Bath Sea of cider.
Spain is my favourite country in the world. In July 2000 I made my second trip there thanks to Norman Fernandez, who invited me to be a guest at the Semana Negra in Gijon in Asturias on the north coast. They had an exhibition of From Hell art in a big marquee and a 60-page catalogo/appreciation in the style of the KSP From Hell to go with it. I think that was the last time I still owned enough of it to make a show. They'd made a big plaster statue of Jack el Destripador which stood in the middle of the marquee and I had to pose with the big ugly thing for the paper La Voz de Asturias
But the interesting part of this trip was the cider. Now, you have to get this thing right. It must be poured like the little bloke is doing on this label I soaked off a bottle. The liquid is flat and this aerates it. A mouthful plunges from a height, you chuck it down your gullet and the glass is refilled and passed to the next person. The health inspector of my borough would have an apoplectic fit at the thought of it:
I knew I wasn't going to get out of Gijon without being asked to perform the offices of cider pourer, so when I was asked to draw a cover illustration for the festival's daily journal, the natural thing was to draw myself practicing in the shower. Editor Angel de la Calle had me fixed up with some paint and brushes. I taped the paper to the wall using the masking tape I always carry when I travel (you never know when the sole of your shoe will come loose or the leg of your eyeglasses). And I cut the paper using nail scissors (looking at the raggedy edges reminds me).
Angel had wanted a black ink drawing and was despondent when he saw what I handed in. I used a toned paper so that i could apply both white and black/grey. It was slightly green, and textured too, but i didn't see these as problems. Poor Angel thought I was handing in a colour job. I said, no, just photograph it for grey half tone and everything will be fine. I came down the stairs at the hotel the next morning and the girl behind the desk was smirking, so I knew the piece was in print. There it was on top of the daily papers on the coffee table in the lounge. The paper is quite large. I had to scan this in four parts:
My trusty translator in Gijon, Nino Ortea, later sent me this form La Nueva Espana. 26 august 2000. "A Sea of Cider' it says, (I'm guessin, Nino, but maybe I learned something after all.). it appears to be a grab at the guinness record, having 2,639 personas all pouring themselves a cider simultaneously on the beach. The previous record, apparently, was 2,104 in 1999. they must go for it every year. And they were out there enjoying it with sausages cooked on the barbacoa:
This photo goes all the way across a tabloid center-spread (all images click to enlarge).