Sunday, February 01, 2009


"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by mad, overfed, phlegmatic naked Germans," as Ginsberg might have written if he'd been a Welsh blog-jockey instead of an excitable American with an unlimited supply of bongo cigarettes.

Man of science Francis Sedgemore and mighty sage Prof Norman Geras have both taken on the knotty, veiny problem the Swiss have been having with their usually so affable German neighbours.

"Swiss authorities are trying to fend off hordes of German ramblers dressed in nothing more than a rucksack and walking boots," reports The Times in an article bristly with single entendres. "Sehr prickelnd und schön," noted comedy German Michael Lücke to the maniacs at Bild Zeitung.

Francis is appreciative of the humour with which the crabbed Swiss are trying to trample on the Germans' historic right to wander around other people's countries in big boots, and I have to agree that many a violation of the natural order is acceptable if it's done with a certain panache.

Prof Geras, however, turns his mind to the proposition of wearisome liberal John Stuart Mill that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others".

Mill thought offences against public decency could require restraint, while Sir Norm (that's right - where's his gong, Mr Brown?) maintains that trailing your Teutonic testes in the innocent faces of Alpine fauna is somehow ok. The professor has asked for his readers' opinions on the matter.

"On Liberty" is the only book Madame Boyo has burnt that wasn't written by Will Self, but I as a politics student appreciated its brevity and lack of footnotes. And so I shall attempt to answer Prof Geras's poser.

Heather tycoon and gonzo anthropologist Gyppo Byard thinks that Evolution Itself demands a ban on wandering about in the nip. "When a man sees a naked woman he perceives an invitation, when a woman sees a naked man she perceives a threat," he mused.

This is true only up to a point. An au naturel encounter with most female members of the Socialist Workers Party or House of Lords, for example, would strike the average male as an invitation to consider the Rule of St Benedict, whereas the ladies of the House of Boyo regard my weekly rain-barrel ablutions not as a threat so much as an opportunity for target practice and amateur surgery.

It's all very well Byard's pontificating from his ivory vardo on such matters. We Boyos have had firsthand experience of this abomination.

Madame B and I took a trip to the Cotswolds some time ago, and visited the feudal burg of Malmesbury to jeer at the villeins of Baron Dyson. The town has fine Abbey Gardens that stretch down a wooded hillside to a stream, but we thought the entrance fee too steep and went for a stroll in the nature reserve on the other bank instead.

We were happily watching a plucky yeoman coot face down a couple of Angevin mallards when I saw a fat man wearing what appeared to be nothing as he plashed through the ferns. I was about to remark on this when a scrawny but similarly skyclad 30-something stopped in his barefoot tracks by the brook, startled at our clothed appearance.

"Have we stumbled across the Austrian Consulate's away day?" asked Madame Boyo in a voice that carries well across steelworks, let alone water.

Our visitor showed a clean pair of cheeks and fled.

Later research revealed that the Abbey Gardens are run by a pair of depraved "naturists" - or "nudists", to use the technical term - who allow fellow degenerates to frolic in the briar and hawthorn thickets four times a year.

We were unlucky enough to be passing by on one such jubilee, although I imagine the nudists could complain that they hadn't paid good money to be heckled by literally rive-gauche Marxists.

I have made my views on nudists known in a previous post, and will merely summarise why they need restraining by whatever police force Mill had in mind in his beige dystopia:

1. Class. When workers, peasants and progressively-inclinded soldiers feel like stripping off, they head for the beaches of Spain, slap on some baby oil and cheerily threaten hawkers who take too close an interest in their wives' breast enhancements.

Aristocrats only present themselves in flagrante during the annual selection of chambermaids, on horseback, or both, and are usually drunk.

Nudists, on the other hand, are always petit bourgeois. Line them up on parade and ask the Esperantists, Quakers and vegetarians to fall out, and you'll have no one left. So you line them up again and summon the Red Guards.

2. Aesthetics. The lords and serfs mentioned in my first point are easy on the eye due to manual labour or good breeding.

Nudists, however, are pale, bulbous, whey-haired and meek before the demands of gravity. They could hide for weeks in a pile of parsnips without anyone noticing.

3. Eugenics. Britain is as brambly and moist as Opus Dei underwear, and not designed for nude cavorting. If you do so it will not make you a Nietzschean superperson, it will merely usher mouldy, rheumy Death your way.

And after all, despite the urgings of common sense, Mill thought we ought to save people from killing themselves.

4. The Common Weal. Scotland has little going for it beyond tweeds and Hunter Wellington boots, and each purchase counts in these lean times. If these industries collapse, the last usefully employed Scotsmen will have to join their compatriots among the cabinet ministers and legislators of London. This can only exacerbate social tension with the native English.

5. Blasphemy. God made this country lukewarm and itchy on the outside, so that coddlers of the hot-water bottle and sippers of lemon could peer out at it through pebbled windows and give thanks for our excellent array of cardigans and television channels. Those who think they know better than The Almighty are poor sextants for our already rudderless youth.

I hope that I have provided answers practical, theological, Wildean and dialectical to Prof Geras's question, and would be happy for this or any other post to be appended to the next edition of On Liberty and The Highway Code as a warning to the curious.


Gyppo Byard said...

As one who lived, studied and punted in Oxford for a number of years, I shall say but two words - Parson's Pleasure. 'Nuf said...

