Friday, February 24, 2012

Cool Covers 5?

While I'm scanning new book covers to discuss, I thought I'd throw this puzzling entry into the ring. Not a book cover, but in the same strange spirit?

Back when I was living in Kingston for the second time (1999-2001) my neighbour Steve Heighton introduced me to retsina. We both knew that this was not a high-calibre Greek wine, but man is it refreshing when chilled. I don't know if its the resin or the grape, but nothing I've encountered tastes as cold as this beverage.

I've taken to drinking a glass of Malamatina while doing my evening reading of poetry and have been pondering this strange label:

I believe the Greek in the top corner translates as "Malamatina forever!" and I understand why there are grapes at the top, but what are we to make of the central figure?

Is it supposed to be a child? A dwarf? Is it wearing diapers? To me it looks like Tintin or Astro Boy on a bender, or a teletubbie hitting the bottle. And why is it drinking wine out of a mug?

And then there's the key. What's it supposed to be opening? One's gullet? Is it loosening one's inhibitions? Or is it a key to happiness? If it's some wind-up element it's on the wrong side of the figure.

I find this as inscrutable as a free mason emblem and I haven't been able to find anything online about the origins of this design. Perhaps someone better-versed in semiotics can give me a hand....

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