6.12.08

The Two Wrongies

Watching The Two Wrongies last night - two lovely funny dancers who perform much of their act naked (except for rubber bathing caps) - made me wonder when nudity began to lose its shock value. When I were a lad naked flesh was rare and highly charged - we only had National Geographic, Amateur Photographer and library books detailing expeditions to far off hot places to pour over. I think I remember seeing dancers from Sierra Leone on tv once - with bare breasts! - in black and white! The annual Bury Fair had a Nude Show, that was always closed on the opening night so as not to embarrass the Mayor. For sixpence you got to see a foul-mouthed compere introducing tableaux of perfectly still naked ladies recreating famous paintings. The only book in the school library with the word 'fuck' in it was a well thumbed copy of The Cantos of Ezra Pound. If you did come across a copy of Spic, Span or Health and Efficiency in the playground, the nether regions were always air-brushed out. We had to wait for Paul Raymond's relaunched Men Only in the 70s to see pubic hair for the first time! At college (1965-68) I discovered that foreign films, especially those of Fellini, usually contained some nudity! And my first full frontal was Arthur Lowe's wife (or was it matron) wandering empty school corridors in Lindsay Anderson's If. Then there was a trip to a Soho strip club with the rowing club, where a Wilfrid Bramwell character behind a hatch served up Nescafe from a small tin as we sat in cinema seats to watch ladies, moving this time, remove their clothing. But it was the late-60s and soon there was hippy nudity mostly everywhere. There was Hair and Oh! Calcutta!, though I saw neither, and then we got Page 3 girls - and some of the early ones were quite attractive and artistic, quite unlike the plastic busty teenagers we have nowadays. It is said that John Ruskin, having been brought up with marble statues, was so horrified when he saw Effie Gray's bush on his wedding night, the marriage was never consummated and she ran off with Millais. He'd have been very happy with today's Hollywood waxings. Nowadays, along with easy access internet porn, there are nudist beaches, the World Naked Bike Ride every June, and The Two Wrongies. They were a delight and not a bit embarrassing, down the Basement last night - lithe dancers with a sense of humour, in the Liz Aggiss mould. We saw them on stage, dancing beautifully, and 'backstage' chatting and changing what few clothes they had. Highlight was the 'air sex' competition in which three highly accomplished members of the audience mimed foreplay, the act itself, and cigarette afterwards. Hilarious.
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