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Banksy The Rat - or so they say...

Liverpool's poet laureate, Reggie McCough, commemorates the sale of the Whitehouse pub with an ode to the artwork which faces death by a couple of coats of Dulux

Published on February 24th 2010.

Banksy The Rat - or so they say...

Professor Chucklebutty has been looking at the work of art by Banksy, which, for now, stands on the wall of the derelict Whitehouse pub in Duke Street.

The pub, which recently sold at auction for £114,000, is to become “luxury apartments” and the owner, Billy Palmer, a club owner, from Kirkby, plans to paint over the work, because he doesn't like modern art.

"I'm not a fan of modern art, I can't say I know much about it really," Mr Palmer told The Guardian after buying the building at auction.

"All I was concerned about was getting this great building for a good price.

“I might leave the Banksy on the wall until last, just to see how it looks, but it will have to go to get the look I want.”

This is perhaps the second insult. Council bosses had the whole thing covered up at the start of 2008, European Capital of Culture year, because they deemed it an eyesore. They later relented after it was explained to them.

In actual fact, this Banksy is a rarity because it was signed by the artist, although that bit has long been nicked.

But some people won't be told that it's a rat and not a cat.

The Professor has reached the view that the artistic subject matter is more akin to a large black and white cat, rather than a Rat, despite it having a rodent's tail – although that bit's largely been nicked too.

In an attempt to resolve this debate, he has commissioned his close friend, well - known Liverpool Artist and Poet, Reggie McCough to present his argument for him through verse.


By Reggie McCough

The Whitehouse pub in Liverpool has recently been sold
Complete with work by Banksy, of a Rat we have been told

There may be rats inside but on the outside wall of fame
It looks like a Felis Cattus, to give the Latin name.

Don’t say to me look at the tail to try and make your case
that it’s Roland Rat when clearly it is Bagpuss round the face

Even if it’s meant to be, don’t take me for a fool
You’ve done a cat and that is that, go back to drawing school.

The name should match the subject even if it’s just a blob
You wouldn’t call Epstein's Kiss “Gorillas On The Job”.

Or Mona Lisa “Gurning With a Cheeky Randy Grin”
as Da Vinci said, give me the look like you’ve got the love eggs in.

The “Laughing Vauxhall Vectra” can’t replace a Cavalier
Whistler’s “Dad In Drag” has not the warmth of Mother Dear.

Or, “Woman With Her Kit Off Standing In A Giant Scallop?”
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus makes her much less of a trollop.

Leonardo’s Last Supper, well you really wouldn’t hurry
to see it if the name was “Lads, Let’s All Go For A Curry.”

What of Van gogh’s famous Sunflowers? They'd surely raise some laughs
If they had gone to auction, labelled as a bunch of daffs.

And what of old Picasso,would his talent have been missed
If his paintings were of Katy, The Oxo Cube cubist?

So is this a case of The Emperors Clothes with people scared to say
They t’ought they taw a puddytat when it saw the light of day?

Now it seems it’s called a Rat, that’s what it’s meant to be
Well call it what you want mate, I know what I can see.

It’s a cat and not a rat that adorns the old Whitehouse.

Look at it, admit it, what are you, a man or a mouse?

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36 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2010.

at least it keeps people talking.... when it's gone, it's gone and the building will be just like any other. I agree - open it as a pub

Professor ChucklebuttyFebruary 22nd 2010.

Actually...now you mention it, it does look a bit like a Pitbull...the fat head and piggy eyes..hmmmm perhaps an apology is in order......oh wait no..I was looking at your Facebook photo. Awfully sorry.

B. KlibanFebruary 22nd 2010.

Obviously it is a cat.

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2010.

Ma boab!

Anthony BluntFebruary 22nd 2010.

Looks more like a cat to me, Dig

Liverpool BiennialFebruary 22nd 2010.

It was not actually commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, but was a welcome addition all the same!

tomFebruary 22nd 2010.

Thought people might like to know there is a petition on facebook to keep it with over 1000 members already www.facebook.com/…/group.php?gid=332508932168…

BanksyFebruary 22nd 2010.

I couldn't give a toss. More importantly we need to nip the HeARseGrAVes/ ChuCkAbutTie feud in the bud. We can't have fighting on these pages. We should all join hands and be friends. Lots of love, Dig. Sorry, I mean Banksy.

