A New Year’s Eve revolution for St Leonards
HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths asks all those questions we are all too afraid to ask about the Outrageous Decadence Party – like – what is it? … and just exactly HOW Outrageous and HOW Decadent can it be – and WHY is it revolting? OD’s Bev Francis and Erica Smith get a grilling and toe the Party Line…
How long has Outrageous Decadence been going?
We are now five years, and seven parties strong! You can check out past parties on Facebook.
How did it start?
Deborah aka Pink Minx, Lou Cousin and Bevali Francis aka Francis Fifi had been modelling at Front Row in St Mary in the Castle and started talking about how they would love to have a New Year’s Eve party there. After that the idea snowballed. St Mary’s was not available but someone mentioned that a party at the Masonic Hall had been cancelled and the hall was available with three weeks notice. We decided to take on the night as a charity event and make it more of an experience than a party. Three Degrees catering, who run the Hall, have been very accommodating and let us decorate and do more or less as we like. This keeps us using the same venue.
Who was originally involved?
There are too many people to list and each year we get input from new people who want to work with us. This helps to keep the ideas fresh and keeps the meeting and organising exciting and interesting. Nobody is in charge and everybody is able to bring their ideas to the table. We work on the ideas and somehow everything knits together to create a unique and varied event. They are the best meetings in town. Ideas are rarely too ludicrous to become a reality.
How did you come by the title?
Our first party was called The Outrageous Decadence Ball. We decorated the hall in a lavish outrageous way and had a side room decorated as a forest using everyone’s Christmas trees. Outrageous Decadence just seemed to be good name and has stuck.
Have they all had themes – and what were the titles of some of the other ones? And this one?
All our parties now have themes, we discovered that Hastings and St Leonards is a place where people like to dress up and not take themselves too seriously. We had a Party like it’s the End of the World complete with Mayan temple and human sacrifices, a Right Royal Wedding Bash where you could be married by a PVC clad vicar and nun and a Heaven & Hell party complete with a devil riding a chopper bike singing “Do You Want to be in my Gang”!
Last year we had an Andy Warhol’s Factory theme with a wrestling match between Andy Warhol & Bubbles and two masked Mexican wrestlers. It involved a massive pillow fight which meant HOT’s Erica Smith and two others spent most of New Year’s day cleaning the carpets with Selotape.
This year we are having a Revolutionary Party and have called it “St Leonards is Revolting”. This is a joke title and a play on words because we all think St Leonards rocks. We have lots of surprises lined up – great performances and many brilliant DJs.
What do people wear? Do you have to dress up – are you barred if you don’t? Any particularly, good original costumes?
Our parties lend themselves to dressing up but we don’t mind if you don’t like to dress up – we prefer that you just do what you feel comfortable doing. You can interpret the theme in any way you choose. There have been some epic costumes at past parties and I have heard rumours of some pretty good ideas for this year – but you’ll have to come along to find out more! You can look at past photos on our Facebook page or website for inspiration too.
For this party you can dress as anything from Marie Antoinette to Pussy Riot, or anything from the Industrial Revolution to the Sexual Revolution. If you like wearing a suit or a smart frock, that’s fine too – come along as a member of The Bourgeoisie – just make sure you don’t drink too much and lose your head!
What happens at the party? Music… DJ… games… outrageous behaviour… food/drink?
What happens at the party varies each time and we try not to do the same thing from one year to the next. We go to lengths to decorate and set the hall out differently each time. If you come, you’ll be part of an experience and hopefully you will leave feeling that you have been involved in something unique. There are usually some snacks available, but the OD Good Practice Guide for Partying recommends that you eat something nourishing before you arrive!
Because there are two rooms of music you can find things to suit you – and there’s a Quiet Room, too. We use lots of local artists and designers who give their time for free and help us decorate, create sets, put on light shows and play a variety of tunes to get you dancing. We use several DJs over an evening so lots of musical tastes are catered for.
For the entrance fee, you get full-on entertainment and all our profits go to charity so you have a good time and your money does good things. We have made over £4,000 for local charities so far, including Hastings Online Times – but you will never feel like you’re at a ‘charity event’ when you’re at an Outrageous Decadence party – because our primary aim is that you have an outrageously good time!
Is it just for extroverts – how do shrinking violets manage or do they just not go?
Anyone can come to our parties – they just have to a sense of humour and want to have fun. Sometimes an introvert can hide behind a costume and be someone entirely different for the night. But if you want to sit in the Quiet Room and drink sherry and listen to James Last records, that has also been catered for!
Any good stories that have occurred over the years?
Whenever you come to an OD party you can guarantee you will have good story to tell – something along the lines of “I married a mannequin and have the certificate to prove it”!
Do people come from outside of Hastings?
OD has gained bit of a reputation and we have lots of people coming to St Leonards from as far afield as Germany – and beyond. Some people have told us it made them move here!
Price? and what happens to the proceeds?
At £10 for concessions (self-defining) and £15 full price, it’s a bargain! Your money pays for an evening of performance, DJs and outrageous fun – just make sure you buy your ticket before they sell out (they always do). The organisers don’t get paid, we spend money on props and to pay the band and donate the profits to local charities.
Come along for a wonderful New Year’s Eve – the only expectation is the unexpected!
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