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Dancing Bare is the light-hearted memoir of Rigby, an impossibly innocent young man, swaps the suffocating confines of middle class New Zealand for love and liberation in nineteen-sixties London and Europe. Revelling in the freedom conferred by anonymity, he becomes an actor, stripper, rent boy, lover, teacher and dedicated traveller through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, where travellers were uncommon and countries still retained many of the differences that made travelling so interesting. Rigby meets with a wide variety of people, life styles and customs, eventually settling in Paris where the state did not consider his sexuality to be a criminal offence. A moving and amusing story of hope and love, sex and sexuality, theatrical showmanship and artless innocence, laced with a little philosophical speculation as he wanders the world in pursuit of true love.
Fortunately, like the Spaniard, he was satisfied with something less invasive. I, however, was left unfulfilled when the sound of car tyres on gravel had him on his feet and shoving me out the window hissing that they mustn’t find me there. Before I could discover if ‘they’ were his wife or parents I was standing on a sandy path wondering what to do with a very obstinate erection. At that moment four middle-aged men wearing nothing but sun tans and white sandshoes appeared round a bend in the
shifts and joined in the chase, with much laughter at my pale skin, two-day old beard and hairy chest. There were only a few men of my age because, like Kanu, the others had left to find work, preparing for the flooding of their land and livelihood when the Aswan dam filled. I think the men were pleased to have another body for a few days to help carry posts and hammer them in for a goat enclosure, assist in cleaning out the well and other physical activities that, together with the simple food,
that cost money. Could we go back to my place? He lived with his family in a small flat and… Of course we could, I had Sean’s permission! It was a night to remember. I kept the light on so I could marvel at the wondrous specimen of manhood in my bed. He was a quiet, intense lover, as inexperienced as I, so that made the pleasure even greater – I wasn’t intimidated. It was too perfect. Something had to go wrong. Surely my run of luck since arriving in London wasn’t sustainable? We heard Sean
couldn’t afford to let rumours start and… I let him ramble till he'd run out of worries, nodded seriously, told him I was keener than him to maintain a low profile, was grateful for his honesty, and considered his suggestions very wise. He flashed a perfect-toothed grin, regaining his ‘almost handsome’ status, and we dunked ginger nuts and chatted – Harry waxing lyrical about some of the guys at the gym – tradesmen and labourers who liked kicking a ball around, downing a few pints at the pub,
wouldn’t have been any sensible thief’s target, but to be on the safe side I left it in a locker at the station, taking only a towel and a bit of cash. I was halfway to the exit when a gendarme directed me to a door where I was herded into a room with several other large-nosed, olive-skinned young men, there to be frisked and asked to show my papers. The others produced Cartes d’identité carefully protected in special wallets, and were released. My attempt to explain was quenched by a curt,