I was really excited to watch the Channel Four documentary Life Stripped Bare. At last the practice of minimalism and simple living pared back and aired on television. As regular readers know I don’t own a television, so we settled down for a watch on the tablet, hoping to watch something that really captured the essence of minimalism and simple living.
Cue two minutes later a load of naked young people, running tittilatingly down busy city streets under the guise of learning to live with less.
The concept was a good one. Take all the modern gadgets, and possessions of those who own anything from 800 to almost 3000 objects and lock them in a storage container, and then over 21 days (the length of time many, including me, feel it takes to make/break a habit) they can choose to have one item back each day. Great concept, cue lots of choices and agonising over a phone or a duvet.
But why, oh why, oh why did they have to take all their clothes away? Apart from the fact that the poor buggers must have had some bloody awful nights sleep to start with, seeing each person completely naked totally took away from the point of living with less. There was no need for them to have no clothes. They could have been given an unbranded black t-shirt and trousers, and that would have had no material impact. They could still have made choices about whether a wallet, or a duvet was their key item. They still could have decided whether they wanted their car back, or if their phone was more important. It still would have made a point about being minimalist. Not many minimalists go around without clothes. Note to Channel Four, that’s naturists, a whole different strand of people.
Still there were some good points to the programme. The moment when Heidi from London realises that she would like to experience life in the real world instead of via time and soul stealers such as Instagram, and when one of the chaps decides at the end to part with at least half his stuff because he actually finds he doesn’t need it. You can watch it for yourself here.
It’s great to see minimalism and simple living making it onto mainstream TV. We need to talk about why people are giving up possessions and choosing to live simpler, pared back lives, but can we do it with some clothes on please?