Can a fantastical shop that sells supplies to monsters tell us something about life for humans in the UK today? It seems it might.
In the period following the UK referendum and US election, trading arm of the children’s charity Ministry of Stories, founded by writer Nick Hornby, noted a 37% increase in sales of Creeping Dread and 26% increase on A Vague Sense of Unease compared to sales the same period previous years. This suggests purchases of the charity’s tinned fear may capture something of a given zeitgeist.
Likewise, while scanning one’s news feed was never more compulsive or compelling as in this period, the shop’s 31% spike in sales of Salt Made from Tears of Boredom offered hint of a wish to return to simpler, less fraught days. Trading manager Emily Murdock explains the charity’s culinary salts ‘made from human tears’ are promoted to humans (and monsters) to bring on the emotion felt while the tears fell.
Retaining the imaginative spirit of the project, Murdock also explains that while monsters are said to purchase tins of fear to give doses of the fear on the label to human victims, humans purchase the tins because minuscule doses are said to work homeopathically, providing a salve when fear begins to get out of control.
100% of proceeds from sales from the shop that offers ‘Bespoke and Everyday Items for the Living, Dead and Undead’ go to the award-winning children’s creative writing charity. Their Tins of Fear contain specially commissioned short horror stories by well-known British authors eager to support the cause.
More about the Ministry of Stories
The Ministry of Stories is a creative writing and mentoring charity for children. Through a range of innovative writing programmes, and one-to-one mentoring, we help young people discover and realise their creative potential and provide a publishing platform for young writers, so these fresh, exciting voices are shared with the world. It’s rewarding work but not easy. We depend on the whole community for their support, including a network of more than 500 dedicated volunteers. You could be one of them!
For an insider’s take of the story by undead volunteer shopkeeper Paul Emsley, read on: