Thursday, 11 March 2010

Cat And God: Rat Scabies

Had communiqué about “Nudes in the Lambscape”. Had I seen "the cat in the bottle?" No. Furthermore. Did I know that cats come high amongst the most photographed subject matter of all time? And did I realise there were not cat photographs on my blog and this was my first albeit it accidental, word, of a cat? No. No.
But I do know cats are good climbers (“He climbs like a pussy-cat”); and cats catch rats; and lambs and sheep suffer from scabies (sheep’s babies – lamb-scabies?); and that I’m still sore from falling off a climb called Rat Scabies.
Rat Scabies (Christopher Millar, b.1957) was the drummer of The Dammed (a punk band back in the 1970’s, contemporaries of The Clash). And you have to (as I did) place a Crash Pad (a portable mattress for bouldering) beneath Rat Scabies to protect your landing (it’s a funny route: too short to require a rope but too high to fall from unprotected).  I flew off the mantelshelf and crashed down onto my carpet (flying carpet?) no less than eighteen times before I hobbled away.
Consider the route-description of Rat Scabies again: "Up a flake... move R to a mantleshelf (sic)." It’s interesting to note that mantelshelves collect dust (dead skin), and that scabies is 'the flaking-off of skin'. But am I going to write a letter to the route’s first ascensionist, one, Gabriel Regan, enquiring if he saw the linguistic/gymnastic connection when he first climbed and named the route back in 1975? No. But wasn’t there an Angel Gabriel? And although the phrase of “the lion shall lie down with the lamb” is one of the more popular quotes from the Bible, it’s really misquoted. In the King James Version, it’s the wolf that dwells with the lamb, and it’s a leopard that lies down with a kid, and “the calf and the young lion and the fatling together”. (Isaiah 11:6).
It’s God spelt backwards - God von hinten, God coming from behind that puts the ‘fear of dog' into sheep. But cat spelt backwards is tac, and TAC is the Transport Accident Commission (in the State of Victoria, Australia). TAC is involved with promoting transport safety and in improving Victoria’s trauma system. It has an excellent ‘crash data-base’ (crash-landing site?).
Forget cats, the real threat to sheep is picnic mats. The lamb may lie with the lion and dogs are a worry to sheep, but this flying picnic mat - this bastardization of a flying carpet - would really put 'the fear of God' into sheep. A farmer once told me, the shock of the sound caused when hot-air-balloons suddenly ‘fire-up’ over cows and sheep grazing often traumatizes them into aborting. Odd. With us balloons prevent the need for abortions. And at one time (in the 1500’s) weren’t sheep’s stomach’s used as condoms?

For further reading about both incarnations of Rat Scabies, see Christopher Dawes’s excellent, ‘Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail’, Sceptre Books, London, 2005: and, On Peak Rock, Carl Dawson (ed), BMC Guide Book, 1993.   

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