Food, Entrepreneurship and Figurative Sculpture with Michael Speller

Michael Speller is a charismatic contemporary sculptor. He has works in many public places including outside of Millbank Tower in London.  His work is all about distinctive figurative forms which play with ideas around balance and rhythm in our lives (something I need to learn much more about!)

I began our discussion today by asking him, if he’d always been creative?

Michael: Yes. I’ve been creative all my life in different guises, really. I suppose the first thing was I created my own mobile beach cocktail bar and ended up taking it to Corfu and doing a summer in Corfu. So, there was a commercial element to it, but also the most important thing to me was just creating something that had never been created before. And this was like a big ball wheelbarrow but built up with a wooden stretcher and a trap door underneath a parasol with a parrot called, Harriet, hanging off the side of it and crushed ice underneath and cocktails. Now, the funny thing with it, the whole idea was it was supposed to move but basically it never moved because everyone ran to me and were so enthusiastic about this mad thing on the beach that I always had queues and I was handing in brochures the next summer to all of the core marketing people.

Lucy: That’s fantastic. really entrepreneurial as well.

Michael: Exactly. And then progressing from that my catering element was where I started…that’s what I did at college. I did a catering management course at Oxford Poly as it was then. Then I went on to start my own catering business which, again, was a little bit unusual. We’re talking a hell of a long time ago now but it was the first, sort of, delivery service. This is before even pizzas were delivered or they were just starting to be. This was an up-market delivery service with monkfish and prawn sort of pies and loads of exotic ingredients. And I was racing around in a dinner jacket serving these in Blackheath and Greenwich.

Lucy: I bet they loved that.

Michael: It was daily. It was utterly crazy, but at the origin of that was was my enthusiasm for an idea and then creating it. What seemed to happen is that it didn’t have that much longevity because actually maintaining it was less exciting than the creation of it.

Lucy: Yeah.

Michael: But it went on to…my catering business then went into a more formal role but with a mad kitchen at the back of an open-plan Delicatessen where we’d just go up to the markets in the morning and just cook whatever inspired us.

Lucy: Brilliant.

Michael: So again, a creative element.

Lucy: You’re not just thinking up ideas, you are, actually, bringing them to fruition because lots of people do have fantastic ideas but actually being able to manifest that creativity is another element. It’s a whole other dimension and obviously you were practicing that quite early it sounds.

Michael: Yeah. I think so. Also with that, moving on to sculpture, having a catering background where if you’re slightly out you’re totally wrong, you know, food that’s gone cold or gone off or just doesn’t visually look right, you’re flawed. You haven’t got a good finished product. So, coming into sculpture after that, I had quite a strength of character with deadlines and seeing something through because you have to and being decisive. I think a lot of the creative elements within people, it’s very easy to be hesitant and sometimes that’s for very good reason. But to move through that after being hesitant for good reasons and then pushing on and through is a training from a different sort of background – I think it has helped me a lot.

Lucy: I’m an absolutely hopeless cook. I wish I wasn’t but I burn everything and the reason is because I get very distracted. I tend to start reading novels in the middle of cooking things and everything burns. But, I’ve been watching, The Professional Bakeoff where you get these fantastic chefs from the big hotels competing against each other doing these deserts and I can see the sculptural essence behind what they do. And the techniques, I’m forever watching and thinking, “Oh. I’m gonna try that back in the studio.” Because they’ve got all these clever devices and very quick ways of doing things that actually I would have thought would take ages and they don’t.

Michael: No. And through necessity really, you know, it has to be practical, it has to be efficient within cooking to a certain degree. I do remember once a friend of mine who…a very good friend…she’s a painter… but she saw I’d done a big buffet for her parents so I know the family and she said a comment meaning to be very positive thing and I took it just the opposite,

“Oh. That looks almost artistic.” And I thought, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Hold on a second here. This is artistic. It’s in a different form.”

And bear in mind these were the days where in catering and food, and everything else, where everyone sees the skills and the artistic element. But go back 30, 40 years ago, it wasn’t quite the same thing. It was looked at as a sort of second and it didn’t have the same status as it does now.

Michael Speller’s Figurative Sculpture at Chelsea Flower Show. Image © Michael Speller

Lucy: So, when did sculpture wander into your life?

Michael: Well, that was… I can give credit to my wife, Sarah, for that. I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic. So when my catering business took off I was there six days a week, minimum 12 hours a day and truly great I had to get there at 6:00 in the morning and everything you saw in the Delicatessen I had made that morning. And so it was a feat of energy and endurance every day to create this whole visual display of food. But, she could see this is something that was not gonna last forever in as much I was absolutely exhausted myself and she said,

“Well, what you gotta do is something set put from what you’re doing. You need to do an evening class. You need to do something.”

I ended up doing an evening class in sculpting, surprise, surprise. And when I picked up the clay and started just molding with it I got totally obsessed with creating my vision in my head to the point where even when I was driving along in the car at times, in one hand, I had some… I’m sure this wouldn’t be very good for health and safety, but I had some clay in one hand trying to sort of fiddle and model. It became very much a focus of everything and within a year of starting that I sold my catering business and found myself a studio in Deptford in London. It was a charnel house which is a 14th-century place where, actually, people were put pre-burial or, if they couldn’t afford to be buried, the bones were stored in this building within the graveyard. And I was given a free opportunity to just use the space for a time, and that gave me the opportunity to develop and gain some knowledge.

Lucy: So, isn’t that funny? That was like falling in love or something. It sounds like an instant rapport that you had with the clay just as if it’s been waiting for you and suddenly you were there. I mean, I don’t think many people would think within a year, “Oh. This is for me a hundred percent.” This sounds like it only took seconds.

Michael: Well, it was really, I mean, it was a screaming head I’d done and it was obviously an emotion I felt very clearly inside me of something wanting to burst out and go in a different direction and I sort of articulated in this one piece. And immediately when you start in sculpture, I think you suddenly get a bit…you wake up with a bump of the process takes a long time if you’re doing plaster molds initially and chipping away and doing resin and learning. There’s so many skills to learn and I became quite obsessive in trying to discover ways of learning. I went to Chelsea and did a part-time degree there, but a lot of things I learned from people that were, again, working with certain things like plaster. I found a company that does specialist plasterwork for really posh houses and they do all the architrave in one-offs and calculate different shapes to do a plaster dome for a building. They were brilliant. And they allowed me to work alongside them and they taught me mold making and things like that, basically 90% doing on my own because they were busy what they were doing. But the elements that they gave me and advised me on were very practical, very efficient, and got the job done commercially in a successful way.

Lucy: But that’s brilliant because you’re no threat to them. You’re not trying to take business off them. You’re just trying to learn something and take it in your own direction. So that’s a brilliant way of learning and I think it’s people with very tiny niches that you can really learn so much from. I did a brilliant course last year it might have been, just the end of last year with plaster. You know they do these Venetian finishes with plaster? It’s really really clever…

Michael: Yeah. Very clever.

Lucy: And I turned up and I wanted to learn about the metallic finishes to see whether there was anything with them that I could use within conservation for certain finishes that we have to replicate. And, of course, the only thing was the first thing they did was put a bucket of plaster down in front of me and said, “So you just have to plaster that wall first.” Well, I’ve never plastered anything in my life. I was like, “Errr, this could take a while.”

Michael: Well, it is… And plaster is a funny thing, isn’t it? When you get to know it, it’s your friend and as much as you can do so many things with it but initially it’s just the opposite. You hesitate and it’s gone off before you’ve done anything.

Lucy: Well, I came home to my husband and was like, “You know, I could just plaster that bathroom this weekend that you’ve been, hanging around, not doing for ages.”

Michael: No, but that’s the glory of it, isn’t it? It’s just a whole discovery of a whole new area that you haven’t even considered before and suddenly it’s the skills and those techniques and those creative elements that you can take in your own direction to discover your own way of utilizing it.

Lucy: You were mentioning clay but being interested in plaster, I’m presuming you were quite drawn to the carving aspect as well.

Michael: Well, I think plaster what’s great when you’re learning early doors is you can put on and you can take off. Now, if you’re just carving, you know, you go wrong or, you never go wrong, but you go in a direction that you weren’t planning and you can’t retrace your steps. With plaster, the beauty of it is you can carve off and you can add and subtract all the time. Therefore, once you get into the rhythm of it just going off at a certain pace you can find your own way and your own direction quite easily. Quite a few of my early pieces were plaster and it also got me going back to the sort of dynamic of working fast and instinctive in plaster – it gives you that opportunity. I remember one of my early pieces which was Commitment and I was then in an open-plan studio with about three or four other sculptors and one of the sculptors had to be in there when I was doing this and I don’t think I’ve ever done it since. I completed a piece within a couple of hours which became a very successful piece but looking on he was staggered that it just came together and it wasn’t…it was a little bit abstract so it wasn’t like there was an obvious direction to go in. But plaster gives you that sort of confidence and rhythm that you actually stop thinking too much about what you’re doing. You just instinctively put some more on because it’s ready to go and as it’s starting to go off the texture that you’re going to obtain on the piece is different so you can achieve different things as it’s going less and less fluid. And, so, it’s quite a lovely playoff when you get into the zone if you like.

Lucy: You get that flow state and it is just such a special thing I think, and I people think if something has taken eight years it must be much more of a masterpiece than something that’s taken two hours, but actually, there’s absolutely no correlation with how brilliant something can be and what time it takes you. When you look at some of the literary greats, their novels have been written, and you realize some of those were written so fast – it isn’t true. And people that have laboured eight years over a book, no one wants to read it.

Michael: Yeah. No. It’s so true that. And in fact when I progressed onto working in clay, and things like that, the one thing I thought was actually the person who’s either buying or receiving the piece or looking at the piece is missing the exciting bit which is when it’s being created when you’re not quite sure where you’re going with it and, you know, when the hairs in the back of your neck are…sort of go up because you’re just into what you’re doing and you’re just truly in the moment. And what I did, again, quite early was decide to write down some of the thoughts that I was having prior to starting on the piece during and sometimes a bit after and I’m using the text to imprint on the final piece, the story of the process. So if I’ve got a strong thought at the beginning, I put those words down and as it develops I put other words down and that will be imprinted into the clay and therefore go on to the bronze and you’ve got that lovely story evolving of the closest I can get to the actual creative process which is also the finished piece but also the thought behind that piece.

Lucy: Also it’s so clever because of all the things that are lost. I find even when you write long and important documents that are supposed to relate to a project, somehow they seem to diverge from the object itself  – so, we have to do quite a lot of report writing with conservation about what’s happened to the object, why it’s happened etc., 9 times out of 10 when you try to find out about somebody else’s project that they may have worked on 20 years ago somehow that document has gone. Maybe … years ago it would have been filed away and no one ever saw it again and these days even digitally for some reason it seems to be incredibly hard but actually what you’re doing is you’re uniting your thoughts and there will never be a separation from those words now and that piece of work. People will always be able to engage with the connection that they have together, those words and that shape. Very clever, probably thousands of years it will still be connected together.

Contemporary figurative sculpture by Michael Speller. Photo © Michael Speller

Michael: Yeah. I think just also it just provides a lovely texture. So half the times, it’s not always that legible, but the texture it produces particularly when you’re playing with patina and stuff, you’ve got deep texture sort of pitted all over the surface so, therefore, it just gives more energy to the piece.

Lucy: So, do you have a creative practice particularly to get you in that lovely flow state? Do you have a sort of routine that you do every day?

Michael: No, not really. I mean, I think the biggest test for new pieces is whether I can remember… I have a thought. I don’t tend to sketch very much. I don’t tend to write a lot down and if that stays with me in my head for a period of time you normally filter it down and it becomes more refined in your head, or the alternative of that is you forget all about it… I’ve always had lots of ideas, but if it holds with you I believe it may be a stronger concept and therefore your edit is your memory. Having said that, I’m getting a bit older now. I think my memory now isn’t quite as good as it was. So maybe for the future, I might have to question that a bit, but up until now, that’s been a good way of working.

Lucy: But the thing is that there is something about kind of echoes that happen with ideas. Sometimes I have an idea and then it does float away from me but somehow I see it again. Something reminds me and it comes back to me which is always, as you say, it’s a good test of whether it’s got quality because it’s almost like a ball that bounces back to you and if it’s a good one you’re gonna catch hold of it.

Michael: Yes. And as you rightly said, you know, you get reminded of it sometimes from a totally different direction. And I like things that are playing in lots of different ways but telling the same story and received in different ways. So, if you do get reminded of it in a totally different circumstance, I think that is a reassuring moment really.

Lucy: And so, where are you seeking your inspiration? Are you out there looking outside at the world or is it quite an internal creative process?

Michael: I think it’s human frailty. Let’s start with my own so that’s where it started. But it’s trying to get a balance within one’s self and with one’s community and a lot of my pieces are when you look at them they are playing in a literal sense with balance. But it’s about trying to get a balance in your life and, you know, surprise, surprise, none of us are perfect and we have different skills and qualities and it’s trying to make the best of what we’ve got in many respects and a lot of my pieces are quite a bit offline. They’re not as straightforward as the first approach and some that you look at it and it looks kind of very straightforward, but then you see the angles of things and it actually isn’t quite what you expect. So hopefully, my belief with that really is then you look into more detail to what it’s about. So I always go back to food with these sort of things and, if, say we are trying to create an interesting piece of work may be the same as an interesting dish and, if you’ve got a curry, for example, if you look at a plate of food, firstly, it’s gotta appeal to you. But after you’ve gone beyond that and you’ve said, “Yeah. I’m looking at this, I’m interested. I’ve gotta taste it.”… It’s no good if it just is very hot. You want to find the depth of other flavors as you consume it and find nuances and other details in it. And it’s the same thing with a sculpture or any piece of art that you’re looking for layers to be within what you’re producing, I think.

Lucy: But then it also keeps you interested as well because as much as you want your audience to stand and see different things in it, I think if there isn’t those extra layers and flavors in the sculptural form, actually it’s not gonna keep your attention there either, is it? It’s going to have more than just the odd idea. There’s going to be more that comes together to keep you with it, I would imagine.

Michael: Yeah. I think that’s right. And it’s a constant question about one’s self and things happening around you that reflect, keep you stimulated, and different ways of presenting your individual world and the world around you.

Lucy: And so why bronze particularly? I know that you have worked in other materials as well, but you seem to have quite a dominant portfolio of bronze.

Michael: Well, I think it’s a really wonderful medium because it’s got so many…it can be used in so many different ways. It’s a very flexible metal. It’s… The patinas you can get from it are marvelous. But a lot of people wouldn’t know that you can actually spread bronze and this is my old foundry when I had three, oh boy, very small foundry. My first foundry that sadly is no longer in existence. But they used, the old bronze which isn’t the silica bronze that’s used today, had much more lead in it and the reason it had more lead or one of the reasons is in the olden days, they couldn’t weld. They had to just fix to… If you look at the sculptures in London, the ones over say a hundred years old or whatever, basically each section that’s poured needed to be sort of wedged in for the other section because they wouldn’t be welding it and therefore they would make a Roman joint which is if you imagine it as a shoulder and an arm, one will be slightly narrower than the other and you’d bang it into place but there’d be holes on both the inner section and the outer section which are slightly offline so that when you bang it in you then…when you can see part of the hole underneath you have a bronze nail that you bang in …and it pulls it in tighter and tighter so that the joint is safe and you have pins all the way around the joint. Now, at that point, you can still see where it’s come on to…the two sections have joined together and where the pins are but because there was so much lead in it you could actually then cut off the end of the nail or bronze and then spread it with a flat sort of chisel and the joint would disappear. And a lot of the old sculptures, not only in this country but around the world would have been done like that but you don’t see the joints. And I did that on a piece I was trained how to do that by, Bill, who was one of the old boys working at the foundry and I did that on-site because it was a practical way of solving installation. And I felt like a million dollars at the end that I had achieved something that is a bronze process that goes back so long.

Lucy: Well, can I tell you a rude name that we call it when we come across any of the bronze that has got a little bit of lead in it because it’s much harder to patinate, obviously. We call it bastard brass. That’s the name. So…

Michael: But I disagree with you with… I mean, obviously, if you’re trying to achieve a specific thing and you’re used to silica bronze, fine. But it just achieves different things.

Lucy: Yeah. But you have to remember that …my work, we are trying to match something that has aged very over a long period of time. So, we’re not trying to replicate a new patina and sometimes it fights you and we find that the more lead it has in it makes it a bit less compliant. We kind of say it’s a bit mulish. It kind of doesn’t want to do as it’s told.

Michael: Oh, well, that’s fascinating because… Well, that explains a lot because the old boys when they were patinating my work then would always struggle to be consistent of what they did, you know. We did a really incredible patina and I would do that again and they couldn’t go anywhere close to it. I think it was a combination of maybe the lead in the bronze and also their artisan approach which was, you know, a bucket of chemicals put in the arch overnight with big dark plumes of smoke which are obviously designed to kill and they’d leave it overnight and all the metal would melt in this mix and they would use that for the patina for the next day or the next month.

Photo © Michael Speller. Encompass Greenwich Hospital, London

Lucy: And it gets contaminated.

Michael: Yeah, it gets contaminated so it’s always changing. We got some of the most incredible things but also some awful messes.

Lucy Well, actually, funnily enough, the leaded bronze is the foundation of the story my first book that I wrote because as you may know,  I write fiction, and it’s all about leaded bronze because it’s also a story about alchemy and so you might be able to guess the kind of connection between leaded bronze. So that was the whole basis of my first book that I wrote because it kind of intrigued me and I thought… Someone has to write something about alchemy which is contemporary and so I tied it in with the leaded bronze idea. So, there you go.

Michael: I’m gonna have to read that. Yeah. No. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s fascinating. No. I get that totally.

Lucy: So, have you had any problems with bronze? Has it been difficult for you at all?

Michael: In the early days, the most interesting issue we had which could have been an absolute disaster, and I must emphasize it’s not the foundry I use now but we basically sand-casted a big circle. This was my first early circles and therefore the circle, well, it was about an 8-foot circle and it was solid bronze in four sections so they had to weld and fix the four sections together. And they did that successfully. The other mistake I made though was I didn’t go for a professional shipper. It was the client’s own builder that came with a flatbed and picked it up and he put it, the circle, upright which had a figure that was suspended in the middle of the circle which is quite weighty and just tied it to all four corners standing up on a rocky base and it went around the M-25.

I left it because they said they’re gonna drive slowly and I eventually was going about half an hour behind them and I came just off the M-25 and there’s a huge traffic jam and I thought, ‘God what is this? I’m not gonna get to the client in time before the rain gets there.’ And eventually, I’ve worked out that the road was totally congested because my ring had burst off the trailer into four different sections and all the welds had come off and it wasn’t so much the bad welds it was the pressure of pulling in four different directions on this as it was rocking and traveling for over an hour. So that was… Well, I was just so relieved no one was hurt. I mean, it burst across the whole of the road but this was a small road. But it could have been headlines on the M-25!  So it was a major one but I’ve gotta emphasize it’s never happened since and it’s also such a learning curve, you know.I’ve always focused on anything being transported now, and I make sure, that everything’s been done the right way.

Lucy: Again, talking about niches. That’s one of those things that I get asked quite a lot if we can move X and Y and I just say no because it’s not my area and there are people that are brilliant at that. They are the people I would recommend. You know, everybody knows their area. There was a project in the center of town near the Houses of Parliament I was asked about. I remember them saying they had this huge roof they wanted patinating and they just got the builder to do it. Of course, what happened?  7 million pounds worth of bronze roof and the whole bronze went black because they’ve never patinated anything in their lives.

Michael: They got no chance of doing it. Yeah. Absolutely.

Lucy: They may as well have used iron, and saved themselves a lot of money. So…

Michael: No. Crazy.

Lucy: So has there been any commission that has really stood out for you and that you’ve been really proud of to the extent that you thought if I never do anything again it’s all right because I’ve done this?

Michael: Well, I think I’ve had that lovely warm feeling a few times of pieces that I’ve completed but it doesn’t last long. You go straight on… It’s always the next piece, isn’t it? But with sculpture it’s…not only to do you have to be proud of the piece but it’s the location which you don’t always have full control over. So it’s a combination of the two and one of my pieces, Harmony, is inscribed in the same large circle, 8-foot circle, with a figure that’s suspended in the middle of it and I’ve got one of the addition in a lake in the west of Ireland and they actually made a stone walkway out to it onto the lake from the house. The skies you get in the west of Ireland are absolutely beautiful and all you’ve got is water and sky around this circle. And it doesn’t really matter. Every time I see images of it, it’s always different but it has the majesty. The majesty is obviously to do with the sculpture, but the location has to be right. And really when you’re doing other pieces, I’ve had the same sort of feeling but you install it… I always turn my back on the piece, walk away, and go to a quieter distance and then turn. And if it feels like it’s been there for the last hundred years, surely, it’s right. It’s that feeling of forever when you turn round which doesn’t always happen, obviously, but when it does you know you’ve got it right.

