Madame Tussauds

Madam Tussauds

Photograph by Graham Hills

Madame Tussauds


By rights, spending £25 for an hour of looking at shop dummies dressed as quite famous people should be the sort of thing you do when you have exhausted every – every – other activity on the planet. And yet the queues into Madam Tussaud’s are longer than those turning out to praise Chairman Mao on his birthday when he was in an especially genocidal frame of mind. There are people queuing for Madame Tussauds who have forgotten what they are queuing for and are only aware of a distant zen-like goal, which eventually turns out to be giving the camera a smiling thumbs-up next to Hitler.

Madame Tussauds is actually the most popular tourist attraction in Britain, a fact which surprises for even longer than it makes you weep.

Madam T began her trade during the French Revolution making death masks of those just guillotined. The families wanted something to remember their loved ones by, and nothing says ‘happy memories’ like a wax impression of dad screaming in terror as a massive steel blade comes down to sever his neck. They were simpler times.

What is most inexplicable is the popularity with people under the age of 18 who bounce off the walls fuelled by six litres of fizzy pop. For this, a generation – roughly 90 per cent of whom are clinically obese – manage to drag themselves from 28-hour sleepless marathons on their reinforced beds playing the latest ultra-violent X-Box game.

So it remains a mystery: children who grow up dreaming of bustin’ a cap in some pig’s ass as part of their daily duties as a crack dealer and pimp excited by what amounts to a giant novelty candle in one of the few places where a slow-burning fire would be welcome.