A birthday vlog

A couple of weeks ago, I had another birthday. It was my 43rd. The day itself was a pretty standard work day but one of my colleagues bought me a beautiful bottle or Rosé wine and another baked me some chocolate cupcakes that were delicious! The night was a lot of fun. I had a boozy pub meal with about 10 close friends and lots and lots of laughs. It was one of those nights that make me realise how lucky I am to have such good friends.

So of course I decided to do a vlog about my birthday. Some of it was a bit drunk at the end of the night. Oops.

#Foodporn is coming

As I mentioned the other day, Joel Devereux has announced the dates and venue for his #Foodporn series. This was a series that I was going to be photographed for but, kinda thankfully, it didn’t happen. I would have really enjoyed being a part of the series but I don’t think my body would have stood up next to the bodies of the other guys that I’ve seen.

Starting on 25 January next year at the Brisbane Powerhouse, #Foodporn is a bit of a send up of people on instagram taking photos of their food and tagging it #foodporn. The press release states “#FOODP*RN satisfies an aesthetic, sensual hunger and encourages cravings of every imaginable kind. Drawing on the historical role of food as both universal and aphrodisiac, these works combine a playful critique of our recent obsession with food trends and celebrity chefs with a celebration of the male form that will leave you drooling.” I have to say I’d probably agree if the images above are any indication.

At the same time the exhibition is launched, so too is the book. As yet, there are no details on where the book will be available to purchase but I know I’ll be buying one.

While Joe’s work is always beautiful, he has a few different moods that he works in. Sometimes his work is dark and brooding with a sinister edge. At other times he focuses on the glittery world of burlesque performers and all their feathery goodness. For Foodporn Joel has gone very tongue in cheek, camp but masculine at the same time and it works really well. Who is ever going to argue with the beautiful round booty of bodybuilders and hot twinks covered in food? Not me.

From the other side

This post has a danger of sounding like it’s being written by a born again Christian or a reformed smoker. I promise the tone is not meant to be judgemental but of empathy and fascination.

A month or so ago, someone that had once told me that he could smell the desperation for a husband coming off me, looked at me and said “Something’s changed, you seem really relaxed.” While the previous judgement from him hadn’t been welcome, the new appraisal certainly was. He was right. While I don’t think I reeked of desperation, I certainly have been very guilty over the years of looking at nearly every man I met and wondering if they could be a potential romantic partner.

In my new found mood of contentment with my singledom, even though some sex and cuddles would be awesome, it’s offering a look from the other side at people who are in my old state of mind. There are a couple of people I know on social media who are fairly guilty of posting some woe-is-me, “why doesn’t anyone love me?” posts. I can’t offer any advice though because nothing in particular happened for me to get from there to where I am now. Perhaps I just got lost in a life that I’m enjoying a lot and forgot to dwell on it?

Everyone has always said that I’ll meet someone when I’m not looking. Well I’m not looking now and Prince Charming hasn’t suddenly appeared and that’s just fine. It would be nice to see the guys still stuck in the sadness of being single look up and revel in the freedom that it allows as well.

Now, where do I audition a fuck buddy who likes cuddles?

I wonder

Friend and fellow photographer Joel Devereux has just announced the dates and venue for his glorious #FOODPORN exhibition. At one stage I was going to be photographed for it but in the end that photo shoot didn’t happen, probably for the benefit of the ultimate exhibition.

The announcement of his exhibition got me thinking about if and when I will have another gallery exhibition. Given that I had a gallery exhibition in February 2011, another in February 2013 and an online exhibition in February 2015, if I stuck to the same timeline I should be finalising a series for February next year. That isn’t going to happen. While I’ve been playing with a few themes I’m far from ready to embark on another full exhibition and definitely not a gallery show.

With a car that needs replacing sometime in the not too distant future and a European odyssey planned and booked for mid next year, the $4,000+ that it costs to put on, a gallery show is unlikely any time soon. It would give me a more focused direction to work towards once I decided on the theme but at the moment I’m just enjoying the different shoots that I’m doing and can take a shoot by shoot approach. That way I don’t feel locked in to one idea.

