Dr. Voronoff of Wych Street

Let’s start the week off right with a few more odds and sods from my commonplace books. This time, its all about non-existent streets, monkey testicles and lost plays.

Wych Street. Decrepit Elizabethan housing, projecting wooden jetties, and the mysterious ‘bookstalls of Wych Street’. Demolished in 1901, but…what if? I think this one stuck in my head just because of the name, likely from the Old English wice, meaning ‘bend’ or somesuch, though you could also draw a link to ‘witch’, for obvious reasons. One street, broken into two and erased. I’m fascinated by the psychogeographic implications of such an act. Wych Street was an edgeland between old London and new, broken apart at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. But what if it was still there, in some form? What if Wych Street, with its strange bookstalls and decrepit houses, was, like its name, bent just out of sight?

Dr. Voronoff and his monkey testicles. This…pretty much speaks for itself, right? Experimental surgery. Monkey testicles. Mad scientist. Monkey testicles. Animal-to-human transplants. C’mon. I shouldn’t have to explain this one.

The Isle of Dogs. 1597 play by Ben Jonson and Thomas Nashe. Performed once and immediately suppressed, for unspecified reasons. A satirical comedy, possibly aimed at the Queen. Players were arrested, homes were raided, and also, stolen jewels were involved, maybe. A lot of weird elements, adding up to a larger, more complex whole. Was it all about politics? Or did it have more to do with a certain stolen diamond? All of the above? Who knows–probably make a good story, though.

8 thoughts on “Dr. Voronoff of Wych Street

  1. Speaking of non-existent streets, there’s a story by Jean Ray (known as “the Belgian Poe”) set in London called Marlyweck Cemetery about the titular cemetery which seems to change location. That’s what I thought of when I read about Wich Street.

  2. Thanks Josh…I always look forward to your “zibaldone” meanderings…creative storytelling seed thoughts perhaps. Be Well….Gary

    p.s. Is Volume 2 of the Royal Occultist files out anytime soon?

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