Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Naked Rambling

No, not an admission that my blogging goes on a bit, but the glad tidings that Stephen Gough, ‘the Naked Rambler’, has at last completed his walk from Land's End to John O’Groats. Nudity’s one of the silliest things to get wound up about, and it’s heartening that several people in the news are making it a bit more acceptable: hikers Mr Gough and his partner Melanie Roberts, and Atlantic rowers Ben Fogle and James Cracknell, who were admittedly less likely to bump into people along their way but popped up more on TV, possibly because they’re the prettier pair.

Thanks to Femme de Resistance for alerting readers to the news I missed yesterday about the end of the ramblers’ 874-mile naked trek (which happily stretched from Lib Dem constituency to Lib Dem constituency and with Stephen Gough’s home in Eastleigh, to boot). Mr Gough and Ms Roberts were arrested numerous times along their journey, apparently more because different police forces felt they ought to than because of any great public outcry. Scottish police seem to have been more puritanical, with Mr Gough jailed four times and ‘admonished’ many more, as far as I can tot them up from the news reports; despite this, locals along the way seem largely to have been very friendly - apart from the obligatory “outraged Kirk minister” - suggesting that old-fashioned British traditions of freedom and tolerance are less out of fashion than the government would have us believe. I think there’s also something about both the ramblers and the rowers that recalls with a glow of amused nostalgia the age of old-fashioned British explorers. Well, I feel like that about them, anyway.

I find it difficult to credit that it’s anyone else’s business whether a person wears a hoodie, a hijab or nothing at all, let alone feel threatened by them. It’d be very dim to claim that nakedness never has anything to do with sex, but it’s also nonsense to argue that it’s always making some sort of aggressive sexual statement (as the old saying goes, if god had meant us to go about without clothes, we’d have been born naked). So there are few bigger wastes of everyone’s time than random officers of the law deciding to harass Mr Gough and Ms Roberts, and while I’m not remotely offended by their nudity I’m hugely offended that they should be chucked in the cells for four months as a result. Ms Roberts was understandably frightened by the experience, while Mr Gough more bolshily stood up for what he believes in, quite reasonably arguing that “I want to show people that nakedness is nothing to be ashamed about and they should not pass their shame on to their kids.” Even The Guardian had rather nice a leader In praise of... the naked rambler in yesterday’s edition.

As I pointed out that I’m no smoker when defending smoking, I should probably mention that I’m very comfortable swimming naked and going about the flat like that. Though according to my Grandma my first political act came at the age of four, naked on a beach, challenging a teenager who’d arbitrarily kicked over a sandcastle, thirty years later I tend to be naked in safely enclosed spaces. I’d be less comfortable in the nude out where everyone else is in clothes, or – and this is probably the killer – where there’s no heating. So if I’m a naturist, I’m on the ‘extreme wuss’ wing of naturism.

Good luck to the Goughs, Robertses, Fogles and Cracknells of this world for their greater bravado and (I imagine) better circulation. What I want to know is, has Mr Gough been congratulated by his local MP?

Labels: ,

>Stephen Gough’s home in Eastleigh

And only a few doors away from Chris Huhne's constituency office.
Naked swimming is most definitely a pleasure, but I've always felt it's never so good in a baths.

The best naked swimming is in the sea. With big waves. At the nuddy end of Brighton or somewhere like Llanbedr.

Fab blog, btw. Thanks for the link.
We used to go swimming in a variety of baths - some good, some less so - with a gay nudist group in London, but they lost the pool nights they hired through various catastrophes (the Clissold pool in Hackney being the most spectacular) and we've not been for ages. I always liked the way I could get some easy-to-measure exercise in working out how many lengths I'd done, but also stand in the shallow end chatting with nice chaps when I wasn't feeling energetic. I have to admit big waves sound tempting too, though.

We did once try a visit to Studland beach in Dorset, after, ah, harrumph, some old Conference nearby. Just as we found a nice dune and took our clothes off, to the minute, it started pouring. Obviously many people would have been frightfully bothered, but being us we laughed like hyenas. Especially when several heads suddenly popped up around the apparently deserted dunes, like meercats or whatever little animals famously pop up in much-repeated wildlife films.

Glad you like the blog, Alex - thanks for yours, too!

Oh, and Anders makes me all the more intrigued to find out Chris' reaction: support, enthusiasm, embarrassment or horror?
Naked swimming is fab, and outdoors in a lake, the sea or an outdoor pool is best.

Alex you and the lovely Richard are welcome to join at Alton one Sunday this winter.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?