Its French, Its on SBS late on a Friday Night, There is a Mountain of Nudity.
Blaze was telling me the other day about a new show late on Friday Night on SBS. He told me that it was a clever satire on European immigration concerns, terrorism, cultural identity, global warming and populism.
So I asked, “ What’s it called?”
And Blaze said, “Nude.”
I looked at him. Now one of the great joys of Australia’s multicultural society is the need and existence of SBS. For years now it has given us quality TV across all genres and from many different cultural viewpoints. But let’s face it the amount of nudity and sex scenes in their world movies and overseas dramas, comedies etc. and the sheer number of docos on sex has been game changing for Australian television audiences. I think Blaze and I must admit myself speak for a certain proportion of the Australian audience in expressing our gratitude.
Indeed I say SBS I forgive you for Eurovision. Also for the cycling and soccer, sorry football, which I know are very popular but for me unwatchable.
So when Blaze said, “Nude” I thought he had uncovered another European or Latin American show where incredibly good looking people shed their kit at the drop of a hat and get it on to advance the plot of whatever show or movie they are in.
In short I thought he was taking the piss. Who amongst us hasn’t been drawn to cast a glance or two at some of these shows? So I suggested to Blaze that he had been actually looking for a show like one described above to watch after the footy had finished. I told him there is no shame in this, we are all adults and should be able to watch this sort of stuff in a free and open society as long as others are not hurt etc. etc.
But Blaze just looked at me and continued whittling, a new hobby taken up to wean him off the ciggies. Earlier as I watched, he started carving a piece of wood about the size of a milk carton with an old kitchen knife that looked wickedly sharp. His fingers, six of which were wearing Band-Aids, did not look particularly dextrous. He told me he was going to carve a surfer hanging 10 on a longboard but now three cups of coffee, two nicotine patches and a toasted sardine sandwich later he had not progressed far. The piece of wood was now the size of a cigarette packet and the emerging shape looked like a cross between an Egyptian mummy and erect circumcised penis.
Sometimes actions say a lot more than words.
I had to go and do some stuff so I made sure he put the knife down before we shook hands and I said we would catch up later.
On my way out he yelled, “Just watch the show.”
So I did and guess what, Blaze was right. It is a clever, funny satire on the social and political issues facing Europe and nudity is central to the whole concept of the show. So it says a lot about the way we in western society view nudity and clothing.
When I watched the opening minutes of the first episode I thought it was going to be some kind of creepy crime show because a coma victim, freshly awake after years unconscious, is explaining to his parents that he thought he saw his doctor naked.
And from there it goes in another unexpected direction entirely.
Clothing as a construct is really interesting. Think about what clothes do for us other than the obvious use of protecting our bodies from weather or damage. Amongst other things they work as a uniform to designate status or wealth, occupation, religious persuasion, hobby, favourite sporting activity or team affinity. We can put messages on clothes showing our social, moral or political opinions and convictions, what makes us laugh or cry, what we love and what we don’t.
Clothes do a freaking lot where nudity is just naked bodies. Obviously in Western societies were public nudity remains basically illegal, uncommon and not the norm naked bodies become sexualised as if the only thing you can do naked is have sex. Every one knows you can also sunbake, swim and sleep nude. Some people even ride bicycles!
I don’t know how long people have been wearing clothes. A long time I guess. If you were around during ice age I am pretty sure an animal skin would have been very handy to ward off the winter chill.
But the point is at one stage nudity was relatively acceptable and then, as usual, within a society a certain class i.e. the ruling class takes on something, in this case clothing to separate them from the slaves and serfs. And before you know it a few hundred years later English men and women are covered from neck to toe in wool while colonising tropical India sweating buckets and allegedly getting horny if a well carved and curved table leg made of the finest mahogany is uncovered.
Why? Well I guess when the Judeo Christian religions came on stream in Europe and the Middle East, the concept of shame and modesty and therefore our anti nude position got up and running. Obviously it flows from the story of Adam And Eve right at the beginning of the Old Testament. Although I do note that there is a Christian, naturalist [read nudist] movement in the USA who feel the story of the serpent in the Garden and Original sin is a misinterpretation and that Christianity and public nudity can sit comfortably together, though obviously with a towel on the seat.
Now I couldn’t be more atheist if my last name was Dawkins and I get that logically we should be, if the weather suits, able to wonder around stark bollocky naked without shame or embarrassment or out of context sexual thoughts but culture and societal norms are not called norms for nothing. So I am siding with our western civilisation heritage on this one.
Plus there are issues with sweat and smells and germs etc. etc. and when you combine that with needing somewhere to put your car keys I can see how the no clothing movement still struggles to take off in the modern world.
Anyway you should watch “Nude” because these issues and so many more are covered or perhaps, to keep the puns going, uncovered in the TV series. Its not the best thing ever but it’s got that French touch of farce to it and now I know erection means the same thing in French and English. Who would have guessed?
Best songs about nudity
There are really lots of songs with nudity in the titles and lyrics but nothing comes close to the sheer Australian brilliance of Nude School by Painters and Dockers.