OK pleasure seekers and dirty suckers.
For those looking for forgiveness and beatification, look away now.
We ain’t choir boys.
If you want to polish your halo, then knock back a bucketful of fro-yo (read Yeo Valley) with some ‘healthy’ powders thrown in. If you want chunky fxxking monkey (a festering frozen tub of imported chubby lover) then lie back and think of all those ‘fat miles’. It’s pre-manufactured US ice cream pumped full of bad stuff ready for your ass to go widescreen when you look in the mirror.
It goes straight to the hips, from the lips.
And if you want a traditional Italian gelateria experience like ‘a Mama used to make’, then take your pick from the zillion that have opened up over the last 2 years across Londinium. We could have done a parlour for aficionados. But why slavishly imitate everyone else in trying to claim ownership over the best, most authentic gelato experience in London?
If we had wanted to do ‘normal’ ice cream, we would have. We took gelato and cold-fused it with alcohol and other foodie ingredients.
So please, call us abnormal.
And it’s not about ‘gimmicks’ as some people have said. It’s about experimenting and challenging our perceptions about ice cream.
As our name implies, we are ice cream extremists. Our job is to fearlessly tread where other ice cream parlours fear to tread to bring you the wildest, most outrageous ‘after the watershed’ vice creams you can imagine, without getting locked up. Just.
If the US fat boys of ice cream are about marketing, we are in anti-marketing.
And unlike fake brands, there is absolutely NOTHING manufactured about The Icecreamists, from our subversive history (the name came about thanks to a visit from Scotland Yard) to our freshly made boutique ice cream. Some people manufacture ‘edgy’ brands. We are off the edge.
When the ‘industry’ told us to go white. We painted in black.
When they told us to dumb down, we decided to dumb up.
Where others use a safety net, we are the high-wire act of ice cream.
When we launched the ‘Sex Bomb’ (then ‘Sex Pistol’) a drugs giant (Pfizer) tried to blacklist us from mentioning Viagra anywhere in the universe (I’ve got the undertakings), The Sex Pistols tried to ban us, then in a supreme twist of irony, a shipment for an ice cream conference was bizzarely impounded by the Mexican authorities. “Cocaine, Senor? Ok. Sex Pistol ice cream? No way amigo.”
When Westminster Council banned breast milk ice cream, we stood our ground and won.
When Lady Gaga threatened us with bankruptcy, we told her to take a chill pill with a couple of scoops of our finest.
When they told us to be healthy, we said we are full fat. And getting fatter.
We are size maximalist in a minimalist world. And unlike other places where they dump yogurt and powders in a cement mixer and get a monkey to push a button, we have chose the path of most resistance. Where we make ice cream fresh every morning.
But that’s our choice. As Icecreamists we are ‘here to liberate the world one lick at a time’ from bullshit, manufactured brands.
That isn’t to say we are perfect. In fact, far from it. We have been open just over 2 months now and have a great, enthusiastic team on board headlined by the inimitable Steven Waslin, a swarthy man who looks like he should be shagging Juliette Binoche in some romantic French epic. (I’m the fat ‘quality controller’, Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, to his Christian de Neuvillette).
But The Icecreamists is an evolutionary project. We need YOUR help to improve what we do and how we do it. We’ve got a vault of over 250 recipes, an over active imagination teeming with more ideas than we have minutes in days. We don’t want to be the biggest, we don’t want to be fucking ubiquitous or on every street corner. And that’s why our latest project ‘Scream’ is possibly the most stupid thing I’ve ever done. It’s teaming with bizarre objects and political puns so outrageous that some are now under lock and key, hidden from public view.
From remagining Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’, to giant melting ice cream cones splatted around our emporium, a ‘Cone’s Hotline’ and ice cream ‘thawnography’, we wanted to create a surreal experience. And where else in the world can you enjoy a vice cream cocktail with The Queen, Wills and Kate, Cone El Gaddafi and Darth Vader?
But the purpose behind ‘Scream’ was to explore what I call the ’21st Century Meltdown.’
In the last 24 months our world has turned upside down.
We’ve experienced assignations, assassinations, pandemics, epidemics, tsunamis, revolution, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns and financial meltdowns. All this has been juxtaposed alongside the odd apocalyptic near miss between our living fireball we call home and a previously unaccounted for bit of rock the size of a football stadium whizzing around the universe.
Scream explores themes about the loss of childhood and the changing shape of our world. How understood conventions are being upended by a chain reaction of perpetually changing global events. Life is fragile, and like ice cream, in a constant state of flux.
Ice cream has played a fundamental role in shaping my life emotionally, physically, sexually and politically. From the time I wept after dropping my ice cream on the seafront at Margate as my father laughed, to using it as a satirical tool against the state, ice cream continues to thrill and intrigue me unlike any other food.
It is the perfect metaphor to describe our changing world.
For that reason we have cold fused satire with ice cream to create a backdrop where stimulus is as important an ingredient as the Madagascan Vanilla we use. We wanted to juxtapose the perceived innocence of ice cream against the body politic inspired by a ban on organised ice cream eating in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus a few years back.
Scream is also a reaction to our homogenised society where milk from cloned cows is good for you but breast milk from mothers can kill you. Where the individual is pasteurised, personality sterilised and man disinfected of free will and independent thought. Living in our Panopticon we are conditioned by machines that drip feed a diet of self-medication and mechanically reclaimed information until we are left lobotomised, vegetating in a catatonic state like Randle P. McMurphy.
Is it really too much for us to eat and think at the same time?
The final ingredient in this absurdist mix was meeting Simon Kennedy in Berlin. Like me, he saw our world in a different way. He reawakened the sadness and humour in what that dropped ice cream represented, our world turned upside down. That like childhood, it would be gone all too soon, innocence lost, melting away on the pavement of a decaying seaside town.
Welcome to the melting pot mash up that is the Scream of ice cream.
Matt O’Connor, Founder, The Icecreamists, 2011