Brisbane grunge rock band Violent Soho have been around for quite a few years now pleasing audiences in Australia and the US with their angst-ridden toons like “Jesus Stole My Girlfriend”, “Tinderbox” and “Neighbour, Neighbour”. Citing classic 90’s bands like The Pixies, Nirvana, and Soundgarden as their musical role models, they have developed a steady following with diehard 90’s rock fans as well as the college circuit with airplay on radio stations like Triple J and Brisbane’s community radio station 4ZZZ FM.
Now they are set to become a household name with their new single “In The Aisle” and the forthcoming album it is taken from called “Hungry Ghost” (available in September through I Oh You Records). This album has a recurring theme to it, and that is about examining people who are often treated with scorn by society or who are considered eccentrics in some form. Previously, ethnic people, disabled people, homosexuals and lesbians and bisexuals, witches and Pagans and science-fiction fans were treated like pariahs by society because they would not conform to “mainstream” values. Nudists and naturists are the last bastion of a sub-culture that are still ostracised and shunned out by society.
A bit of insight into my nudist history: I first became interested in nudism when I was 8 years old and saw the BBC documentary “Let’s Go Naked” in January 1979. I thought “Wow, this is an interesting way to live!”, but it wasn’t until 1990 that I actually took the plunge to go to a nude swim party in The Gap called Sunrays which was advertised quite heavily in the local press by a guy called John Carpenter. It took me three visits to it before I was finally at ease with being naked with other people in a confined space. Since 1990, I have visited various nudist camps, clubs, resorts, and retreats like Pacific Sun Friends, BALKAZ, Tony’s Beach Cottage, The Cooroy Colony, Noosa Edge Nudist Retreat, and River Island. I’ve also been to nudist beaches like Alexandria Bay in Noosa Heads, Tyagarah Beach in Byron Bay, Rocky Bay in Magnetic Island, Cobbler’s Beach in Sydney, and Little Digger’s Beach.
At time of writing, I am the Secretary for the Free Beaches Australia lobby group to fight to get nudist beaches legalised in Queensland as it is the only state in Australia that does not have any legalised nudist beaches (or “Unofficial” nude beaches in Nudistspeak language). I am also the organiser for the Brisbane leg of the World Naked Bike Ride, an annual clothing optional rally which protests against over-dependence on fossil fuels and environmental disasters like Global Warming, and promoting naturism and biketivism as valid ways of life and have been doing it since 2007.
In the mid 00’s I joined Brisbane magazine Time-Off’s forum under the moniker “fatpizzaman” (as I am overweight and have worked in pizza restaurants as a kitchenhand and delivery driver for most of my adult life). I started using the forum to talk shit about music, art, religion and politics as well as promote family nudist swim parties for the Brisbane Forum Social Club (now known as South East Community Sun Club). A number of the forum members jumped down my throat including Jean Nicotine from the band The Butcher Birds and vilified me as being a “rapist”, a “paedophile” and a “drug addict” on account of my nudist beliefs. A few phone calls to the magazine to complain about the forum behaviour didn’t help as the bullying just kept on and on. Finally, one poster had said that “nudists are all fat old people with a superiority complex” and I rebutted by posting a link to family nudist video sites like enature.net, russianbare.com, purenudism.com and Charles Macfarland’s site Synetech video. Several posters considered this anathema and falsely accused me of encouraging “child porn” and said that family nudist activities were not appropriate for Australian culture. The admins decided to ban me from the site without even checking out the links to find out that there were NOT child pornography, but only wanted some peace of mind.
I re-joined again briefly under a couple of other monikers like “PG Tips”, “Gentleman Jim”, “Ramoni” and my own name but the admins still banned them after a few posts to keep the idiots happy. Fast forward to 2012, when Luke Henery from Violent Soho messaged me on Facebook asking me to appear as an extra in their single “Neighbour, Neighbour” as he said that he was open minded about artistic nudity and nudism as a way of life and was curious to meet me again (we had actually met very briefly in 2000 when he was still a teen at a mutual musician friend’s flat when I was managing garage rockers The Busymen and he was friends with the bass player Richard Buchanan’s brother Ben). I agreed to feature where I jumped into a pool wearing a g-string and then whipped it off and chucked it at the camerawoman. It was fun, but the video was a very rushed affair and the scene unfortunately didn’t make it in. A few months later, he messaged me again this time saying that the band and their director Tristan Houghton wanted to make a video for their new single “In The Aisle” and they wanted to feature me riding a bike nude around various parts of Brisbane. I agreed to take part since the band are all really nice guys and also come from a similar background to me having been brought up as devout Christians and becoming disillusioned with organised Christianity and the superficiality of the people in the church they first met at, which is what inspired them to write “Jesus Stole My Girlfriend”.
