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Rock legend to croc legend

By guest editor Richard Caldwell

Posted August 21, 2017
rock legend lemmy
Croc rock: Lemmy in action back in 2005. Check bottom for credit

Richard Caldwell connects the dots linking Lemmy with the world of monster crocs, both real and mythological.

Lemmy Kilmister, the singer of the iconic metal band Motörhead, may have passed on to the great snakepit in the sky in late 2015, but as testament to his sinewy reach actual science nerds have done him a solid.

After taking a second look recently at a long-extinct, Jurassic-era crocodile originally unearthed at Peterborough roughly a hundred years ago, researchers from the Natural History Museum realised the behemoth had been previously misidentified and erroneously lumped in with unrelated sea-dwelling serpents of the time.

This particular creature was a giant croc, almost six-metres (20-foot) long.

Similar to what many vocalists of metal bands carry in their whiskey-stained leather pants, the same bit which the older, leathery-skinned groupies themselves tend to satellite towards as though their happiness depended on it.

lemmy crocodile fossil close-up
Croc gob close-up: Lemmy senior t'other day. Check bottom for credit

Interestingly, in Biblical times, which many a metal band fancies in their own repressed ways, the linguistics of the Hebrews saw no difference between crocodiles or serpents, along with alluding to eternity and the world itself all in the same bit of tongue.

And in Aleister Crowley's blasphemous interpretation of magic, acts of the '69' are an ode of sorts to the ouroboros, the mythic snake eating its own tail.

While in Norse mythology, also fetished by many a heavy metal band, there was a giant beast called the Jörmungandr, which stretched completely around the world to devour its own tail.

Rock gods always have to be chasing tail.

But this is not Lemmy's first brush with science-fantasy, having previously appeared in the 1990 film Hardware, which was inspired by a 2000 AD strip called Shok! by Steve MacManus and Kevin O'Neill.

O'Neill, of course, would later illustrate the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels, which among other curiosities explained how Hyde Park was originally called Serpentine Park.

Acknowledging the error of their progenitors in misfiling the giant crocodile, Lorna Steel, curator for the Natural History Museum, elected to rechristen the leviathan Lemmysuchus after her personal musical hero.

Well earned and well played, we say.

Cheers, Richard. I guess on that note, we'd better have some music. So here's Lemmy and the gang playing the rather apt Love Me Like a Reptile, although how exactly you're meant to do that is beyond me. Keep him under a lamp, feed him some insects and then let him lick his eyeballs, I guess. Whatever floats your boat, eh?

See also Ding Dong Merrily on High, posted 18/8/17, and Stranglehead at the Sweden Project, posted 27/7/15, among others.

Richard Caldwell
used to write for the now sadly defunct New Comics Day. Fortunately, his writings still abound elsewhere on the interweb, such as on his flippin' ace blog that you are strongly advised to check out here.

Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.

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Picture credits

Top pic of Lemmy by MarkMarek at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Bottom croc pic taken from the NHM Fossil Crocs Twitter feed here.

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