Lucy: Fabulous. Well, I wondered if there was anywhere that if you could have a shoutout to someone whose commissioning is there a place you’d like to see one of your sculptures?

Michael: Well, yeah. A public piece of work. I’ve got a few in London but at one point I got close to doing a really big piece for the Olympics which was going to be like the equivalent of the Angel of the South.

Lucy: We need an Angel of the South.

Michael: For one of the main roads, one of the main key roads coming into London. It would be fabulous to have a statement in the town that I live in, in the city that I live in and something that would be recognized as part of that city would be fantastic.

Lucy: Yeah. That sounds great actually especially as it’s got a meaning to you particularly.

Michael: Well, yeah. I mean, one of my very early public pieces was in Newham. In fact, that was in a hospital, a brand new hospital and it took me a time to really work this out but when it came to the opening I got my dad along and it was opened by the secretary of state for health and stuff like that so it was quite an exciting moment. It’s the first time I’ve had anything done like that and my dad at the end said you realize this would have been the equivalent the local hospital of where your mom would have been born and my mom died 20 years earlier than that. It just made me think, wow. What a privilege to have a piece of work that is part of my beginnings, part of my history. Obviously, it was a peaceful hospital and for other people to share but for my own personal history I just… I thought, wow. That is utterly amazing. It would have been literally within a mile of where my mom was born. So it’s things like that that make it special.

Harmony, West of Ireland © Michael Speller

Lucy: So anything you’re working on at the moment. Anything that’s currently on the bench?

Michael: Well, incredible things. I’m very lucky that the foundry has kept going in the current crisis and we just got a commission just prior to it for a big piece in Michigan in the States and we’re ticking along with that and it’s gonna be a huge sphere which I’m very excited about. It’s quite a complex piece.

Lucy: How huge is huge?

Michael: Well, actually in size of sphere it’s only about eight-foot but it’s made in 27 different sections so the pouring is 20 different sections and it’s hollow inside so it’s extraordinarily complicated to get to look right. So, you’ve got a polished bronze inside and details of 210 figures that are making the circle up and it’s their connection that is the story of the piece. And it’s never going to be right till you finish the last piece because you’re seeing it and through it, every element is either a perfect circle in shape or it’s not. So we have whole different techniques about producing it to ensure that we’ve got the shape right when we’re poring each section. When we cut it in the wax we don’t take it out of the mold. We actually put ceramic shell on one side then take it out of the mold, therefore, we’re ensuring as much as we can that the shape won’t bend in the wax at all. So you’ve got it very precise so each section…

Lucy: So it sounds like you’re quite hands-on at the foundry.

Michael: Well, I think you have to understand that you don’t create anything thinking about how it’s made but once it is created or you’re creating it the understanding and the sympathies and in this case, you have to get involved in the process and it’s a team effort, isn’t it, at the end of the day.

Lucy: Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in?

Michael: Yeah. And also there’s such a joy in that. I mean, it’s such an exciting process. Why would you want to miss out on that? You know, I spend a lot of time on my waxes, probably more than most people so each of my waxes even though it’s an addition of 12, they’re all slightly different because… I think, I can change this a little bit. And that’s the beauty of that stage in the bronze process. It’s playing with the wax and changing of it and adapting to the client I’m actually creating it for.

Lucy: So, tell everyone where they can find out more about you if they’d like to which I’m sure they’re going to.

Michael: Well, obviously my website’s the obvious one which is..  michaelspeller.com or spellersculptures.com. Both will get you there. I’ve got a lot of galleries around the country. Clarendon is the main gallery. I’ve got galleries around the country as well, in Dover Street, Central London, Kings Road, and stretching out of London and then a few further North but…

Lucy: Do you like social media, are you on Twitter or Instagram?

Michael: Yeah. I’ve got all that. In truth, I’ve got a good friend, Sally, who does that for me mainly because I’m just so involved in what I do I just don’t have the time to do that. But, yes. I am on all the other mediums. I think you can find me. Just put Michael Speller and then you’ll find whichever medium you want to find me in, I guess.

Lucy: Well, thanks for talking to us today, Michael. You’ve been great fun. Lots of great stories and I hope to be speaking to you again soon.

Michael: Okay. Nice talking to you, Lucy.

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