Let me Outta here!
These guys fell off the shelf while I was looking for something else and reminded me that Christmas is less than a week away. The fashioning of these little chaps owes something to the same impulse that guided Michelangelo. It is said that when he carved the Dying Slaves for the tomb of Julius II it was 'a process of highy symbolic direct carving which consists in freeing from the dead stone, the raw inert material, the beauty it imprisons'. As the great artist himself said in a sonnet "The marble not yet carved can hold the form/ Of every thought the greatest artist has..." Well, it was exactly like that when, at the end of one of our Christmas parties here at Castle Campbell, I was gazing at the champagne cork after the delicious liquids had all been consumed, and I was certain I saw my pal Evans in there, asking to be let out. "let me outta here!" I heard him yell. So I immediately took to the cork with my acrylics and my scalpel and in short order there was Evans on the table. Well, a miniature version of him I mean. And then this became a tradition here at our house. Neil Gaiman recently said that you can make anything into a tradition. Just do it and name it a tradition, but make sure you remember to do it again next year. And remember we did. Every year at the end of our Christmas bash, and after other mid-year parties, the cork would be retrieved from the floor and one of those present, or even not present but dear to our funny bone, would request to be let out of it. There were a dozen of them at one stage. I know this because our lad Callum used to get them off the shelf and put them in a 12-size egg carton, standing room only, and, pretending it was a bus, drive them all over the floor of the house. He even took them to school for show-and-tell once, introducing them as 'the cork people'. Looking at them now, the sheen has gone off them and their paint is chipped, and only four of them remain. It should also be mentioned that they once had necks, but champagne corks find their way back to a cylindrical shape if you don't tie string around them. In the foreground above is my pal Mullins, my right hand nib thorugh From Hell and Bacchus, and on the left my father himself, giving me a stern look. I don't think he knows about this tradition.