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....