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Silas Wynd's Little Shop of Horrors and Halloween



At the end of the summer, I paid a visit to Viktor Wynd's home to hear about the plans for his Little Shop of Horrors. Work was underway on the Mare street property that had been secured for the latest Last Tuesday Society project; stocking everything from taxidermy to antique surgical equipment it is the antidote to IKEA, the antithesis of the bland, beige interiors we've become used to.

Once inside Viktor's front door, there was little room to move around without accidentally brushing against something that used to be alive. Enormous shells, corals, plants, fossils, elephant foot umbrella stands, preserved vampire bats, walrus tusks. Viktor explained how ever since he was a boy, his room had been filled with animals skulls, snakes and lizards, a fascination which developed into a talent for dealing privately- supplying the eccentric home-owner with his every desire. And now a whole shop dedicated to the weird and wonderful, stocked in fantastic old cabinets from the Holloway Medical Museum. Only a few people will be allowed in the shop at a time to enjoy the performance art element of the experience- shop staff are none other than Cabaret stars Dickie Beau, Ophelia Bitz & Morgan Lloyd.




Viktor spoke of the dining room area furnished with antique operating tables, available for small private dinner parties. Gifts for every occasion would also be supplied- be that a rotting fruit basket for your worst enemy, or a bespoke made voodoo doll of them! Sponsored by the iconic Hendrick's gin; the store will host talks on a variety of themes from eminent authors and experts- from Philip Hoare on Whales, to Ian Kelly on Syphilis, there's something to cater for every interest in the bizarre and the marvelous.



As Viktor talked me through his collection of bones and embryos, I was surprised to hear that he is a vegetarian. But on further consideration, it seems less of an anomaly- on a recent visit to San Francisco I found a similar establishment trading in both taxidermy and intricate jewelery made from the tiny skulls of birds. In their mission statement , Loved to Death state that:
'NO ANIMAL HAS EVER BEEN KILLED FOR THE USE IN OUR WORK.Parts are recycled or are by-products. It is out of the respect and appreciation of the animal to do this rather than just discard these parts. We, as ARTISTS, find beauty in these parts. We see it as a memorial to the animal passed. The pieces we make truly are crafted with love.'
Similarly Viktor has had nothing to do with the deaths of any of these animals, he merely finds homes where their beauty will be appreciated, even in death. From my work in vintage fashion,its the controversial issue of fur that I've come across before- my personal stance being that if it was made before synthetic fur was introduced, then I think it has perfectly legitimate value as a historical piece of fashion, that people should still feel free to wear and enjoy if they are comfortable with it and it doesn't lead them to endorse modern fashion label's continued use of fur. But as always, there are those with objections. Viktor explained that a lot of his best pieces are in the Hendrick's Horseless Carriage of Curiosities, as sometimes people can kick up a fuss if he keeps his shrunken heads in the building. By this point I should have been beyond surprise, but on being shown some golden pigs' nose masks, I wonder at the realism, asking how they get all the little hairs and texture...before I discover that they actually are real pigs' noses. From pig farms. Sprayed gold. I was not the only one to find it mildly ironic when Viktor was subsequently struck down with swine flu, delaying the shop's opening by a week.




But now the store is up and running, just in time for Halloween, a more appropriate season for their merchandise is hard to imagine. Pumpkin carving classes, mask-making workshops, make-up sessions,seances and of course, the annual Last Tuesday Society Ball, held not at the shop of course, but at the glamorous Troxy. So for Halloween, Viktor/Silas Wynd, (he failed to shed any light on the conundrum that is his name)Suzette Field and Chelsea Zaharzcuk invite you to their Little Shop of Horrors; Equipping You With All Your Domestic Needs – Including a Fine Array of Dead People. From Shrunken Heads to Babies in Bottles – Not Forgetting Dayak Head Hunters Skulls, Jack Frost Paid Us a Visit Last Weekend and Warned Us of An Impending Winter So Cold the Thames Will Freeze Over – In Preparation For This Beautiful Occurrence We Have Laid in a Fine Array of Beautiful Vintage Fur Coats – From Ocelot to Fox, Taking in Hephalump, Ermine & Polyester, Elsewhere Enormous Beautiful Butterflies Will Lighten Your Dark Nights, Or Medical Instruments Will Provide You, and a Friend With Hours of Limitless Fun.

For details of The Last Tuesday Society Halloween Ball, and classes, workshops and talks at the shop, visit ...

And other tips for a delightfully horrible Halloween from Run-Riot:
The Enchant-Ed Wood- Vintage Halloween fun for those who prefer stylish dressing up to the standard scare-fest. ...

Halloween Double Bill from 'Today is Boring'- more film- fuelled fun ...

Margaret and Ladiez Nite present: Night of a thousand dead celebs!- come as your favourite dead celebrity!
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Shore Leave & Born Bad: 'Palacio De Los Muertos' at Barden's Boudoir- Gabby Young and Other Animals, undead Bikini girls and cakes of death.
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The Benjamins Present: 'The Skeleton at the Feast: Day of the Dead' at The Book Club

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