Blackpool meets Bosch: stag and hen nights from hell


#1

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#2

Hah! This has been Aussie slang since the 50s or earlier (etymology: watch under?), but the extent to which it’s become popularised globally can probably be attributed to good old Barry Humphries, another Melbourne lad.

A master of euphemism, he also introduced me to ‘park a tiger’, my all-time fave substitute for ‘spew’.


#3

It definitely makes it a challenge for me to have pride in my home town.


#4

Speaking as a semi-regular visitor to Blackpool (and Fleetwood), I’m sad to see the place rot away like this. Many residents wish the town hadn’t signed its faustian pact with the Stags and Hens either, and would much rather the place became family friendly again. The stench of uric acid and amonia that follows you across the seafront on a Monday morning tells its own story.

Alas, Blackpool has been ravaged and continues to be ravaged by the recession (don’t let the spike in GDP due to unsustainable house prices fool you - we’ve not recovered fully from the 2008 slump), so is forced to rely on this ugliness as a major source of income, which is in effect a downward spiral as it keeps driving other visitors away. (Did I mention that Blackpool has been LGBT friendly for years now? Thing is, gay and lesbian couples are increasingly having kids of their own, and like other young families, they don’t really want their children to witness this sort of thing.)

The council, last seen wasting money on a ‘comedy carpet’ and generally not knowing its arse from its elbow, doesn’t help and has instead got into bed with the Tussauds group which now runs many of the town’s attractions (including its still marvellous Tower), which means it’s increasingly a company town at the mercy of the company, as well as streams of piss and vomit.

The other tragedy of course is that all this horror and coarseness represents the death knell of traditional working class culture, which once had a passion for self-improvement and education, as well as trifling matters like self-respect and pride. The death of the industrial north, and the antics of that old bitch Thatcher, put paid to that; in these pictures we see an ever unfolding descent into decay, degradation and self-harm.

It’s such bleakness that I don’t even have the words any more. One silver lining is the yearly Rebellion punk festival, which gives the place some life, but it isn’t in the long run enough to save the place from itself or pissed up grotesques puking over each other.


#5

As an ex- northerner myself, I found this very compelling. It reminded me of that story about Gandhi, who when asked what he thought about Western Civilization allegedly replied that he thought it would be a good idea.

I liked the one with the food truck with the “urger” sign in the foreground where the woman wearing a veil is buying some food. The flying veil shows how strong the wind can be in Blackpool.

I wonder how the photographer got all these shots without being beaten up. In a lot of the photos, at least one man is side-eyeing the camera with some irritation.


#6

To be fair, if you have to spend any time at all in Blackpool, being blind drunk is the best way to go.

Sadly, Brits have also exported this horrible behaviour to beautiful places like Prague.

Sometimes I miss the UK, then I think back to the last time I was in Nottingham on a Saturday night.


#7

Not sure if it’s my sympathetic ear filling in blanks, but you paint a pretty stark picture for me with the few words you do have…


#8

I just want to second TruculentSheep’s point about thatcher and the death knell of working class culture in the north. Blackpool wasn’t always like this. Here’s a short film (2 mins) of a “Wakes Week” trip to Blackpool in the 1940s. The mills used to close down entirely for a week in summer - the wakes week - and the whole workforce would go on vacation.

Watching the donkey rides on the beach and the little kids with sandcastles here reminded me of my own early trips and is a great antidote to the photo set in the article, and lord knows I needed an antidote to it!


#9

I’m sort of surprised at the apparent ages of a lot of the people in the pics.


#10

I don’t remember Blackpool being that bad in the late 80s/early 90s. I used to have occasional trips there, usually when my dad went to see Carlisle United lose their football match.

It looks very depressing now.

Since I have already mentioned Carlisle United, have a freakish goal at a windy Blackpool.


#11

Staying up till dawn drinking will temporarily add a fair bit to apparent age, which may be part of it.


#12

Who needs pride when you´ve got entertainment?


#13

I wouldn’t confuse UK working class culture with Communism if I were you.


#14

I woudn’t confuse hen and stag nights for working class culture. All this started well after the crushing of the working class, which even Norman Tebbit regrets doing.


#16

Having a little trouble telling which are “Hen Parties” and which are “Stag Parties”.


#17

Blackpool: Beyond Thunderdome


#18

I had heard J. Clarkson use that term a few times on Tops Gear. I had no idea what he was talking about.

He was talking about awesome, apparently.


#19

These photos make me grateful that I am far from the chundering herd.

Proud, also, that I never developed the skill to nonchalantly vomit on the street with my hands in my pockets.

Bosch painted debauchery, but his subjects somehow maintained a certain human dignity that seems to be sadly missing in these photos. One can only assume that it was left at the curb many hours before these photos were taken.


#20

And Salou, Spain.

No country is safe from the drunk brit invasion.


#21

Luckily, even if you were me, you wouldn´t. It´s just an (admittedly polemic) juxtaposition of two working class conceptions. English or Russian, people without self-respect are easier controlled. Communism doesn´t even factor into that statement really.