Holding out hope

This weekend I have some plans to head down to the Royal National Park to the nude beach down there with a new friend to do a photo shoot. We will probably do the hike down nude as well which is always fun. The idea of a nude hike is something I’ve always liked but never had the guts to do but the long track down to this particular beach has a sign right near the top that says it’s a nude beach so my mates and I figure everyone past that sign knows what they are in for. Granted, I don’t hike back up nude very often because the steep trail makes me look like I’m having a heart attack which can be a bit confronting to others, especially on a 40-something nude man.

Of course in my mind the day will look just like this gif of the Warwick Rowers. All fun, great bodies and relaxed fun nudity. The reality is almost certainly quite different. The crowd there doesn’t typically resemble a bunch of 20 year old fit guys frolicking nude sadly.

Unfortunately the weather on Saturday doesn’t look very promising for a photo shoot, nor a day in the sun as there won’t be any sun. Rain is predicted and while a walk nude in the rain would be a fun thing to do that area is full of leeches and I refuse to have a leech on my dick just to go for a walk nude.

Not quite comfortable

Today I went back to the nude beach, two weeks after my first visit of the season. Generally I treat that beach as my happy place and even when I run into someone I haven’t been nude with I feel quite relaxed and comfortable. I’ve been going there for years and I love it.

A few years ago, as it’s not a legally recognised nude beach, there were some raids and warnings and as a result it’s attracted a less nude crowd since then. Even now that the authorities have stopped raiding the beach and stopped putting signs up saying that clothing must be worn the crowd is still less of a nude crowd than it used to be.

Today was one of the days that the weather and the tide were perfect. The beach was getting bigger as the day went on and the tide went out but the beach got very full very quickly and by midday we nudies were in the minority. 50/50 is pretty much my tipping point. I’m not a militant nudist that will protest my right to walk around wang out and if I’m in the minority, I’m not comfortable. So despite the day being beautiful, I was uneasy and packed my things, pulled my shorts on and left.

Next weekend at this stage I’m aiming to go down to the national park nude beach to have a day down there with a friend. That beach is always 95%+ nude and I’ve never seen it even remotely busy. Fingers crossed for a great day.


There was one thing that was making me worry about 2016. There have been many events this year that have made me worry, Trump in general, climate change, the loss of many entertainment legends and a bunch of other things but my one concern was that we weren’t going to get any decent new Kylie music this year. Sure. It’s very much a first world problem but it’s a real one in my world.

Sure, Kylie provided the cover of the Absolutely Fabulous theme song for the movie but it was a ho hum rehash of a ho hum song that Kylie couldn’t have done anything with. So yesterday when I found out that Kylie has covered the Bee Gees “Night Fever” for a live adaptation of Saturday Night Fever, the movie starring John Travolta. Kylie and disco is a match made in heaven and while this song sounds a little lo-fi it’s made me smile a lot.

Thankfully now my annual playlist isn’t going to be devoid of a Kylie song for the first time since I started. Now… where are the remixes?

A bit hit and miss

You might have noticed that there hasn’t been a Fitness Challenge update posted this month. Unfortunately the challenge has been abandoned for this round. Damien had withdrawn and Derek couldn’t really train because of a hernia and my work has been so flat out the last few weeks that my training has been very hit and miss.

It’s really hard to get out of bed at 5.40 in the morning when you’ve been at work for 14 hours the day before. I’m so impressed by people that have the dedication to train hard no matter how long their days. My sorry arse did get out of bed today, even after a long day yesterday and go to the gym to do a short but effective leg workout. There might be one more long day today and then Friday shouldn’t be too bad. I will be enjoying a dinner and drinks with some friends on Friday night, that’s for sure.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at some guys that clearly have some dedication to working out.

AAG Promotional Video from Michael A. Downs on Vimeo.