Francis Sedgemore said...

Boyo - I can fully understand if the thought of legions of overfed, naked and southward-heading English holidaymakers in Rhyl fills you with mortal dread. You and Madame B have my sympathy, but you really should learn to be a little more tolerant, and rejoice in the diversity of the human species.

To me at least, more ridiculous than public nudity among those who in all decency should be forced to wear loose-fitting burkas when in public – whatever their gender – is the sight of sunbathers wearing the most miniscule strips of cloth to cover their nether regions. I mean, why bother wearing anything at all in such an environment?

On the other hand, the thought of nudihiking in Scotland or the Welsh hills during early Autumn makes me wince. Industrial strength Insect repellent on particularly tender skin is probably not to be recommended. If in doubt, always consult your physician.

Kevin Musgrove said...

If God had meant us to walk around in the nip he wouldn't have made us pink and vaguely hairy.

M C Ward said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Indeed, I couldn't have said it myself. Bravo!

No Good Boyo said...

Tolerance is not something we value here at the Cymru Rouge, Francis. We have a vacancy for People's Commissar for Science and Unnecessary Surgical Procedures, and your name's on it if you think tidy.

As for beachwear, we stand firm against the Franco-Italian posing pouch and bikini, holding fast as we do to baggy shorts and slinky one-pieces.

Your comments idea about spraying geography teachers' danglers with pesticide is inspired. A white spirit/deep heat cocktail ought to do the job.

The rest of you gentlemen - carry on!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"diversity of the human species" my foot. Francis went seriously overboard with this one. It is precisely the diversity that makes the au naturel subject so awkward for a democratically minded person.

On one hand, I would fight to death for the rights of every overfed tourist to go naked.

On the other hand, I would fight for my license to kill...

Francis Sedgemore said...

"Francis went seriously overboard with this one."

Oh my! I don't know what came over me.

Unknown said...

Can we have a full version of "Hwyl" please, with iechyd da iechyd da-ing screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes in the style of Cymru Rouge television news?

ANCHORMAN: And now focusing on dreams, adorations, illuminations, religions and the whole
boatload of sensitive bullshit, it's time to take a look at the news in your area.

REPORTER: I'm with you in Rhuddlan
where recent and somewhat controversial plans to build a recycling centre off the A525
have been scrapped by Denbighshire County Council.

xerxes said...

Parsnips? No, I don't want to think about that, or those. Instead, I merely point out that all available visual evidence leads ineluctably to the conclusion that nudism enlarges the bum. No room for fancy dialectic there, methinks.

Ms Scarlet said...

Well quite. Never go out without your Dyson crevice attachment. It puts the fear of God into the most brazen of nudist. Male or female.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Ha, Parson's Pleasure, I remember that when punting - like a Lucian Freud painting come to life!

To cure one of one's nudism phobias - I've said it before and I'll say it again - Denmark. It's a simple as that.

The "female members of the House of Lords" include the rather fanciable Baroness Amos. Though I fully expect to be alone in this opinion as well.

Kevin Musgrove said...

It's Hattie Jacques' birthday on Saturday.

Just thought I'd mention it.

No Good Boyo said...

Hattie was proof of why nudistry is wrong, Kev. But stick her in a matron's uniform and watch the mercury shoot up my thermometer. Even Inky would be moved in mysterious ways.

Gadjo, I did say "most" members. Baroness Amos is an adornment. With the SWP I was probably being generous. Trotsky would weep if he saw the pink-eyed lipless drones who claim his bouffant and goatee today.

Scarlett, you and Francis ought to get together and work out a way to combine the dyson with surgical spirits, then hit the beaches.

Andrew, I'm contacting Wim Winders about producing that news bulletin right now.

Snoop, let's just agree to fight and leave it to history to decide why we did it

Pearl said...

Stumbled across a beach in Florida full of nudists once.
While I have never had the desire to take my clothes off in public -- the event in the stairwell at the Millennium downtown notwithstanding -- had I HAD that predisposition the scene at the beach would've cured me of it. Anemic, lumpy, bipedal (and in one case tripedal, if memory serves) -- protection from the elements is not the only reason to dress.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Heather Tycoon and Gonzo Anthropologist sound like the perfect couple to host a new Channel 4 yoof programme.

Naked beaches - eugh! If I'd wanted to be a gynaecologist I'd have studied medecine.

No Good Boyo said...

Miss Pearl,

Your references to "the event in the stairwell" and "in one case tripedal, if memory serves" mark you out as a truly kindred in flesh and spirit!

In these more chastened times, Daphne, I hope Ch4 might consider giving me and Gyppo a programme of our own in which we will tutor youth in the ways of the gentleman.

Gorilla Bananas said...

They're running short of recruits in America. Their nudist camps are full of sagging ex-hippies, hoping vainly for a few firm-fleshed rookies to ogle. Young humans of today don't strip off unless you pay them - I have no opinion on this.

Kevin Musgrove said...

I've given you an award. Sorry to tarnish the street cred and that but I hope it looks OK on the mantlepiece.

No Good Boyo said...

Kevin, I'm moved! Just had a ramble through Commonplaces and delighted to see you admire the Arsenal Stadium Mystery, the antidote to well-made films. I used to loiter at home of a weekday afternoon in the hope that CH4 would show it.

GB, nudist colonies are like monasteries in that they're running out of pert recruits. Maybe they should merge.

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