Posted at 22:07 on 25 Feb 2008 by Pandora / Blake
Near Tom's flat (well, his old flat, technically - he's currently in the process of moving out) is a rather wonderful old-fashioned off licence. It caters particularly to real ale drinkers, which suits Mr C and myself down to the ground. The place is a treasure trove overflowing with weird and wonderful bottles by breweries you've never heard of, with mythic, faintly obscene-sounding names like Verger's Tipple and Mossy Ring. Home from home. We haven't tried all of them yet, but while browsing the shelves a while ago we did discover this:
I couldn't believe it when I first saw it. And then I saw the name of the artist: Lynn Paula Russell. Who is, of course, the same person as Paula Meadows, a very well-known spanking artist and model whose work was featured in various editions of Janus in the '80s, and who ended up editing as well as illustrating its sister magazine, Februs.
Quite what one of her illustrations is doing on a beer bottle, we have no clue. In case you can't make it out, the text on the label reads:
If you know someone who's been bad give 'em a taste of the switch ... the Hickory Switch! They'll surely come back for more of this smokin' ale. This beer also makes a great ingredient to chili, BBQ Sauce, or as a marinade for red meat.
Which all sounds like it was written by an American wannabe rather than a serious ale enthusiast, and has damn all to do with hickory switches or bare bottoms. Nonetheless, their website confirms that the Fallen Angel Microbrewery are Sussex-based, as English as I am, and a decent-looking independent brewery. And strange as it seems, Paula seems to be illustrating exclusive art for their beer labels on an ongoing basis. (I wonder if she's a real ale drinker too? She and I seem to have several other things in common...)
If you're a fan of Paula's art, it's well worth a browse through the Fallen Angel website, which includes several previously unseen illustrations. Most of it's relatively tame by Februs standards, but there are a couple of more risqué images, such as Kama Sutra or Tawny Rose.
Sad to say, we didn't enjoy the beer as much as the label - we both agreed that it would be better suited as a marinade than a drink. But kudos to Fallen Angel, all the same. I can't bring myself to criticise any brewery that has such excellent taste in art.