Diogenes played host to BBC Radio 4 on 12 July 2012 with a very short-notice Outside Broadcast being conducted by Producer JP Devlin with Emma James.
JPs brief was a “light hearted look at naturism” and that’s certainly what he got. I spent much of the time we were conducting the broadcast in fits of giggles whilst JP Devlin alternated between wry amusement and fear at the prospect of taking his clothes off.
This all blew up on Wednesday 11 July and I have a feeling, although I’ve not asked JP, that they lost a studio guest at short notice. With the Henley Streaker in the news and the studio guest on Saturday 14th July when it was aired being the transvestite potter Grayson Perry, whose delicate and flamboyant art features social statements, I believe we were selected to represent a sub community, one of Grayson’s pet intrigues.
JP and I finally touched base on the morning of the 12th where his mellifluous tone won me over straight away. I literally swooned when I heard his voice. There were admittedly resonances of the former fiancée, since both hail from Northern Ireland. A similar able, enquiring mind, easy manner and great sense of humour. I could tell this was going to be fun and that’s how I approach the media work I’ve done for naturism since I’ve been an avowed public naturist. If it’s not fun, you’re either a) not relaxed or b) you’re at the mercy of an antagonist and since naturism is something I do in my free time which I’m passionate about, I try to avoid confrontation. Try being the operative word
I met JP Devlin at Chalfont & Latimer station, me with my battered car and he with his bald head which was how we left our phone conversation and I regained my pulse rate. Honestly, the power of the human voice! I’d packed one of my picnics too
We didn’t even get chance to sniff at the picnic. Whilst relaxed, we were both “working.” I was keen to get various points across which were subsequently edited, perhaps not being suitable for the light hearted brief JP was working to and JP was trying to settle his blood pressure, the prospect of getting his kit off rendering him extremely nervous.
I subsequently discovered JP had never been outside without clothes on in public which astounded me, not even as a child and he’s 46! I blinked in amazement but different upbringings and body hang ups perhaps mean that our individual experiences of nudity/naturism and perhaps how we come into naturism can be very diverse. Indeed some never will if their socialisation and ultimate body issues precludes them ever being involved in naturism. It was foisted on JP in order for him to conduct the interview, the idea being that he too should try out naturism during the course of the broadcast. Rarely have I seen a man as nervous as JP was that afternoon.
Despite the awful summer we’ve just said goodbye to, Thursday 12 July was a gloriously sunny day. Not particularly hot but warm enough to enjoy the full naturist experience and to show JP around Diogenes as one should; naked. You know me and my penchant for being swathed in clothes when I’m cold, thankfully that wasn’t the case!
Walking into the tea bar, weighted down with a vast picnic, I left JP surveying the grounds and dived into the changing area to disrobe. I strode back into the tea room with a British Naturism towel over my shoulder and my black Reeboks on to show JP around. “There, that feels better,” I said. JP meanwhile blinked. I’m sure he must have been thinking what the hell have I let myself in for here?
We took off around the grounds. I was keen to show JP everything Diogenes had to offer. Although the broadcast wasn’t specifically about Diogenes or landed clubs but rather naturism in general, it still served as a useful promotional piece for Diogenes. BBC Radio 4 even put a link to our website on their page. I asked JP specifically not to put a link to my webpage. I’m all over the web as it is and this was about naturism, not about me and my work as a massage therapist.
There were a few people around that day which was perfect because JP was nervous and coming to terms with the notion of trying naturism for himself. He wouldn’t have been able to cope with a busy Saturday or Sunday, that’s for sure. I would have been forced to interview him if that were the case J.
Tea in hand (me) we wandered around the grounds chatting, with me giggling. He’s a very affable and engaging man. I showed him the pistes, the children’s play area, the bbq area. JP meanwhile was dressed in jeans and a black shirt and it was getting warmer by the minute. He had a recording unit around his chest and a mike in his right hand which was periodically thrust infont of me.
Thence round to the main lawns, through the wild wooded area, past the volley ball courts, the gardens… JP was still in his clothes and time was edging on. Meanwhile I was becoming increasingly amused at his reluctance to take his clothes off. It seemed at odds with his relaxed, open candour and I was aware that the intention was that he should go the whole hog and try the naturist experience for himself. I’d never force someone to try naturism, whether it be for the purpose of an interview or not. That defeats the object of naturism being about relaxation and body acceptance.
…Finally by the tennis courts, with the sun now beginning to beat down and JP getting hotter by the minute, he assented that it was time to disrobe so we sauntered back to the main house where JP took his kit off and I waited for him so we could carry on with the interview and I could continue to dance around his words.
What was so lovely was being with him when he took his first steps outside the front of the building naked (aside from his recording kit) and he finally felt the wind on his body and the sun on his face, heralding a knowing smile and a tacit acknowledgement that infact there might be something in this, although I don’t think he’ll be rushing to repeat the experience. JP is what I would consider to be a reluctant naturist. The likes of British Naturism’s annual trip to Alton Towers would be beyond his palate at the moment. That said, club naturism and perhaps naturism abroad might suit him if he did want to continue with his naturist forays. I think the fear of someone he knew seeing him and he has a public profile which makes it harder of course, would haunt him in a public environment.
We wandered past the children’s play area, over to the camping grounds, past the three pistes and around the corner of the indoor pool with JP getting used to his first naturist experience. He did say it was easier than he’d anticipated because of the accord between us and the fact that it was so quiet but as we rounded the corner of the indoor pool, the fear resurfaced, JP catching sight of some club members sunning themselves around the main pool and outside the tea bar.
“There’s people here.” he hissed, “What if they laugh at me? I laughed “They’re naturists” I said and we carried on walking and talking.
JP muttered an embarrassed “Good afternoon” as we walked past.
It wasn’t about me though, it was about naturism and naturists in general so I asked a couple of people if they would like to be interviewed too but they weren’t keen. One of the members caught up with us when I was showing JP around inside and was very helpful, raising some important points which again sadly weren’t included but issues relating to non family friendly naturist venues. I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate. The committee have to spend a lot of time vetting applications to ensure we retain the positive family friendly atmosphere at Diogenes and it’s something I’m passionate about too, hence my involvement with the Facebook Group, Naturist Freedom UK/Naturist England, where we’re striving to promote and uphold true non sexualised naturism.
The interview over, I took JP and the untouched picnic back and then with half an hour to spare, made my golf which was scheduled for 3pm. I was running on adrenalin after the experience of the interview and lined up without even taking a practice shot. Bang, 160 yards, straight down the fairway. I should ask JP to interview me again! My client who I was playing golf with was most impressed. It went downhill after that though.
BBC Radio 4; http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/satlive