussey Playhouse.

Of course, just to be nasty, the writer of the Associated Press story had to use the word “colony”. But that’s Kansas for you.

Longer article: Curtain to rise, clothes to fall

More: here, here.

Lake Edun’s newsletter provides a little more detail:

From the frantic and funny to the reflective and informed, these brilliant and witty one-act plays promise a rare evening of Topeka theatre. So rare, in fact, that almost 30 years have passed since the last time auditions were called requiring actors to undress for the stage.

Originally posted August 26, 2005