Meet Vickie and her vibe. Leo Leigh bought her from a gift shop in Blackpool, which is a seaside town in the Northwest of England. Every time I look at it I’m overcome with lust. I went to Blackpool with Leo in January 2009 to make a film called Blackpool: Las Vegas of the North, which you can watch on VBS this Wednesday! But to get yourself all excited, click through to see the trailer.
Blackpool was once the number one holiday destination for working-class British families. It used to attract 17 million of them a year until cheap, all-inclusive holidays to Spain cut business in half. They called it “The Las Vegas of the North” because of its bright lights, reputation for bawdy thrills, and miles of slot machines.
These days the town makes most of its money from old people and “stag-and-hen” nights— drunken pre-nuptial parties with half naked gangs of lairy lads and lasses falling in and out of strip clubs, sex shops, bars, brothels, and gift shops like the one from where we bought Vickie here.
The shop we bought it from also stocked air pistols, crossbows, knives of every description, “gollywogs,” dildos, myriad penis-shaped novelties, myriad tit-shaped novelties, fake Viagra, porn books and magazines, and fake vaginas. All of these products sat uncomfortably next to blue mouth sweets, plastic toy pirate sets, bootleg Spiderman merchandise, “Welcome to Blackpool!” watercolor sets, and “My First Makeup” kits for little girls.
Normally this combined display of gifts for children and old ladies mixed with deadly weapons, sex toys, and pornography would be a little creepy. But in Blackpool, a conservative but bafflingly surreal place, a town so beautiful but so ugly, so conflicted in its past, present, and future all mixed up together in an absolute mess… it makes perfect sense.