I’m all in

When I photographed the #barenakedtruth project for My People My Tribe, it was all or nothing for me. So not only was I lucky enough to try and capture everyone’s beauty and their story in photos, I submitted my own story and had my photo taken as well.

Like a lot of people that took part I really struggled with what to write and I re-wrote it a few times. Knowing that we only have about a week left of images and stories to be shared the time when my image and story went up was getting inevitably closer until today, when it was shared by Josh, the brains and driving force behind the series. To be honest I was really nervous about it going up. Firstly because when I had those photos taken I was feeling about as unattractive as I have ever felt and secondly because I was worried that people would think my story was drama-queen bullshit looking for compliments. It’s not.

My story is honest and it’s what I’m trying to work through. Since the day of the shoot and writing my story, I have also come to the realisation that I’m quite content being single. That’s not to say I don’t still have lonely days but they are less.
So. Above is the image that went live today and below, is my story as shared by My People My Tribe. It feels a little raw and confronting but very special to have been a part of this beautiful project.
“I’ve never been a wildly confident guy but I have had a life filled with a fair bit of fun and adventure so far. There have been short-term relationships and sexual encounters. Picking up some emotional baggage along the way from failed romances, dating people I should have stayed clear of and a gay world telling me I’m unrealistic and even stupid for wanting monogamy, my confidence is about as low as it’s ever been. Now in my forties the feelings of never being “enough” combined with not being happy with a body that I’ve taken for granted all these years leaves me wondering if I’ll ever find someone to love or if I’ll even know how to be a decent partner if I do.”

A long hot summer

We had a discussion today about global warming and how there are ridiculously educated people who for some reason still don’t believe that man-made climate change is real. Well it’s early October and today it was 31 degrees celsius (88F) which is very unusual for this time of year.

While I genuinely worry for the future of the planet that we are living on, the idea of a long hot summer spent naked on beaches does appeal. I can’t work out if it’s a silver lining or if the lining is melting off but I’ll look on the bright side.

Something that I haven’t done for a few years now is go for cheeky night time skinny dips at appropriate, carefully selected places around Sydney. There was a bunch of us that used to get together for a cheeky dip and sit around in the dark having a chat. At one point I’d even started a Facebook group but as new members got wind, a few people took the group in a direction that I wasn’t fussed about so I handed over administration and walked away. None of my friends have been keeping up with it either.

Maybe it’s time to reinstate the group but just keep it with friends and the appropriate guest. It was a great way to unwind after a long day at work on a beautiful night.

Stonemen Skinny Dip from stonemen on Vimeo.

Inked up and hot

I only have one small tattoo on my lower back. A tramp stamp if you will. I’ve toyed with getting it removed but to be honest I don’t see the point at the moment as I don’t see it so I almost forget it’s there and while I don’t regret it, I probably wouldn’t get it done again if I had my time over. Thankfully it’s not offensive or horrible unlike a lot of the tattoos people get when they are drunk on holidays or just plain old make a bad decision.

The UK tv series Tattoo Fixers, aims to right some of these inking wrongs. The show has come under fire from some in the tattoo industry but I think that is pretty standard for any industry represented in the reality tv world. I’m not here to comment on the quality of the show itself, rather the hotness of two of the cast. While a lot of tattoos are not my thing we are so used to seeing them on everyone now that it doesn’t turn me off the way it used to.

Jay Hutton is a gorgeous guy with a big smile framed by lips that I want to kiss a lot. It’s a disarming smile and his eyes are big, blue and beautiful. Apparently whoever does their promo photos knows that but goes way too hard on photo shopping them.

Sketch is a tall, lanky guy that has something very sexy about him. He’s not at all my usual type with tattoos up his neck and everywhere as well as facial piercings but I think, after seeing all of about 20 minutes of the show that he is pretty down to earth and chilled. Like Jay he’s a straight guy but on the show, he seems to be the one that gets called in to do cover ups on tattoos that guys have on their cocks. Jay won’t go near them but Sketch doesn’t care.

Who the fuck gets a tattoo on his cock?

