The main thing that separates humans from animals is that humans have the good sense to hide how disgusting we truly are. Why else do you think we invented closets, drawers and IKEA box shelves? To keep our most revolting possessions out of sight and our friends close, of course.
With that in mind, we asked some of our friends to let us have a peek at the skeletons they keep in their closet, under their bed or in the freezer. Obvs, our main intention was to embarrass them.
HAYLEY, 33. MANCHESTER
VICE: What is your most embarrassing possession?
Aisha: Ukko, the rat. He's in the freezer. Ukko was one of a pair when he was still alive.
How long has he been in the freezer?
I'm not a hundred percent sure, but it must be about 10 months. I kept him with the intention of burying him but haven't managed to find anywhere suitable yet. Somewhere I can be sure he wouldn't get dug up and eaten. I didn't want to wake up and see him as a big mess on my front lawn. So he's just stayed in the freezer. My intention isn't to have him as a permanent feature though. I need to find him a home.
How much of a secret is Ukko?
Well, it depends. If someone was coming around for dinner, I wouldn't tell them there's a frozen rat in the freezer. I guess, I judge it on who's visiting.
OLIVIA, 23. CHESHIRE
VICE: Tell me about the box first.
Olivia: The box is a collection of all my little memories. Little keepsakes I've kept from various experiences. I've been building it up since I was about 10.
Can you walk me through some of the most important bits in it?
Firstly, there's a picture of me and my Mum. I like it because my Mum looks like she absolutely adores me in it and she's so happy. I don't remember when it was taken but I do remember where – it was in one of our first houses in Prestbury. At the time, my Mum was working away a lot. This must have been taken in the weekend, when I would tell her about all the things I'd been doing while she was away.
Also, there's this Bridgestone hat my Grandpa Sean gave me. He gave it to me and said I could be a race car driver if I wanted. I promised him I wouldn't throw it away, but also I kept it because he would always tell me I could do anything with my life and this hat symbolised that for me.
The last item is a picture of me and Harry Styles. We used to be really good friends and went to the same school. Then he became really famous. We used to hang out a lot, and do lots of silly things. On this day, we found a reel of Manchester United Against Racism stickers and because we were young and found everything hilarious, we ran around Crewe plastering everything with these stickers. I kept this before I knew how his life was going to change, so it's even nicer to have now that I never see him.
Why do you keep this box?
It's so easy to forget little details – like the Manchester United Against Racism stickers or my Grandpa's faith in me. These keepsakes trigger those memories. It also means that when I have kids, I can show them these things and tell them about my life. I'll also be able to prove that I was friends with Harry as there is no way they would believe me otherwise.
ROBERT, 29. LONDON *
VICE: So what's in the box?
Robert: There's a Peaky Blinders-esque cut-throat razor, what looks like a WW2 commando knife, some sort of small stabbing dagger and a sort of knock off Bowie knife. They're all very rusted and were all covered in mould when I found them.
How did they come into your possession?
I moved into this place in Hackney, with quite a chaotic basement. It had all of the previous occupant's stuff crammed in, and it got mixed in with all of my stuff. When I finally got around to clearing it out, in the very, very back corner I found this little mouldy box. And in the mouldy box were all these mouldy knives. I took them and I cleaned them.
I think some people may have been freaked out, but I just thought "Oh, how nice." I've been collecting knives since I was a child, but a few years before I moved there my olde house was raided by the police and I had to quickly get someone to take my collection and throw it away. So finding the mouldy box felt like a gift from God. As if he was saying, "I'm sorry about what the police did to you. It's all going to be fine. Here's some lovely knives."
Why are you keeping them in a secret box?
I guess it's because they could be murder weapons. It's not a good look to publicly associate yourself with weapons of any kind. Even though I collect weapons, I'm pretty much anti-violence – i'm just a great, big hypocrite really.
It's interesting but also unsettling not knowing what they've been used for, right?
I mean yeah, they could have just been letter openers or paperweights. The commando knife could have been used for anything – it could have killed a nazi. Or it could have just sat on an officer's desk, occasionally used on his nails. I find them interesting – but it's not like I spend hours gazing into their blades, wishing they could talk to tell me their story.
TIM, 27. MANCHESTER
VICE: What are you going to show me?
Zach: My horrendously embarrassing 2005 diary. I used it as a diary for the first week I had it before re-appropriating it into a notebook for awful, emo lyrics.
What are the lyrics about?
An unrequited love. Well, I say "love" – I think I just thought I was in love. You know how it is when you're in your late teens – you can get pretty hooked on a person. I vented these frustrations in my attempts to write lyrics for my band.
I'd sometimes get pretty angry at just how awful they were as you can see from my scribblings. I particularly like the line "Does she like me, does she not? I always thought that she was hot." Top quality writing.
Have you shown this to anyone else?
Hell no. This is the most embarrassing thing I own. Yet, for some reason I can't get rid of it.
GEORGE, 26. LONDON *
VICE: What are you showing me today?
George: Magic Mushrooms. I've never done them before. I've always wanted to but I've never had the opportunity, none of my dealers ever sold them and I've been too scared to try picking some myself.
How did they come into your possession?
I was finally offered some by a guy at Secret Garden Party. I instantly bought three grams but didn't end up having any at the festival. I thought I'd save them for a more relaxed occasion.
How secret are the mushrooms?
Obviously, I wouldn't show my parents when they visit and I'm pretty open about drug use with my friends. I'm just keeping them a secret for now, until I decide who I want to do them with.
KATHY, 52. CHESHIRE
VICE: What are you showing me today?
Sarah: It's a big box full of my Dad's letters. He passed away a few years ago, so there is also his death certificate, and some other memorabilia – little bits and pieces of him.
Do you keep all those things a secret?
Yes, definitely. I like to keep the box away from everyone else. I read the contents maybe once or twice a year. I get quite upset when I do, but I still like having this box in my possession.
What are the most significant things in the box?
Probably his humour – he used to send lots of Andy Cap strips of cartoons. I also love the postcards he sent from everywhere he had been. He would scrawl for hours on these to get all of his emotions down. Everything in this box is important to me.
Can you tell me a bit more about him?
He was an alcoholic. He was a really loving, kind man. Really interested in his music. He was American, born in Boston. He moved around the country a lot, from the East coast to the West coast, from Boston to Reno to Seattle. My Dad liked to hunt as well, and he'd often go on breaks to Lake Tahoe.
What would you do if you ever lost this box?
Cry my eyes out. That would be one of the few things I'd risk my life for in a fire.
STACEY, 29. BATH *
VICE: What's your hidden item?
Stacey: They're a couple of ecstasy tablets I've had for a long time.
How long have you had them?
I don't really remember when they're from, but they're definitely old enough to make me sick if I took them now. I still keep them because I don't feel like letting go of the idea of that intended big night out. They're hard to find and I spent loads of money on them, but now I've got a baby so it's unlikely I'll be going out any time soon. Especially taking drugs. I guess they've become a sentimental relic.
* Some names have been changed to protect the characters' identity.