DESPITE THE MODERN TOWERS THAT NOW LOOM OVER THE WESTERN FRINGES OF HACKNEY, THERE’S STILL ONE PLACE THAT FEELS ALMOST LIKE A TIME MACHINE BACK TO SOME DECADENT PAST. THE LAST TUESDAY SOCIETY SITS JUST TO THE NORTH OF THE REGENTS CANAL IN AN OTHERWISE NONDESCRIPT ROW OF BUSINESSES - A SOLICITORS, A FAST FOOD PIZZA SHOP AND A DRY CLEANERS.
Yet to step across the threshold of the Last Tuesday Society is to enter another world - is it a bar? They sell excellent cocktails. Is it a museum? For in its dark recesses lurk all sorts of unusual objects, from dodo bones to occult and prisoner art. Perhaps it might be a zoo? On certain evenings you can head along to make an intimate acquaintance with a snake, tarantula, or frog.
Last Tuesday Society founder Viktor Wynd describes it as a “Wunderkabinett”, or cabinet of curiosities that defies all categorisation. “Most of the memories have blurred into a fifteen-year hangover,” Wynd reflects; “to be honest I have very little interest in the past, I don't keep an archive”.
What of the modern world encroaching on the Victorian terraces outside? Wynd has little time for worrying about it - “I just ignore it and get on with doing what I want to do,” he says emphatically. Yet there’s something very odd about his curation that doesn’t feel like a relic of the past - it’s more a psychedelic fever dream of a place than a nostalgia trip.
The collection isn’t just old, for modern items lurk among the ancient relics - alongside the taxidermied squirrels playing cards are popcorn boxes full of tiny skulls, books by JG Ballard, McDonald’s toys and erotic etchings. The Society also regularly hosts talks with contemporary writers and thinkers, alongside absinthe tasting, life drawing and taxidermy classes.