Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stags, Hens, and Bunnies- A Blackpool Story

A year ago, I spent three weeks traveling through England, Scotland, and Wales. I spent a Saturday night in Nottingham and was amazed at what I was told is a very common ritual. "Hen-dos" and "Stag-dos" take the experience of the pre-wedding party to an extreme that American brides and grooms would be surprised by. Besides the requisite heavy drinking and generally outrageous behavior, Brits like to dress in themes, carry sex dolls and sex toys, and make very public spectacles of themselves.

London based photographer Dougie Wallace has spent what I assume is considerable time documenting this tradition. His pictures are raw, vivid, and occasionally a little obscene. And really, really good.

They've been published as a book, available from the UK here. It should be avaialbe here in the States in a couple of months. Here's an excerpt from what's written on the web site:

"Blackpool,  a Northern English town once the granddaddy of the seaside resorts.  Enjoying renewed popularity as one of the UK’s major hen/stag destinations.

Blackpool… A dirty great whorl of debauchery, licentiousness, laughter, vomit, furry handcuffs, fancy dress and drunken oblivion. Turned every weekend into the heart of social darkness. Marauding packs of brides and grooms, close friends and family, on a mission to consume dangerous, liver-crushing levels of alcohol. This, their rite of passage acted out on the last night of freedom, before the conventions and responsibilities of marital life, mortgage, children.


Once a fun diversion from the industrial heartlands – a bit like Las Vegas with a Victorian twist – is a town that has a palpable and genuine energy of its own. The promenade offers up its gala of grotesque and carny seediness; a whole Golden Mile of pubs and bars for swollen bodies to crawl through flashing scary, carrot coloured midriff flesh. The unbridled hedonism is magnified by an inter-pack competitiveness that manifests itself in drinking games, fights or sex in the toilets! Its twisted and ghoulish, and it’s hard not to laugh."



 

Take a few minutes and check them out here.


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