Shooting Philippe!

Several weeks ago I was put in touch with a Ukrainian model who was in town and looking to do some shoots while he was in town. That was all accelerated last week when he decided that while he sorts out a more suitable visa for Australia, that he’ll be leaving town for several months. He chased me up and asked if we could squeeze in a shoot before he leaves so we just decided to get it done on Sunday morning.

Philippe had really liked some of the shots I’d done of guys out in nature with the textures of rocks etc played off against skin. So off we went down to the nude beach and I’m very glad we did. Philippe’s skin tones against the beautiful sandstone rocks down there in the soft light work really, really well. There are many many photos that could be used as evidence against putting oil on a model’s skin. Some models look like they’ve been drowned in oil and prepared to be roasted. When you just put a little bit of oil on skin like Philippe’s it brings out the smooth texture and the definition. I can’t work out if I prefer black and white or colour, so here are some options of both

It was just a shame I didn’t get to film this shoot to post as a behind the scenes video. You guys would have enjoyed it.

This conversation is done

Yesterday Tinder popped up with a match for me with a guy a few kilometres away. We started having a fairly polite and innocent conversation. He asked what I’d been up to over the long weekend so along with some other things I’d done, I told him about spending a lovely day naked on a yacht with friends.

The reply I got to that was “sounds very wholesome” with a clear sarcasm which is rare in the written word.

I told him that it was all purely innocent and we had just been sitting around having some drinks and enjoying the weather. To which he replied “If you say so.” It was at that point that I decided to let that conversation go. We all know that I’ve had some fun at nude beaches from time to time but I’ve also had many many very innocent days in the sun nude with friends. I’ve had nude dinners and drinks with friends that have been completely non-sexual. If someone can’t separate nudity and sexy then that’s fine but it’s pretty clear that we aren’t really a match and there’s no point pursuing anything.

My last boyfriend who I still get on well with, couldn’t separate nudity and sex and the thought of social nudity just threw him into a mental spin and it was a contributing factor in the failure of our relationship.

Nudity can equal sex, but nude doesn’t have to equal sex. It can actually be perfectly innocent.

First beach day of the season

It’s a long weekend here in Sydney this weekend. Unlike the U.S. we also have a Labor Day but different states celebrate it at different times of the year for some strange reason. So it’s a Monday morning here and I’m sitting at home enjoying another day of the weekend which is good because the four days in the office this week are going to be brutal, long days.

Yesterday was a glorious day and all week I’d been watching the weather predictions and looking forward to getting my gear off down at the beach. So what did I do? I made a vlog about it. I’m still learning about this vlogging business and making videos in general but I’m really enjoying it. Talking to the camera while lying naked on the beach was a bit weird and I felt self conscious even though there weren’t many people around. I guess that’s something I just have to get used to.

It was such a nice day down at La Perouse and as you’ll see in the video, I ended up on a yacht with some friends which was a very pleasant way to spend the day indeed. If only I were rich.

Dream destination?

A long time reader of this blog and internet friend posted a photo last week on Instagram that caught my eye. Jaime is very popular on Instagram because he’s a prolific poster of nude selfies and as you can see he has a rocking body. He lives in Spain and has gone on vacation for the last four years in a row, to a little part of Spain called Vera.

Jaime describes it as having been started as a bit of a nudist haven in the 70’s with little areas of urbanization springing up that aren’t really resorts but pockets of accommodation etc. Some of these “urbanizations” as he calls them are exclusively nude and others are clothing optional but in the whole area you can walk around nude as much as you like. Jaime tells me he didn’t wear anything more than a t-shirt for a full week. That sounds like heaven.

I’ve never managed more than about 2 full days with nothing on. The idea of being in a nude town and being able to shop and eat nude sounds beautiful to me. I know France has the famous Cap D’Adge but that sounds more like a swingers club from what I’ve heard these days than just a beautiful place to be nude.

Jaime wanted his frontal photos covered and supplied it like that so don’t ask me why he is too shy. It’s his choice.