Torture Garden (fetish club)

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Performer of the club at Olympia Exhibition.

Torture Garden (or TG) is a fetish club in London, UK. The club started in 1990 and is now Europe's largest fetish club. It features dance floors, musical acts, performance art, fashion shows, and an S&M 'dungeon'.

Initially threatened with closure by the police,[1] it is now described as "legendary" and "a capital institution" by Time Out magazine.[2] It has also been described as "a combination of a fetish, S/M, body art, Modern Primitives, straight, gay, performance art, body ritual, fashion, techno/industrial/atmospheric music, multimedia, and cyberspace club".[3]


The co-founder of TG described the experience as "like entering a scene from a movie", and said that "we are basically about the celebration of sexuality and fantasy in a safe environment".[4] A lack of intimidating or threatening behaviour is characteristic of the club, in contrast to most nightclubs.[2] One journalist reported the "welcoming, liberating, anything-goes atmosphere".[5]

There is a strict dress code: "Fantasy Fetish, SM, Body Art, Drag, Rubber, Leather, PVC goes, but no cotton t-shirts, street wear, or regular club wear".[4] This has been summarised as "if what you’re wearing wouldn’t get you stared at in the street, don’t bother even queuing up to get in".[2]

Academic study[edit]

An academic study of blood rituals noted that "The concept of Torture Garden may initially be difficult to accept, as it encompasses the most extreme manifestations of body piercing, mutilation, and ritual uses of blood in Western culture" and that the Torture Garden manifesto "clearly demonstrates the anomalous nature of fetish clubs".[3]


TG has hosted club nights in several other cities and countries, including Edinburgh[6] Russia, Greece and Japan, and it also runs a Fetish fashion label.[2] TG ran a live stage show as the centerpiece of the Erotica exhibition at Olympia in 2004,[7] and hosted a night at the Barbican Centre art gallery to coincide with the "Seduced" exhibition.[8]

Rubber Banned, an exhibit of photographs of TG club-goers taken by fashion photographer Perou was shown in London and Paris in 2005.[9]

Celebrity attendees[edit]

Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese (who had her UK debut at TG),[10] performance artist Franko B,[11] Jean Paul Gaultier, Boy George, 90's punk band Fluffy, Jack Dee, and Marc Almond[4] have all been to TG nights.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharkey, Alix (17 February 1996). "Flexible friends". The Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Woolgar, Andy (10 November 2006). "Torture Garden". Time Out.
  3. ^ a b Perlmutter, Dawn (Fall 1999 – Winter 2000). "The Sacrificial Aesthetic: Blood Rituals from Art to Murder". Anthropoetics. 5 (2). ISSN 1083-7264. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Chambers, Catherine (2001). "It's Not All Whips And Chains, You Know". LondonNet Clubs Guide. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  5. ^ Price, Simon (26 September 2004). "Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, kiddywinks!". Independent.
  6. ^ Fettes, Miranda (9 October 2002). "Inside the Torture Garden – where anything goes". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  7. ^ Paine, Andre (12 November 2004). "Sex exhibits set to draw thousands to Olympia". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  8. ^ Newman, Rebecca (12 November 2007). "Rubber fetishists come out of the closet". The Times. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Review: up the Torture Garden path". Design Week. Centaur Publishing Ltd. 17 February 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  10. ^ "GOD OF FUCK 1 GOD 0". NME. 23 January 2001.
  11. ^ Halliburton, Rachel (26 April 2000). "It's a bleeding liberty". The Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2009.

External links[edit]