Sunday 18 February 2018

D4's favourite son is going on display – and it's like, ort actually?

John Spain Books Editor

It's the Ross O'Carroll Kelly book cover that's never been seen before. And one look tells you why! It was done as the cover for Ross's Should Have Got Off at Sydney Parade book, in which he goes through a phantom pregnancy.

But Penguin Ireland boss Michael McLoughlin's full head of hair turned completely white when he saw it and he said No! I'd rather go bald than publish that, he told his staff.

An appeal that this was, like, ort, and that anything that Demi Moore could do on the cover of Vanity Fair, Ross could do better, fell on deaf ears. So the image that was used on the cover of Sydney Parade had a pregnant Ross alright, but wearing a rugby shirt over his bump.

The naked and pregnant image of Ross, however, has been saved for posterity. It's just one item in a magnificent new exhibition of Ross ort which celebrates artist Alan Clarke's 10 years drawing Ross through 14 bestselling books and two stage shows.

Ross says that he has a face and a body that belong on a gallery wall, although he says that in fairness Clarke has never got his abs right.

So he's not surprised that from tomorrow the big exhibition of original illustrations, prints and posters will open in the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin and run up to Christmas. Prices for the original colour drawings for the Ross book covers go from €600 upwards. So it's not cheap, roysh?

"Almost all the Ross drawings over the past 10 years will be there and everything is signed by both myself and the author Paul Howard," artist Alan Clarke said.

"Originals of some of the illustrations from inside the books are around €200 but there are also limited edition prints for around €90. Everything is framed."

If you are financially challenged, there will also be a range of Ross merchandise, like mugs, calendars, badges and keyrings which are much cheaper.

So where did Clarke get his inspiration for Ross? "I didn't have to do any research', he said. "It's all in the books.

"And travelling on the Southside DART after schools rugby matches helps as well."

Irish Independent

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