Professor ChucklebuttyFebruary 22nd 2010.

Oh no...it's daRren HarDSLleevEs! Don't you be coming it on here mate, not in front of my public. I suppose you think you know all about dogs, living over the battered dogs home, and pinchong the Chappie from their bowls for your sandwiches no doubt.Offering them to old ladies round the bowling green. I've heard all about it from Mr Clack. he's been spying on you compiling a dosseryay. Never mind my eyes if you think it's a dog then you want your head testing. Pitbull my terriarse! I may ask Reggie to write an odd odour about you.

Liverpool WagFebruary 22nd 2010.

Dig, people in London get paid many millions of pounds by our own city council to think of such ideas. Stop dropping your Es so casually.

KnowledgeableFebruary 22nd 2010.

Since quite recently. I wondered when you would notice. Anyone going to Alex Corina's bash in Garston this evening?

Liverpool wagFebruary 22nd 2010.

I wonder what Banksy would make of this.

Mr Derek HargreavesFebruary 22nd 2010.

oH hULLO They're mR.chukkalbutie its' hargeves hear now juts yOU lissen ep an LisiIN GUD COS iTS' an dam stinkin dogge knot an bleedin cAt oar an stinkin ratte eye fink's yUO needs',you's dam i's tesstin if yuo askes me mr shukkalbetty ahahahahahahahaa. huLLO oh hallo yes i finks' iT's won off them pitball terrors

DigFebruary 22nd 2010.

Yeah keep it as a pub. Could even try to get a Banksy exhibition in The Black-E and rename it 'The Banks-E' for the duration of the exhibition.

RigsbyFebruary 22nd 2010.

Luxury flats? On that noisy, busy corner? My arse!

Ken The Feral MoggieFebruary 22nd 2010.

I can settle this right now. It is a cat. because I know who modelled for it. It was our Maureen. That Banksy promised her that this was the start of a whole new career and she would be Elizabeth Siddal (or Tiddals) to his Rossetti. It was all rubbish of course, he legged it with his brushes, after giving her a tin of pilchards and a phoney contact number. She's still digging in the bins round the back of Berry Street. Silly cow!

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2010.

open it as a pub and a rename it ' the rat 'it will become world famous

GFebruary 22nd 2010.

I wish I had of went to that Auction! I would have bid more than that and saved the Banksy!

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2010.

put loads of banksy art work up inside too!!

Louis WainFebruary 22nd 2010.

A cat indeed!

Schalken the PainterFebruary 22nd 2010.

And to me too!www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/index.asp…

EditorialFebruary 22nd 2010.

Ah, that's what happens when we believe what we read in national newspapers of record. Thanks LB, will amend accordingly.

Mr Derek HargreavesFebruary 22nd 2010.

haLLO mR.chukklebutton noW juts you luck hear mr chuckletubby cos oW stiNKIN dair yuo starT lybellin an slandrin me lyke thiS cos eye as nevva knot once eated dOG-fewd in mY hole bleedin live so juts yUO bares' that in mine from now on cos i as an gUD mEIND TOO noKKE YOU's dam hed orf ahahahahahaha but its' probly best iF i dun say nuFFIN violint on ear mr shuklebatty cos thay mite chukk me orf the dam sight foR bein too aphensive ahahahahahahahahhaahhahahaha huLLO from hergreaves''no it wun be the firse thyme neever mR.bucklechutty cos thay as banned mE fROM SUMMAFEILDS' an fROM adsa i dun no who the stinkin helle thay finks' thay is mr luttlebucky cos all i won'TS IS TOO DO mY stinkin shoppin in piece but thay's allweighs sumwon gosipPIn an mummlin abote me an trakkin me downe juts lyke that dam stINkIN mR.clakke well juts you lets me tells yuo sumfin mr choclatbuTTY cos i as bin earin sum weeyad skreemin noices coMIN fROM juts outsight my winda's these pats phew kNigHTS so its probly mr calck in it,,i sed in IT.well eye is know longa reponsibull foR mY axions mr shuklebutter if eye catshes the wikkid deval iN thE AKT cos i is juts abote at the end off my Patients' mr clucklebuTTY an my leajuns off spys is arm'ed an reddy ahahahahah oh its deker hasgarves hear buy the WeIGH,yes i is heldin mY hed ep hye in spight off all the lice.wELL muts dashe i wuLL be tellin evrywon abote you's frillin artikle mr chukelbutty cos i finks its darnwrite apawlin wot thays planNIN TO DEW TOO thAT likkle petball terror oar wottever the helle it is,,,,huLLO no i dun giv an dam know maw'

