“I am not sure if the wolf of Kukuxumusu wants to eat or kiss the sheep!”
Laurence Arnold lives in London, where he was born. He works for a charity – administering money left in Wills. “It’s a good job and most who do it have a strange sense of humour”, he points. As a volunteer at a bird centre, he takes people on walk to look at bats at the London Wetland Centre, a place full of wildlife. He often wears a Kukuxumusu t-shirt or a Buff full of stories, and people ask him: “Where did you get it?”.
Does Kukuxumusu humour work with British people?
I think so. Maybe all those years of fishing and whaling by our nations together was helped by a shared sense of humour! I think the humour is quite universal – who doesn’t like animals being crazy?
How do people around you react when you wear a Kukuxumusu t-shirt?
Most ask where I got it! I volunteer at a bird centre and twice a year we have to catch the captive birds (they cannot fly, but are good at hiding) and do blood tests. Often the birds will bleed all over the staff – one year I wore my ‘Psicopata’ shirt and everyone wanted one. I also wore the ‘Born To Fly’ one when watching the local Peregrine Falcons chicks attempting to fly and the other volunteers said we should all wear them next time.
Which is the last item you have bought in our online shop?
A long-sleeve shirt with lots of bats on it – bats are another of my wildlife volunteering loves. I wore it when taking people on a walk to look at bats at the London Wetland Centre. I bought some more Buffs too – you can never have enough Buffs, especially Kukuxumusu ones.
What do you like most about our brand Kukuxumusu?
The humour. I love Gary Larson (Far Side), Loony Tunes, Aardman Animation, etc. I love that animals have character and can be naughty and the t-shirts and designs show this. I love the unique designs. I am always being asked where I get my t-shirts from.
What does it come to your mind when hearing “Kukuxumusu”?
I have a friend who lived in Euskadi and she told me several meanings! I know there is a flea and kissing. There is a band called Penguin Cafe Orchestra and they have a song called “The Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas”, so in my mind Kukuxumusu means the ecstacy of the kissing flea because of this!
Which is your favourite drawing?
Definitely ‘Escondido’. I am not sure if the wolf wants to eat or kiss the sheep! I love the sheep designs. “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” is an English expression and fits with this design. The skull holding the brain is a good one – this one I always get asked where I got it from! I love the ReporT-shirts too, this is a great range and I always like when there is a new one.
I guess you really love animals. Anyone in particular?
Oh this is the hardest question ever! I love reptiles, they are so misunderstood… But birds can fly… Fly!!! Imagine if you could. The arrival of migrating birds is such a moving sight – they know no boundaries or country politics. We could learn so much from them, we should let migrating birds rule the world.
How did you know about Kukuxumusu?
I love watching cycling. Some years ago, I saw the orange jerseys in the peloton. Since then, I bought the Euskaltel Euskadi team new jersey each year, because it was my favourite team too. I would wear it most times I cycled too.
Did you ever meet basque people while wearing those t-shirts?
Yes. And I bought other items, too. For instance, wearing an Euskaltel Euskadi hat I have been welcomed by Basques in a lot of coffee shops. It is a good way to make friends.
Have you ever been in the Basque Country?
Not yet. But I love that a tiny part of the world has so many great cyclists. I have since read books about Basque history. A lot of people say I look Basque too, although my family tree shows I am a Londoner for many many generations…
Where would you like to go in your next trip?
I’d like to visit Antarctica! Last November I was in the Arctic circle for a couple of days and saw the Northern Lights – I want to go back there again. I would also like to visit “Euskal Herria” (Basque Country).