The Last Tuesday Society is the place for all the essentials of life that Tesco forget to stock. Quite possibly London’s strangest shop, this store features a wealth of curiosities including such items as shrunken heads, gynecological instruments, creatures in formaldehyde and rabid looking taxidermy.
Perfect gifts, for people you hate. ‘After all who doesn’t want a Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest on their wall?’ says, owner and curator, Viktor Wynd. Well, a 50-year-old vegetarian art teacher with a feral appearance is probably a good place to start.
This Mare Street emporium – which last year sold Jonathan Ross’ wife a skeleton of a two-headed baby – is perhaps best seen as an attempt to recreate, or reinterpret, within 21st-century sensibilities, a 17th-century Wunderkabinett; a collection of objects assembled on a whim due to their aesthetic or historical appeal.
Located between a derelict pub and a grubby looking pawnshop, the shop is the latest addition to the many activities of The Last Tuesday Society, a group that co-founder Suzette Field describes as, ‘a celebration of the cerebral and the carnival,’ and which is better known for its club nights and hosted lectures.
‘Those easily offended by death and decay should stay away,’ warns the sign as you step beneath the floorboards, walking past numerous glass-fronted cabinets and rows of shelving, each shelf stacked with objects that appear more random than the previous. A second-hand exorcism doll sits perched next to an elegant box of ‘chocolate anuses modeled from life’ alongside an artificial retractable foreskin.
Then amidst all the hedonistic humour stands a Gothic dining table. Residents include a stuffed lion’s head, a human skeleton and a rather impressive Arcana Kaleidoscope. As for the not-so-unexpected table centrepiece? Why, a blow job stool, at a special discount of £65. Bargain.
But what made them want to create this ‘Little Shop of Horrors’? ‘It all seems so long ago now, the original dream of changing the world,’ says Wynd. ‘The idea of a world where everything doesn’t come from IKEA, where it’s not all bland wood veneers, pastels shades and objects that children can’t poke their eyes out with, a dream that visiting other peoples houses could be as interesting as a visit to the zoo, not just another page from a catalogue. And then Woolworths died, and we realised that the world was ripe for a revolution. ‘
Ripe for revolution it may be, not everyone is with the program. ‘Sometimes people stay for 15 seconds and then they leave again,’ laughs Patrick, one of the staff. ‘Some people have a fear of certain animals, so if you are scared of butterflies you won’t last long.’
The Last Tuesday Society
11 Mare Street
Tel: 0207 998 3617