I don’t know what they’re like where you’re from, but monsters in East London don’t feed on flesh. The zombies don’t wa
nder down Brick Lane in search of fresh organs, nor do the vampires crave the blood of the mortal teenage girlfriends they meet at the school gates as one certain fictional franchise details. No, we’re a bit edgier than that in Hackney. We pick up our snacks at the Monster Supplies Store on Hoxton Street.
This quirky little haunt sells “products for the living, dead and the undead,” offering an assortment of snacks for all you monsters out there – whether you’re local or travelling down by Hoxton Overground Station on some kind of Frankenstein-inspired trek. Get your “impacted earwax” fix, stock up on “night terrors” for the road and be sure to walk out with a jar of Organ Marmalade: highly recommended when spread thickly on toast!
It all sounds like the stuff of Dickensian fiction or some weird Tim Burton film from the nineties…and you could not be more correct! It’s weird and wonderful and all things gory and grim. It’s the stuff you loved as kids and the stuff you’re kind of freaked out by as adults – creepy and cool and all kinds of magic.
But what’s really magical about the Monster Supplies Store is that it is not just a little shop/café. It is a fantastic literacy programme for kids.
British author Nick Hornsby, inspired by and expanding on the work of US author David Eggers, uses the store as the non-profit charity “Ministry of Stories.” Open Thursday – Saturday, the immersive magic of the store aims to inspire children to become storytellers, hosting writing workshops and classes to channel visitors’ creativity and unleash their inner monsters down on paper. This can all be found behind a secret door (because, why not?)
The store’s mission is made explicit: “children are in charge.” It is a fun and inspirational space for everyone – creatives and non-creatives alike. Whether you’re a writer, a teacher, a dad who wants the kids to blow off some steam for an hour or two, Hoxton’s store is the most magical places in East London, simply because it is driven by the imagination of children which, in turn, invokes the child-like imagination within us all.
Don’t believe me? Wait till you meet the Invisible Cat that sits in a seemingly empty basket on the front desk. It purrs, it really purrs!
With a brilliant range of gross goodies and an inspiring bunch of dedicated staff, Hoxton’s Monster Supplies Store is the spot for everyone: whether you’re 5 or 55, you will find yourself immersed in a quirky, clever, supernatural world just a few square feet from the Overground line. And if you find that you’re running low on Fang Floss whilst on your travels, this is the only place I know of where you can pick some up.
It’s cool, it’s community, and it’s really good snacks: it’s what London’s all about. Be sure to pay a visit!