“Do you sell parasols?” It’s Friday night in Primark and anticipating a heatwave, I’m preparing myself for the next day’s Naturist Jazz & Real Ale Festival. I’ve already chosen new flip flops and a sunhat, but I feel a parasol is just what my non-outfit needs. “Sell what?” says the sales assistant. You know, umbrellas to shade your skin from the sun? Perhaps there’s not much call for these in Primark on Oxford Street, as the sales assistant simply points me towards the brollies, none of which are sufficiently summery. I wean myself away from a flamingo rubber ring and head home to spray-tan myself a shade of Trump.
The next day, it turns out my shopping trip was misjudged. It is actually raining. When I put the rubbish out in the morning, I wish I’d worn a jacket. I message the organiser to ask if the festival’s still on. Are macs permissible? What do people do? He assures me it’s going ahead as planned. The music is in a marquee, and most will wear clothes if the weather’s bad. Apparently, “we had worse weather last year.”
In the cab office at St. Mary Cray station (accessible by Oyster card) I wince as I give the address, certain there’ll be sniggers as they click that it’s the naturist resort. Our driver, however, is oblivious, dropping us at a nondescript gate for six quid.
Once in, I trample through a wood with Tom, who’s come along to take photos. I do not want to take my clothes off. After last week’s Liquid Love, I’ve had enough of naked people. “I’m sticking to restaurant reviews,” I tell him, “five star food, central London, fully dressed, looking fabulous.” I don’t know why people want to take their clothes off. At Liquid Love, I was surrounded by ballsacks and felt a flaccid cock on my foot. I do not want naked people near me. I am out of sorts and suffering from genitalia-induced PTSD.
The wood turns into more of a field and I hope we’re heading in the right direction — soon, we spot some naked people. Great. It’s nearly two o’clock, but despite the festival starting at 11am, there are only eight or so people sitting about. Out of place in our clothes (and by a couple of decades), Tom and I are soon collared by the office admin who asks us for ID. Then a man who tells us he’s the PR takes us on a walk around the site. I try to tune into the bit of my brain that’s saying, “this is beautiful!” But then we walk through a field filled with tents, and the bit of my brain that hates camping has a coronary.
Original publication 4 July, 2017
Posted on NatCorn 12th October 2020
Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.