Count Olaf Von Snotter has been volunteering at Hoxton Street Monster supplies since 1821 and recently starred in the Bloody Mary short for the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook. We caught up with him during Volunteers Week to chat with him about his years working with us.
Count Olaf Von Snotter, you have been volunteering at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies almost since our inception in 1818 and you're looking a little worse for wear. Our readers will want to know - to what do you attribute the good look?
Well it's important to have a routine to look good for our customers. I find bone dust adds years to my complexion, a cheese grater helps build up the dead skin - the flakes work great as protective filler around our more delicate products in customer's shopping bags. My grey hair is really down to the stress of working around mortals - they don't know they're born, that lot.
You've weathered many storms over these years, from the conflicts surrounding our discontinuation of human sacrifice and magic beans as currency, to our decision last century to dust and bring in electricity. You've really been at the heart of some of the major controversies within the monster community - how was that for you?
It's been tough, no doubt. No one likes change. For me, removing the soot from the windows, which allowed in natural light, was a step too far. Not only do the human passers-by recoil in horror when they look in (I'm not offended, it's just that they seem not to know they are no oil paintings themselves), but staff in the shop are constantly distracted by the sight of people doing people things outside. They think mortality is where things are at - it's enough to make your blood boil (which, by the way, we no longer offer as a service because of oppressive health and safety rules).
Of course the most famous controversy was allowing humans to shop at Monster Supplies. How did you find the transition from monsters-only to serving humans too?
It's been a few years now, and I've just about got used to it. I think most of the time they assume staff are human too so they barely bat an eyelid. It's actually amusing to see how silly humans are - stepping out of the way of our invisible cat (how do you know where to step?!), believing us when we tell them our jars of human snot are actually lemon curd and so on. Fools!
You've had more than a few odd experiences in your nearly 200 years staffing the shop. We'd love to hear about some of your most memorable.
Ah, too many to choose from! The oddest things used to happen when we had more monsters in the area, before gentrification priced them out. I loved our after hours openings for local vampires - for decades we ran a weekend members-only speakeasy blood bar from 11pm-3am. And there was the time a werewolf sheltered here from a local human mob. We covered him in a blanket and pretended he was a chaise longue. This carried on for a couple of weeks. I have to say, though, the oddest thing is when little humans come in and seem to... enjoy themselves. WHY ARE YOU SMILING LITTLE HUMAN? WHY? They just don't get it.
Are there any discontinued Monster Supplies you wish we'd bring back?
I was a fan of the everlasting gobstopper we sold in 1895 but the only customer who bought one apparently notdsdieedblphsed. Which wasn't good. And she hasn't been able to eat anything else since. I miss the range of jellied eels we sold, but I don't think the eels enjoyed the experience, and some customers complained because apparently you're supposed to make sure the eels are dead before selling them. No one told us that's how humans eat them...
I understand that in your spare time you earn a bob or two doing coffin refurbishment. Any famous customers?
As with all monster professions there is a code of misconduct that means I will gladly tell you this and then gladly kill you and eat you. As we're no longer allowed to do that in the shop, I'll have to pass on passing on any secrets.
Finally, you starred in a promotional video for the release of our updated version of the classic cookery books for monsters, The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook. I understand that wasn't your first foray into film. Can you tell us more?
I've worked with a number of directors over the years, always because of my natural talent and not because of the cost saving on make up and prosthetics. The cookbook shoot was great, mainly because of the free food involved. You really can't beat a bit of raw chicken and fresh cockroaches.
Count Olaf Von Snotter is known to some as Simon Moriarty