December 21, 2010

W00T! 826 Valencia Street rides on

Well, here's a little diversion from Chriskwanzukkah/Solstice stuff:

Because of where we went to grad school - in the Bay Area - A.F. and myself have been "in the know" about the flagship 826 Valencia Street project from pretty near its inception in 2002. While at the front, it appears to be a normal (?) San Francisco pirate supply store, in the back it is a free writing center for kids 8-18. It's a neat idea started by the inimitable Dave Eggers and put into practice with his teacher friend Nínive Calegari and many others. The pirate store has been replicated most hilariously in Brooklyn with the Superhero Supplies shop (oh, how I long to shop there. I need a secret identity and a cape), and now author Nick Hornby in London has joined the fun with several other smart folk, in a unique and frighteningly British way, with...

Yes. It's the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies store. (And OH, how I love the word "bespoke," thanks in part to that sexy skeleton, Skulduggery Pleasant.) The storefront is this completely unassuming looking thing, and then inside the door it looks so very... traditional -- shopkeeper with an apron, check, shelves of quietly expensive-looking products in their identical wrappers, check... and then, you look at the labels, and they're just these quietly scary products -- Tinned Fear. Gore. A Vague Sense of Unease...

And other stuff.

In the mood for a bit of maiden hair? How about distressed maiden's hair?
One does wonder what one must do to get it those ratty, thin distressed strands. I mean, how much distress are we talking, here? And are we going with modern maiden's distressed, or sort of a 19th century dame thing?

Important questions, people.

While all of this is fun, in the back is the most beautiful little writing room for the kids. I am beginning to wish I were eight. (And English, apparently.)

The Ministry of Stories is so very British sounding, and the sign makes me want to cry a little. How different a world it would be if every kid from ages 8-18 knew with a certainty that stories were important and that their stories and their respect, courage, and imagination were the most important of all?

Okay. That makes me want to cry a lot.


Do check out We Made This for pictures of the writing room and more of the store, and don't forget to visit The Ministry, which sounds like an absolutely fabulous place for stories, watched over by stern-looking dudes in bad blue suits with muttonchops...

Oh, come on. There was weeping...this is the obvious end result, yes? YES?? And you know you want some.

*Hat tip to mental_floss blog.


Sarah Stevenson said...

That makes me teary, too! I adore this.

That Jar O' Snot looks an awful lot like lemon curd...

tanita✿davis said...

I reject your reality, and substitute my own. It's SNOT.

Anonymous said...

My skin is crawling.

Hey, I bet they have a jar of "crawled skin" somewhere on those shelves!