Monday, 19 September 2011

Aarrr Sachin Lad

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Quite possibly the most important day of the year.  Or not.  Devised for mysterious, but probably facile, reasons by a couple of guys in Oregon US the celebration first saw the light of day in 1995 since when it has spread to many parts of the civilised world.

Of course the organisers take pains to point out that they do not mean to celebrate the brutal side of piracy such as walking the plank and other assorted and random acts of cruelty.   Far less talking like a modern Somali pirate - mercifully not many people know the Somalian for 'This is an AK 47 pointed at your head.  I suggest you do exactly what I say. Arrrr!'

Arrr Robert Newton lad....
Instead it is a festival of saying 'Arrr' at the start of any sentence in honour of everyone's idea of the pirate bold - Robert Newton in the role of Long John Silver in the Disney version of Treasure Island.  And a fine performance too.  Better by far though is the book which shows Long John for the villain he is.  Although the book doesn't actually put the words 'Arrrr Jim lad.' into Silver's mouth, Stevenson's text also drips with the  pirate lore and phrases - 'Fifteen men on a dead man's chest.' 'Tip him the black spot.' 'Pieces of eight' which are now part of the language.   The full range of human experience can be conveyed in a conversation by the simple rotation of these phrases. 

Enjoyable though Disney's Treasure Island was, it was a Disney production with all the soft edges that implies.  For FB the definitive pirate films are those starring Errol Flynn - Captain Blood (1935) and The Sea Hawk (1940).  By comparison the recent Pirates of the Caribbean series is toe-curlingly awful - cartoons of no merit.

A real film
The Sea Hawk is blessed with what may be the finest musical score any film ever had or ever will have - by Erich Korngold.  Sample it on this link and feel the ocean moving under your feel and your timbers shiver.  Arrr Erich Lad................

FB finds much to commend in Talk Like a Pirate Day.  But he thinks that the world is ready for an alternative.  He is therefore launching International Talk Like A Cricketer Day - celebrants may dress in whites if they wish though that is not essential.  All that is required is to utter the phrase 'Howzat' in response to any remark directed at the celebrant. 

This time next year everyone will be doing it.  'Arrr MS Dhoni lad, see if they aren't or you'll be walkin' the plank.'

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