Ah, Finland.... the land of.... well actually I don't really know much about Finland except that it's education is supposed to be really cutting edge. However one thing I DO know about Finland is that it was the country of birth of Tove Jannsen, creator of the wonderful Moomins. The Moomins are a family of white, roundish fairy tale characters with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses.
I first came across the Moomins in the 80s in the creepy stop-motion felt animation on ITV. The animation style was very unsettling and the music was suitably atmospheric. As I grew older I could see the animation style resembled eastern blok animation like 'Hedgehog in the Fog,' Jan Svankmajer or even the music video 'There There' by Radiohead.
The 80s animation scared me but the 90s 104 episode cartoon series changed all that, the animation style was more traditional and cutesy and I was hooked. Since 2006 the Moomin books have been available in hardback by Drawn and Quarterly, who are to be congratulated for producing beautifully put together volumes. I have purchased the first two and am working my way to get the whole collection.
Whilst walking through Covent Garden, London with my wife I came across the delightful Moomin Shop. Upon entry into the shop you are faced with a huge mural of the Moomins which sets the mood. As you go up the stairs to where the shop is located you go into the forest and meet Little My, floating on her umbrella. The shop has everything a Moomin fan could want from dish cloths, cutlery, t-shirts, china to non-alcoholic wine! My wife and I bought a lot of stuff and loved the experience. I even had a chance to meet Moomintroll!
If you are a fan of the Moomins you have to go to this amazing shop!