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Open letter to Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I realise that you are the Goliath to my David and my chances of making any impact are miniscule but I have something to say. Facebook has changed the way the world interacts, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. You’ve created a way for far flung friends to stay in touch but you’ve created ways for idiots to spread their propaganda.

Your community guidelines are troubling me. Myself and several of my friends have received bans from Facebook for varying amounts of time for showing slightly too much skin. The photo that goes with this post, a photo of a beautiful man that I photographed myself, showing a discreet naked bum, was removed from the site and others, similarly tasteful and discreet nudes have earned me a ban for three days in the past. Breastfeeding women have felt your judgement and unnecessary sexualisation. Nudity warnings are aplenty and regularly held up.

Yesterday I reported a video of a man, trying to prove to the world and likely himself that he is indeed a tough masculine man, by biting the head off a live rat and eating it. The camera was sure to show the head in his mouth to prove his immeasurable awesomeness. Sadly, Facebook deemed that this video showing explicit animal cruelty and almost certainly an illegal act, was not in breach of the community guidelines.

If your community guidelines teach us that the nude body presented tastefully and artistically is more offensive than animal cruelty and violence then I’m not sure it’s a community that is destined for greatness or even good. The human body should be celebrated. Stupidity and violence should be censored.

Interesting times

Mid last year I was asked if I wanted to take on the role of Studio Manager at work, gradually adding that to my current role of Senior Artworker. Of course I said yes. There are some good skills to add to repertoire in that role. I’ve posted before about one of my colleagues who over the past couple of years hadn’t been doing the best work in his job. Yesterday he was made redundant. It had been a long time coming. He’d been in the role for far too long and had resisted all progress and change but was also on a salary way more than the role deserved so from a business perspective, it was time. Emotionally for my boss it was tough. The guy that was let go had been there for 18 years and needs the salary he’s on.

For me, this means I’ll be taking on even more responsibility and learning even more skills and it opens up the opportunity for me to move out of artworking and into managerial positions or account management. I had hit about the top of my earning potential in the kind of role I was in so financially it has much better opportunities as well. It will be a bit of a steep learning curve for a while but already the energy in the office has changed and it feels like the company might start making some headway.

Good to see

Tonight was the first night back at circus school for 2016. At the start of the year and even through the year at the start of various terms you see new faces. A lot of people come for a while and then drift off. There are a few people that really take to it all and come back for years. Not everyone progresses. Tonight there were a handful of new faces in the crowd including one guy that didn’t look like he’d done a lot of exercise in his life. That’s the beauty of circus. A lot of people find running or the gym really tedious or intimidating but circus class you get to dangle from the roof and challenge yourself in ways that are way more fun than lifting things up and down.

For a while now the warm up has been cheesy dance music and all of us doing quite uncoordinated aerobics. I can keep to the beat but I get tangled up doing the moves very easily. The new guy had no rhythm whatsoever and was all over the place but he had a massive grin on his face. He also had some really cool tights.

Sometimes you see people like him go from having a bit of a belly to toning up and really improving their fitness. Even if that doesn’t happen it’s great fun to see people discovering the joys (and pain) of circus.

Would we be better off?

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered a series on Netflix called Departures. It’s a travel show about two young Canadian mates that took a year off to travel the world. They both got the bug to travel the world and experience the different cultures and ways of life that exist in various corners of the globe. It’s a really enjoyable series and it’s certainly giving me the urge to strap on my backpack and head off. I’m not in a position to do that but I can dream. Dreaming is free and it’s great to have something to look forward to.

One of the big things that I’ve got from watching the series is that it seems that some of the poorest people are the happiest. The boys have visited Cambodia, Africa, Jordan, India, The Amazon and even Mongolia and the people living very simple lives, surviving off the land with no modern amenities all have huge smiles on their faces and are happy to share their food and drink with the guys.

The burning man culture of giving up commodities and material possessions feels like a reaction of people in the modern world to that chase for the dollar. So maybe the modern struggle for wealth is a learned condition but making the most of what you have and appreciating the people around you is a healthier way to live. I once heard of a guy whose criteria for dating a guy was that they had to have a better car than him and he owned a BMW. I think we can learn from the Mongolian Reindeer herding tribes. Make some moonshine, have a warm tent and delicious food and smile a lot.

Well that’s hot!

Domenico Vaccaro has recently won Belgium’s Got Talent with this beautiful pole dance routine. This routine may not be the most technical pole dance routine I’ve seen but even though it may be relatively simple the moves that he does require a ridiculous amount of control and strength and it’s very effective.

A hot, beautifully built 22 year old doing amazing things with his body while wearing only some tighty whities is a recipe for internet success and this video has been very popular. I might have to go back and watch his other routines in the competition. Maybe he was wearing even less? I can dream.

Sizing up…

This weekend I had a fantastic weekend camping for two nights with some friends. One was a mate that I hang out with naked a lot and have fooled around with from time to time. Another was a guy that I had met hooking up several years ago now. Let’s call him Mr X. We haven’t had any sexual interaction in years but have remained friends and have been to the nude beach etc several times. The fourth and final member of our group was the Mr X’s boyfriend of a couple of years. They are very happy together and from an outsiders perspective it is great to see someone treating Mr X with love, loyalty and like an equal. He’s been involved with some guys that have treated him like shit over the years.

