Now, World Naked Gardening Day isn't the kind of thing I'm really going to get behind with anything remotely resembling gusto. It's not the being naked part that irks me, it's the gardening.
When one typically putters in the garden, there is usually sunlight involved, and as a dedicated goth, I barely let the Yellow Hurty Thing touch my public bits, let alone my pale penis. So know from the outset that this is all theoretical for me.
That being said, some of you may enjoy nudity and botany in tandem, and every May there is a holiday just for you. World Naked Gardening Day was founded in 2005 by Mark Storey and Daniel Johnson. Sponsored by a popular nudist group, WNGD aims to celebrate weed control, flower planting and hedge-trimming (Ed. Note: Don't even think about it, One F), all while proudly displaying the body God gave you and Ronald McDonald ruined.
According to the Hamilton Spectator, gardening is one of the activities, like swimming, that come fairly easily and naturally nude. I would've gone with reading myself, but hey, I didn't found a holiday, so what do I know?
This week's playlist is dedicated to being naked, though I unfortunately could not find you songs about naked gardening. You'll just have to find something else to do in the buff.
Adam Ant, "Strip": In a just world Stuart Goddard, better known as Adam Ant, would be a Bowie-esque icon with a library of innovative and influential albums behind him as well as a chain of highly profitable used-panty stores (ask about the Jamie Lee Curtis and Heather Graham specials). Unfortunately, severe bipolar disorder and a crippling sex addiction often cause problems for the talented singer and songwriter, and he would disappear from the music scene for years at a time while he combated personal demons.
Luckily, the 57-year-old Goddard has reportedly regained his mental health, and a U.S. tour is expected soon along with new music. Here's hoping, because he was always one of my favorite pop stars. A song like "Strip" off of his 1983 second solo album of the same name shows just how catchy Adam Ant could be. If we're going to talk about being naked, I might as well open with the best song about taking off your clothes I know.
Barenaked Ladies, "King of Bedside Manor": In 1992, the Barenaked Ladies were in the studio laying down their debut album, Gordon. The process was going well, but suddenly one song, "King of Bedside Manor," just wouldn't come. It was decided that the band would try and record the track in the nude, an idea that also included producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda and engineer Jean Diamont doing their thing with their prides swinging in the breeze.
The result is an energetic, frantic track that is a perfect example of the Barenaked Ladies style. The band would repeat the stunt on problem acts in the future, such as "Alcohol" on their 1998 multi-platinum album Stunt. Proof positive that some things are just better done naked.
B-52's, "Theme for a Nude Beach": The first official nude beach in the United States was started in Northern California in 1967, and the institution has been on the rise ever since. For those wanting to give social nudity and swimming a shot, here's a helpful map of places in the United States where you'd be perfectly welcome.
Be sure to bring your iPod to belt out this perfect theme from 1986's Bouncing off the Satellites. The song gives no hint of the sadness that year would bring to the beloved New Age group. Guitarist Ricky Wilson recorded while dying of AIDS, keeping the illness a secret from the band out of a desire not to be a bother.
The remaining members were absolutely devastated, and went into seclusion after finishing the album rather than tour. It would be three years before they would record again.
The Presidents of the United States of America, "Naked and Famous": Deconstructing any POTUS song is an exercise in missing the point. The surrealist group laid down unspeakably wonderful nonsense with a perfection that never seemed to really carry on with the public after their 1995 debut. Recently, they did team with Nintendo on a theme song for Pokémon Black and White, so maybe there's hope for them to bottle their particular brand of bizarre lightning again. Here's the final track from their debut, complete with the assertion that the two things we want to be are well-known and unclothed.
R.E.M., "Gardening at Night": Betcha thought I was going to go with "Night Swimming," but that was just too obvious a choice. Instead, I wanted to offer "Gardening at Night" for its particularly proper place in the playlist.
Exactly what this song is about is open to speculation. Some have linked it to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, while an interview with Michael Stipe in Uncut supposedly reveals that it was inspired by the band stopping to urinate on the side of the road. "Gardening at night" is also a popular phrase amongst illicit marijuana growers.
I, however, believe that the song is about naked gardening done after the rest of the world has gone to bed in order to not offend the neighbors. Mr. Stipe? If you're reading this, I would love to know if I'm right.
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