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2010.

doesn't matter what it is really... just that it is a Banksy and with that it has become a tourist attraction... the purchaser of this 'pub' should keep it a pub - it will make a lot of money - it's historic as a pub and the modern art angle now makes it unique.... DON"T BE A FOOL!!! KEEP IT AS A PUB!! KEEP THE ART WORK!!!

ukmaggie45February 22nd 2010.

Mr Palmer is stupid to paint out the Banksy Cat/Rat - most of his intended purchasers of "luxury apartments" (puke) would probably pay extra to have this super art work on the outside of the building they inhabit.Come on Liverpool City Planners, stick a protected painting order on this building and stop this philistine removing a fun piece of art!

Oor WullieSeptember 21st 2010.

But the problem here wee Dig is that this 'Banksy' didnae paint a rat or a cat, he just sprayed paint through a crude stencil making the image ambiguous. It's hardly Rembrandt!

Felix TabbySeptember 28th 2010.

Here, look at this close-up.
It plainly has a CAT's muoth. A rat has two long rodent teeth projecting downwards and backwards at all times.

Professor ChucklebuttySeptember 28th 2010.

Quite right Felix, as I said at the start, it is quite clearly a Cat. Now there was a recent interview between that great pudding of an art critic Brian Suet and Reggie McCough, in which Reggie said he now believed that it may be a weasel. Well take no notice of that, he's just doing a poem about art in Liverpool for the biennial and needed a rhyme for easel. He didn't even know what the Biennial was, he thought it was something to do with Fred Scuttle. I said that's Benny Hill you fool. This is the Biennial, it comes round every...er….every…..now and then.

Anyway a little research down at the records office has proved beyond any doubt that this painting is definitely celebrating a cat, and a very famous one too, known to all Liverpooliots and celebrated in song.

The so-called Banksy Cat is in fact a tribute to none other than Moggie May.

Yes, she may have been known to ply her trade down Lime Street but at around 11.30 she was generally up against the wall at the back of Berry Street. This was the very spot where the judge he guilty found her, of having a MacDonalds quarter pounder. (I expect a Scottish Regiment was in town or some big Jock)

Yes the idea for the painting is all there in the original song.

Oh Moggie, Moggie May
I will paint you here one day
Up against our favourite alehouse wall
While I've lead in my pencil
I'll fill in your big stencil
Then you can show your tail to one and all.

Glad that's now settled.

Did you know that the famous Liverpool Liverbird is actually an Emu?

Yes, it´s the same as the one on the Coat Of Arms belonging to Hull.

Lars KrapkokkerSeptember 29th 2010.

This picture is more like a cat than a rat! Everyone in Sweden and Scandinavia agrees:-

1 Response: Reply To This...
Olaf OlafsenApril 27th 2014.

Yes, apart from that English dolt, poking his dilettante nose into our healthy Scandinavian web pages.

Dr. StrabismusSeptember 29th 2010.

Rats have long, protruding front teeth just like The Whiskerley Sisters on 'Pinky and Perky'. The painting clearly that of a cat.

Denzil Stencil-PencilOctober 1st 2010.

If the liver bird is actually an emu as the Professor contends, that would explain why it was that when I was in primary school the pencils were all stamped with 'Liverpool Education Committee' and the rubbers with 'EMU'.

Fern GroveOctober 6th 2010.

Deffo a cat.

Judge S. WeintOctober 14th 2010.

Of course it should be kept as a pub, too many of our landmark amenities are disappearing to be replaced by cheaply-built, ugly flats for quick profit. The problem is of course that high property prices mean that speculators can make a handsome killing by replacing any buildings they buy with flats, no matter how well-loved by the community about or whatever its architectural merit or cultural credentials.

On the other hand who would want to run a pub in these parlous times, particularly since the smoking ban has turned most pubs into doomed financial millstones around their landlords´ necks rather than profitable assets?

There´s no doubt about the answer to the other question though. It´s a cat.

Rattus RattusOctober 14th 2010.

This is what a rat's mouth looks like:

Nothing like the painting on the wall!

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