Sheldon and I decided we should have an AGM to discuss Cemetery Club and where the future will take us and the blog. A couple of days after this discussion I got an official looking Google Calender invite in my inbox, inviting me to the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch – a cafe selling bowls of cereal and other breakfast products, devised and run by two bearded brothers. It seemed very hipster. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be associated with something so obviously ridiculous, but I do like breakfast. And the concept of eating breakfast after dark seemed very ‘Cemetery Club’. I was in – but it took me several hours to work out how to reply to the Google invitation.
Sheldon set about making pie charts, because he decided that a good AGM needs pie charts. I set about thinking about which cereal to have first.
The Cereal Killer Cafe opened in December 2014 on Brick Lane in Shoreditch, a street famous for it’s plethora of curry houses at one end and overpriced boutiques masquerading as thrift shops at the other. Selling 120 different types of cereal, 30 different types of milk and 12 varieties of Pop Tart (my mouth is watering just writing this sentence), it immediately caused controversy because despite the horrendous and completely obvious gentrification of this, one of the poorer boroughs in London that’s already been going on for years, noone could quite get their head around bowls of cereal being sold for £2.50. And so there were a lot of articles about it in The Guardian and lo, a fad was born. Fast forward to the 21st January 2015 and Sheldon and I are now queuing for half an hour to place our breakfast order. It is half past seven at night. But I guess it’s always breakfast time somewhere.
It’s a novelty venue and I’m not immediately sure how it fits in with the theme of our particular project, aside from the eating at night, Dracula stuff. But as I look around it becomes clear that this place is sort of a graveyard for another era – a time where Lucky Charms were still sold in the UK and big film franchises needed commercial tie-ins with breakfast products in order to promote themselves (there is a box of Jurassic Park themed cereal from the early 90’s on a shelf above our table). There are Russ Trolls along the walls and I spy several different cereals that I remember from my days cherry picking the best out of the Kelloggs Variety Packs as a kid. Even the music is tailored to the nostalgic theme of the place – there are television show theme songs from the 80’s and 90’s and amid these I catch the sound of Tori Amos singing ‘Never was a Cornflake girl…’
We commence our meeting once we have a suitable amount of chocoflakes and apple Pop Tarts on the table. I drink a Capri Sun and then, in the spirit of slipping seamlessly back into my childhood, a carton of Ribena. Sheldon drinks root beer and then tries a Pop Tart for the first time in his life. His response is classic Sheldon – the old at heart meets the newfangled and odd. His face contorts and it’s clear that he likes the rainbow coloured pocket full of sugar he has just put in his mouth, but doesn’t want to admit it.
We cover a lot of ground during the meeting and then, right at the end, before we leave the world of Sugar Puffs and strawberry milk behind us, Sheldon remembers his pie chart and proudly displays it. It shows the percentage of alive people we have featured on the blog vs the percentage of dead people. It’s a 1:99 split.
My verdict on the Cereal Killer Cafe is that it’s worth visiting purely for it’s nostalgia value. It’s a cemetery of retro foodstuffs and the walls are covered with tack from another era. If, like Sheldon and me, you were born in the mid 80’s, you’ll feel right at home. Plus, I don’t think £2.50 is a lot to ask for a bowl of cereal that you can tailor to your specific tastes with your preferred milk and topping. You’d pay that much for a coffee in Starbucks after all, and this place has personality. It may not be Victorian London but we like it.
At some point during the evening, I ask Sheldon what a Cemetery Club cafe would look like. I’ll leave the answer to your imagination (hint: it involves a lot of taxidermy).
All photographs by Christina Owen, copyright 2015