20 Mar 2014
Life, the Universe and Hen Parties
‘Hen Parties’, the very thought of their hen do can strike a feeling of sheer unadulterated excitement in the heart of any budding bride to be, with visions of a raucous night on the town with their closest lady friends and to a slightly lesser degree incelebration of their impending nuptials. I think it’s safe to say that most of us will have seen the tell-tale of signs of a hen do at one time or another, L-plates, feather bowers, high heels, a distinct lack of inhibitions and the odd traffic cone, but what are the origins of this last hurrah for freedom? It certainly wasn’t William Wallace or even George Michael if that’s what you’re thinking, thoughFreedomis a corker of a song.
The extent of my knowledge on the genesis of hen party culture, which granted is only that which anyone can attain from a google search and aflick through Brides magazine, has led me to discover that hen dos are actually a tradition steeped in history. ‘Proto-hendo’ celebrations apparently date backcenturies; however these bygone practiceswere a much more solitary and modest affair for which a bride would spend the night alone examining the contents of her dowry, which is tantamount to doing your tax returns on new year’s eve, i.e. practical, but really rather dull.
The tradition however can even be dated back even further to the ancient Greeks; these forward thinking democrats are believed to have had three stages to a wedding, the first of which being the ‘Proaulia’. This ritual occurred before the wedding and involved the bride to be and her toga donned female troupe having the night of their lives at the Lady Boys of Ancient Athens…Sadly this isn’t true, it actually involved the bride spendingher final few days before marriage with their mother, friends and relativespreparing for the wedding withreligious ceremonies, bountiful feasts and also obligatory malestrippers, pole dancing lessons, wine tasting (likely true) and life drawingsessionsall taking place at the brides father's house. All joking aside this wasone of the few events woman were allowed to actively celebrate independently and could be said to be seed of contemporary hen parties
The semantics of the word ‘Hen’ and how it became synonymous with the modern day rite of passage can be dated back to the 17th century when the word hen was usedcolloquially for women, therefore hen + party = females only gatherings where good times were had and chins were wagged. The term took to new meanings during the ‘Swinging 60’s’, for those of you weren’t around then (me included) this was a period of sexual revolution and also saw a relaxation of social taboos in both racism and sexism. Equality was word of this particularly groovy period of our history, with women taking a stand and saying ‘Hey, why is it only men who get to have these pre-wedding festivities? We want a party and we won’t it now!’ thus the modern day hen party in all its debauched glittery glory,was born.
From their humble beginnings hen parties have become nothing short of a cultural phenomenon, and have evolved into much more than just a pre-wedding celebration, they area homage to the bride and her closest friends and family. Nevertheless whether you’re planning a dignified afternoon tea at the Ritz, or a good old fashioned kneesup down your local Revolutions, the sheer number of different activities you can partake in can be rather daunting. If you happen to be planning a hen party, or know someone who is, don’tworry because we here at the Lady Boys of Bangkok have you covered. If you want a truly memorable, remarkable and oriental fuelled hen night go check out our hen party packages at www.ladyboysofbangkok.co.uk. Come don your L plate’s brides and maids and see the single life out with a bang Thai – dy night at The Lady Boys of Bangkok (once again apologies for the pun, could not resist).
7 Mar 2014
Pattaya Street Kids Update….
The Lady Boys of Bangkok aren’t just about glamour, glitz and sizzling cabaret; there is also a soft, empathic side to these androgynous beauties portrayed by the charitable causes we and our audiences choose to support.
Charity is something that this world can never be short of, however the distal properties of pictures and news reports can cause people to become dissociated with the suffering of others. The aim of this post is to bring to light a very special cause that is close to the heart of the Lady Boys of Bangkok team. Our official charity is the Pattaya Street Kids Support Project (PSKSP), this fantastic cause aims to relieve financial hardship and advance the education of children under 18 who live on the streets or in slums of the coastal city of Pattaya in Thailand (pictured below). The city is one of Thailand’s most popular beach resorts located around 165km south east of Bangkok, due to its popularity with tourists many Thai’s migrate to the city in search of work including 100’s of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable children.
Upon arriving in Pattaya many of the children find jobs as hawkers (selling flowers and gum in bars), on market stalls and some even have to resort to begging in the street. The children in these jobs generally answer to adults who offer very little reward for a hard day’s work and punish them with beatings if they don’t make enough money. It is an imaginably dire situation for a child to be living on the streets, with no access to clean water or food children are forced to make tough decisions in order to survive.
The charity also endeavours to help children who live in the slums of Pattaya; these children often live within broken family units and as drugs are rife in the city also suffer with addictions. Begging on the streets is usually a way of for these children to feed their addictions and to try and support families suffering from illness, which leads to a vicious cycle of dependence and poverty. Fortunately there are people such as the Pattaya Street Kids Support Project team who try to care for these children, and with little help from Thailand’s government the importance of these causes is all the more significant. The picture below is of the some of the children of ‘Kates Project’ which works with some of poorest families in the slums of Pattaya, and who PSKSP support by providing food and scholarships for the kids with donations from the audiences of The Lady Boys of Bangkok.
Through the kindness and generosity of YOU, our faithful audiences, the "Glamorous Amorous" tour in itself managed to raise over £17,000 for this undeniably worthwhile charity, which has been especially welcomed in these times of financial hardship. We are also happy to announce that some of our philanthropic audience have even gone on to sponsor a child and donate to the charity directly. Phillip Gandey one of the directors here at Gandey World Class Productions went to see some of the children on his recent visit to Thailand. He and Trevor Jones (who you will all know from our shows) can be seen pictured below with the children of the Mercy Children’s Home, Baan Khong Por in Pattaya, one of the homes that receives help from the Pattaya Street Kids Support Project. In 2013 the children of Baan Khong Por received supplies of new bedding, clothing, shoes, two computers the also the monthly food bills for the kids with the help of our donations.
The money raised has also gone towards funding numerous other heart-warming projects that PSKSP are running and the impact these donations have on the children’s lives is truly amazing. “The Partnership between The Lady Boys of Bangkok show and the Pattaya Street Kids’ Support Project (PSKSP) has made a huge difference to the work that we have been able to do in helping the children from the slums of Pattaya”, Don Ford Treasurer of PSKSP. One of these initiatives is the ‘Share Love with a Friend’ project which involves making monthly deliveries of rice and milk too mentally and physically disabled children living in the slums. The money they were also able to repair and rebuild some homes so children aren’t exposed to the elements during the night, provide beds, clothes and mosquito nets and also pay for the schooling and general medical care for numerous children.
We are very proud to be sponsors of this unique and vital charity, and perpetually grateful to our patrons for helping raise over £100,000.00 for them over the years. The charity however has lots more work they would like to do, and any donations of sponsorships would be gratefully welcomed. For more information on the charity you can visit their website http://www.slum-kids.org, while you’re there I recommend reading the uplifting story of how the charity began with a boy named ‘Pod’ which will no doubt warm your heart in these cold winter months.