Monday, September 14, 2009

Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe

click photo to enlarge
Ever since I moved from near the bustling Fylde Coast of the north west of England to a village in rural Lincolnshire, my output of early morning, early evening and night-time photographs has declined. It was never high, but it has reduced to the point where I've been feeling that I must do something about it. Consequently, when I found myself in Settle, North Yorkshire, in early September, the time when the fun fair arrives and sets up in the market place for a fortnight, I felt that I might be able to do something to rectify my night-time drought.

So, with the best of intentions I went after dark to photograph the fair attracted by the prospect of capturing the coloured lights, the people enjoying themselves, the garish amusement arcades, etc. However, when I arrived I found I was too late and it had closed down for the night! What to do? Looking round the dark centre of the small town I saw three glowing pools of light on the facade of Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe, and so I seized the moment and made this image. There are only two things that this photograph offers the viewer: the contrast between the small illuminated areas and the surrounding darkness, and that very unusual name! I've known this cafe for almost all my life, and it has always had this name. I was led to believe that it comes from the figure on the datestone of 1663 that can be seen on the lower range of the building to the right of this facade. However, when you look at it carefully - as I did when young - you can imagine that the man is not naked, but is clothed in a pair of shorts that he is holding up to protect his modesty! As a child I was also told that at the dead of night, when his absence would not be noticed, the olde naked man walked up the hill to the nearby village of Langcliffe to a building of a similar age (1660) that features a naked woman! What happened next I'll leave to your imagination.

Had I been thinking about posts for this blog rather than securing night-time images I'd have photographed Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe during daylight, and also snapped a photograph of the naked woman when I was in Langcliffe, the better to illustrate my story. But I didn't! However, here is someone else's shot of the cafe, and here's a sketch of the naked woman (who also looks clothed)!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great name for the cafe and a great story to go with it!

Andrew Milner said...

I went to this cafe many years ago. It has a fine view of the cliffs and hills behind the town square. Only the traffic on the busy road in front of it spoled my cuppa! I wonder if anyone would give a cafe a name such as this today. I don't think so.

Tony Boughen said...

Thanks for the comments Anon and Andrew. The road, Andrew, is less busy than I remember it when I lived there following the construction of a by-pass that lets through traffic avoid the town. You're probably right about the name - there are those who would frown at such an appellation.

Regards,
Tony