Mr X and his boyfriend Mr Y are both rather well endowed young men. I’d not seen Mr Y nude before. I’m not sure where he sits on the scale from grower to shower but let’s just say he doesn’t need to grow a lot.

Most of the clientele at River Island are in the middle aged and up category. Most of them fitting the clich├ęd nudist image of overweight but very happy and comfortable crowd. A lot of the guys would be hard pressed to remember the last time they saw their own genitals without the use of a mirror. Some of them had smaller than average cocks but didn’t let that stop them enjoying their nakedness. Exactly as it should be.

The fascinating thing I noticed about myself was that, being possibly the “smallest” of our group I was comparing myself to Mr X and Mr Y and my other mate and feeling a touch self conscious when in reality there were a lot more guys who were smaller than me who I didn’t compare myself to. Why do we compare ourselves to the minority at the top of the tree rather than realising we are just fine in the overall scheme of things?

Goodbye to a pioneer

David Bowie’s unexpected passing this weekend has unleashed a wave of sadness reminiscent of Robin Williams’ a year ago. It’s rare that a celebrity death gets such a uniform outpouring of grief. I haven’t seen one joke or bad taste comment. Everyone loved Bowie and a lot of that, apart from the music, was for his complete dedication to being a true artist. He reinvented himself constantly and pushed gender boundaries and blurred sexuality norms throughout his life. David had been married to supermodel Iman for 23 years but in his early days was famously, if unofficially bisexual. There are stories that he was once caught in bed with Mick Jagger.

What I find fascinating about everyone’s reaction to his death is that even the very straight, very masculine guys who listen to Rock and Roll all seem to really like him too. His most flamboyant era was in the glam rock era when everyone was doing it to an extent but he did it better than most. He is up there with Grace Jones for being the pioneer of bonkers that has paved the way for people like Lady Gaga.

Releasing what was allegedly always planned as his farewell album, Blackstar two days before his death, he has left an incredible legacy.


Sometimes it’s really fun to have your perception of someone shaken up. There is a guy that works somewhere near me that did that today. We have seen each other often enough when out getting lunches to say hi. He seems like a really nice guy and I had him pegged as that guy that would make someone a great, loyal boyfriend. He’s not wildly attractive but certainly not unattractive. His style is quite conservative and he gives me the impression that he wouldn’t ever hurt you but he’d never really excite you either. Of course, this is all from just seeing him in the street but I’m far from the only person that makes assumptions about people or makes up an imaginary back story for who that person is and what they do. He always throws in a wink with a smile which is part of the reason that I assume he’s gay.

This morning that went out the window. Before work every day I grab a coffee at the cafe across the road and he was there finishing breakfast with a woman, sitting outside. As they stood up, she gave him a sexy pat on the butt as they walked away. Now I have lots of female friends that I eat out with but it’d be very rare to catch up with a friend for a breakfast before work and none of my female friends give me a sexy butt pat unless we are out and tipsy.

Thank you sir for shaking up my perceptions. It keeps me on my toes.

Feeling defensive

So apparently last night’s post, while intended to be a sarcastic post, missed the mark. I’ve had a few comments basically telling me I’m a bit of an arsehole. In no way was last night’s post intended to “take a hot steaming dump on someone else’s happiness”. I fully realise that gay men are not all stylish and amazing. I’m in the very large proportion of gay men that are normal, average guys. When I blog sometimes I clearly don’t get the tone right. It’s responses like the ones I had to last night’s post that make me wonder if my time blogging may be at an end.

To the commenter that said your partner proposed on a bench where you met with an ice-cream, that sounds bloody marvellous to me. That’s why I don’t get the flash mob, big production proposal. For me it should be about the two of you and very personal and meaningful. I’ve seen some great videos online of surprise proposals, some of them in front of huge crowds but the situation and moment was all tied to the two people involved, not done for youtube likes and views.

The guy being proposed to in last night’s video clearly loved the moment and I’m sorry if people thought that I was demeaning their moment. That wasn’t the plan. I’m a chronically single man who would love someone special to want to spend their life with me. Who the hell am I to turn any proposal down? The post last night was intended to be light hearted. Clearly that didn’t come across.

Just say no!

There is a video going around today about yet another flash mob gay marriage proposal. I thought gay men were supposed to be leaders in all things cool, stylish and socially relevant? Flash mobs were cool and some of them really clever but that stopped being the case about 4-5 years ago yet we are still seeing people being flash-mob-proposed-to in the early part of 2016. When did we lose our stylish-gay way? This video (below) along with a bunch of others confirms my thoughts that Bruno Mars has a lot to answer to for his song “Marry You” because it has been DONE TO DEATH.

