Reading in the Buff


Less than a month to the publication of Urban Worrier: Adventures in the Lost Art of Letting Go, my most honest book to date. I’ve been wavering between excitement and trepidation for weeks as June 2nd approaches, wondering if I should have been a bit more circumspect and less confessional – but that all paled into insignificance yesterday when a man emailed me to ask if I’d consider giving a book reading stark naked.

Nudefest, I should hastily explain, is British Naturism’s annual jamboree on a campsite in Cornwall, which I visited a few years back as one of the chapters in my quest to loosen up a little. After the terrifying moment of taking the plunge, I was surprised to find the whole experience liberating, sociable and deeply relaxing. Hundreds of us took an al fresco evening tour of the Eden Project, and none of us looked remotely like the airbrushed models you see in Sunday magazines – which was the whole point, of course. It was a kind of joyous mutiny against all the fashionistas selling us insecurity and shame. Everyone there simply accepted themselves as they were, with no disguises left to shed.

Mingling with naked crowds is one thing, however; standing spotlit in front of them reading from a book is quite another. I tried not to rule it out immediately, but the logistics alone seem mind-boggling (How tall would the lectern be? Where would I clip my radio mic? etc) In the end, much as I’d love to be brave and self-accepting enough to take up the invitation, I just can’t imagine that much letting go.

But give me another decade or so…


Posted on: 04 May 2011 in General


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