I have touched arguably the most famous breasts in Britain. When I laid my hand on the buxom girl in a PVC catsuit, little did I know it was a celebrity cup F I was touching. Having artfully dodged gossip magazines since puberty in favour of Russian realism, it was my gay entourage who informed me those implants belonged to Jordan.
In other club nights meeting a celeb on the dance floor – and cheekily touching her breasts while she is dancing with you – would be the highlight of the night. Not if the club is Torture Garden.
With themed rooms including an enchanted forest, a horror installation, a zombie tunnel, entering the venue is like falling down the rabbit hole. TG’s Halloween wonderland is made of bars, cabaret, live acts, dance floors, and dungeon. It is much more than a night out clubbing: it is seeing installations, going to the theatre and listening to a gig all in one. As the night unfolds you are never a viewer: you are the protagonist in what could be a Fellini movie.
The no effort-no entry dress code results in hours of preparation. Torture Garden’s queue can be massive, but it is a performance in its own right – a makeshift catwalk displaying the best of debauched creativity. The clubber standing in line next to you in a leather body harness could the accountant who does your tax return. This is an occasion for ordinary people to explore their creativity – in their clothing, in their manners, in their social interaction. By donning flamboyant masks they manage to get rid of the social one.
Stepping into the club equals making a statement on your views of the world. Acceptance and enthusiastic exploration are the key elements to the club atmosphere. Once you are in, you belong to the community. The friendliness of the TG experience will hardly be found anywhere else in the big city.
As my friend finds out what it feels like to get blood to your head on a fetish wheel, I sit on a stone of the enchanted garden and massage away stiletto-induced pain: a little old trick to attract a foot fetishist. Mine is a cute, devout Frenchman, who reactivates my circulation before I hit the dance floor. Such treats and much more reserves the world’s leading fetish club.
No pumpkins were to be seen at London’s most decadent Halloween party. Walking out of the club under the foggy tunnels surrounding London Bridge is like resurfacing from the underworld. You feel dazed, as if jet-lagged. As your make-up starts melting away, you can suddenly see the limiting nature of what society has constructed to be ordinary life. You have absorbed philosophy enveloped in PVC. As if exiting Plato’s cave, you now know that an all-accepting and totally free world is possible, a dimension where the absurd and the strange are part of reality. An upside-down world where it is Halloween all year round, where everybody joins in the chorus: ‘Don’t dream it, be it!’.