I’m a bit concerned that all these people are more interested in having a viral video than a special romantic moment between them and their partner. I realise that beggars can’t be choosers and if I’m ever lucky enough to have someone proposing to me then I should say yes. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. If I am ever out in public and a bunch of strangers start dancing at me, especially if I hear that damned Bruno Mars song, then my partner will get a sharp slap and a firm no. I’m a sucker for romance but a firm believer in the proposal reflecting both parties involved and being a private affair. So if someone flash-mob-proposes then they don’t know me very well.

We are going camping!

This is about the fourth attempt at going camping already this summer but for various reasons it has been postponed each time. The weather this week has been miserably wet but today the blue skies are out and it’s predicted to improve over the next couple of days so tomorrow my mate and I are meeting a couple of other mates and going camping back up at River Island. For the other two it will be the first time they’ve camped nude at River Island. It was a random conversation with one of them yesterday that sparked the idea of them joining us. They’d been looking for somewhere to go camping and I said we were going nude camping. They are both comfortable nude so it will be great to have them along.

Getting out of this rain soaked city will be great too after days of going crazy stuck indoors. Within a few hours of leaving Sydney tomorrow afternoon we will be naked in the bush and relaxing very enthusiastically.

The photos above are me from a trip to River Island about five years ago. I thought I was out of shape then. It’s only gotten worse!

Creatively stagnant

There are a bunch of photography concepts floating around in my head but after a couple of mediocre (at best) photo shoots in the past month or two I’m struggling for confidence and creativity.

The weather we are having this week in Sydney is not helping my mood and I think part of it is me just having a sulk but I want to create beautiful images and I’m not feeling a strong pull towards any one idea or direction at the moment. Once we go back to work I will have access to the office studio from time to time and I’m sure this weather will clear up eventually so that I can get outside and photograph a beautiful man or two out in nature.

Something else has been bothering me. Looking at some of the photography going around on various blogs that focus on male figure and fashion photography, there is a lot of beautiful creative imagery that is unrecognised while uncreative and technically lacking photography is celebrated merely because of the hot guy in it or because there is full frontal nudity. My mother keeps telling me when I mention that I don’t really sell many prints at all that it’s a niche market and maybe I should try landscapes. Maybe she’s right. The photographs I take of men aren’t for the walls of most houses.

The trouble is, I’m not great at landscapes and I’d rather just satisfy myself creatively with the odd fail rather than create imagery that doesn’t satisfy me just for the sales.

Freedom Trailer from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

Spot on!

Someone has created this fantastic video that, in the mood of a David Attenborough video, describes the slightly surreal world of the modern Gym. It’s so accurate and entertaining. There is one thing missing though. They forgot to include the gay men perving at the hot men, both gay and straight. Worth a watch just for a giggle. If you go to the gym I think you’ll agree that it’s spot on.

Cabin fever!

Lots of people went back to work this week and I almost wish I had too. This week for me was going to be a week of bumming around naked in the sunshine and possibly doing a photo shoot or at least scouting for a location or two. This weekend my mate and I were having another attempt at going camping but once again that isn’t looking likely because Sydney’s weather is a big fat ball of rain. The last couple of days I’ve watched a lot of Netflix and a few other bits and pieces. Cabin fever is setting in.

I just took myself out of the house to go and get a couple of things that I needed/wanted but after getting them it was a quick retreat home because it’s so miserable outside. I guess it’s a great opportunity to get some other bits and pieces done but as soon as you can’t go out that’s all you want to do. I’m still holding out hope for this weekend. Fingers crossed, pants off!

Is it really necessary?

This post may piss people off and I’m going to be very careful how I word it because there are friends of mine who do what I’m about to blog about.

Social media is a strange and dangerous beast. Feed it too much and it grows too big and all consuming. Place too much importance on it and it will rule your life. Today is the first anniversary of the death of my housemate’s father. He’s having a bit of a blue day and of course Facebook with it’s new memory sharing thing, popped up with a poem that he’d posted the day his dad died. It’s an emotional time. Maybe my cynical side kicks in too much but grand posts to loved ones that have been lost, on social media don’t feel appropriate to me. Now everyone’s way of grieving is different and maybe it’s just their way of coping but whenever I see someone sending a message to someone they’ve lost about how much they miss them I think to myself “They aren’t on facebook. They can’t see this.” If I believe in any kind of spirituality I vaguely believe that maybe they’d be watching over you and know how much you miss them anyway. Social media isn’t the place for it.

It’s also the same with grand declarations of love. This morning I saw a photo posted by a guy I’m friends with on Facebook smooching his boyfriend with a big mushy statement and “Love you forever.” I can understand wanting to shout your love from the rooftops. I’m a romantic but under the star of cynicism. There are people I know who post these grand declarations of love every time they meet someone new. Every three weeks or so. Every time they change their status to single there is the prerequisite “babes, are you ok?” from people that barely know them. Only to be replaced in a week or two by “I’m so happy for you” when they post the next “In a Relationship” update.

Maybe I’m really just too jaded but I prefer to keep my thoughts about my departed grandparents to myself or to a nostalgic conversation with my family. I also know that with my track record, bragging about being in a relationship is a bit naive. Maybe it’s just me.