The bass player Luke Henery picked me up from my place on June 25th at about 5.30am in the morning to take me up to Redcliffe where the first scene was being filmed. They got me to pose outside a suburban house with a bike and putting some dummy World Naked Bike Ride posters in the basket and then rode around the streets to the main Esplanade whereby I handed them out to members of the general public in the cafes and on the street. Everyone thought it was a real hoot, but the police eventually called the band and the crew together to ask us to move on due to some “complaints” (probably fabricated ones) but once we told them what it was in aid of they mellowed out and said “Well, that’s good as we were nearly going to refer the guy on the bike to Caboolture mental health institute!” in a jesting tone. We then went to John Patterson and Patience Hodgson from The Grates’ cafe Southside Tea Rooms in Morningside for morning tea, which is where the original lyrical inspiration for the song comes from about some weird guy who haunts there and brings his own teabags and asks them to make his own tea from him rather than ordering their own teas.
Next stop was Paddington where Tristan wanted some shots of me riding down a hill with the Brisbane skyline in the background. This was probably the most difficult scene to film because it took about 12 takes before he was satisfied with it and the road was very hilly and I was scared shitless I would have an accident from riding too fast and having to break suddenly at his order. Third stop was Fortitude Valley in James Street where we did another poster drop at the cafes and chatting to local passer-bys. It was here that I encountered the only negative reaction. Whilst walking up to a couple of yuppie businessmen in suits at a cafe, they saw me, gave me a dirty look and got up and stormed out. Everyone else was cool and some wanted to get a photo taken with me.
Fourth port of call was King George Square right in the middle of the City. This was the most fun scene whereby I put up a poster on a statue and all the Asian tourists were laughing and filming the scene with their iPhones and iPads. Last scene was the Kangaroo Point cliffs whereby I rode down the bike path and sat on a wall enjoying the afternoon scene. We got one dude who was most likely drug-fucked starting to complain saying something like “You shouldn’t be exposing kids to this kinda shit guys, it’s totally inappropriate. You’re a load of loser skateheads anyway, so what the fuck would you care?” There were kids having a bbq with their dad nearby and none of them were in the least bit perturbed that I was riding a bike in the buff. If only Hetty Johnson from Bravehearts could have seen us, she’d have had a heart attack and died (and I wish that fucking bitch will just FOAD anyway, she’s an idiot!)!
In all, this was the best fun that I’ve had this year and probably since 2001 when I met two of my musical idols Sparks at the Corner Hotel. Appearing naked in the video was a form of self-empowerment and also revelation to the fact that the general public in Brisbane are not offended by non-sexual public nudity even if they may not choose to take part in it themselves. I’ve also become disliked by several people in the local nudist movement for my values of honesty, openness and accountability as to what goes on instead of sweeping the dirt under the carpet.
To me, nudism and naturism is about “nothing to hide” and being a completely open book. By contrast, the GBLT scene has made more progress than the nudist scene because in the past the activists went out of their way to risk their jobs, and their relationships with their families and friends to stand up for what they believe in. Most nudists don’t – at least not in Australia. I’m one of the few who has never turned down an opportunity to talk to the media or promote nudism in a creative manner.
Since 2001 I have been struggling to get a band promoting naturism/nudism together called Laissez-Fayre which is going to me more female orientated. I was even kicked off the Star Now website for casting for members for this band with the deadshit admins saying “It’s okay to look for models and actors to perform nude, but not musicians. That’s just not on!” Oh yeah – so what about musicians like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Danielle Dax, Amanda Palmer, and The Flaming Lips then? Fuck off, Star Now!
Basically, I did not do this video to impress the chicks or to entertain young kids. I did not do it to agitate the police. I did it as a form of revenge. Revenge against the bullies and bitches who have given me grief on the Time Off message board. Revenge against the brain-dead fundamentalist “Christian” losers at the Pentecostal churches and the Catholic churches who call social and public nudity a “sin”, “indecent” and a “bait for fornication”. Revenge against nudists who have ostracised me from their online groups and bitched about me behind my back for no good reason other than holding them to accountability and a higher standard of living. And finally, revenge against anyone in the main who calls God’s greatest creation “lewd”, “disgusting”, “ugly”, “sinful”, “embarrassing” and “shameful”. You can burn in hell for blasphemy for all I fucking well care. You make me sick!
Thanks to Violent Soho and Tristan for giving me the break with promoting public nudity at a time when I think I need to do it the most. At the start of the year, I decided to myself that this year was going to be the year that things all come together for me finally since 1991. This is a new frontier and precedent for Brisbane. Now that we know most people aren’t offended by nudity in a non-sexual context, the next step is to create a critical mass so that more people can get in on the act.
My vision for Brisbane is that it will eventually be the next Cap d’Agde. It’s got the ideal weather for it, and would no doubt cause a huge influx of tourists from the UK and Europe. Let’s start lobbying the politicians for the right to public nudity NOW. The ball is in our courts! 🙂