Barry Larkin, a retired bus driver from Shrewsbury, has suddenly had his life turned upside down this week, when completely out of the blue he received a call from the Turner Prize Committee.
Because following the late disqualification of one of this year’s barefaced chancers, Barry’s sculpture entitled ‘Winston Churchill’s Commodious Arse’, rendered in the medium of scraped-off-the-pavement chewing gum, is now in the running for the coveted gong with bookies quoting it joint-favourite at odds of evens.
A gobsmacked Mr Larkin told Mariella Frostrup: ‘I was in the studio when my phone went and the Chairman of the Judges told me the news. God knows how they knew about my Churchill’s Arse. I thought it was up in my attic with all the other pieces.’
However it has since transpired that ‘just as a bit of a giggle’ Barry’s wife, Reene, sent the work to a swanky gallery in London’s Mayfair for appraisal and events have snowballed from there.
Gallery Owner Max Ballinger says: ‘As soon as I unwrapped the thing It blew me away and I knew it was perfect to give this year’s Turner Prize a much-needed new splash of controversy. You know, just to stir up a storm with The Daily Mail and its readers who are bound to start foaming at the mouth and calling it rubbish.’
‘However we will maintain it’s a profound study showing the conflict between the normal and sub-normal peripheral conscience. What a lark! Eh?’
And Ballinger’s enthusiasm is borne out by the hefty price tag he has placed on the work, because if you want to buy it it’s going to set you back a cool £50,000. But adds Max: ‘Should it win the Turner I wouldn’t rule out the distinct possibility of somewhere in the region of an eight-figure sum at auction.’