Thursday, September 13, 2007


Just so you've got plenty of time to rustle up an eye-patch from a piece of black card and some old knicker elastic, glue a stuffed parrot to the shoulder of your overcoat and practise brandishing a gold telescope and saying "yarr-HAAARRRRRR" a lot, this is advance warning of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, next Wednesday (September 19th). More info here, as well as here for UK residents.

It's a pretty self-explanatory festival, really, just involving, well, talking like a pirate. Hints can be found on the websites above, but broadly speaking think Robert Newton as Long John Silver in the classic film of Treasure Island, or possibly Tom Baker (pictured right) as Captain Redbeard Rum in Blackadder II, but definitely not Johnny Depp in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films (save that for International Talk Like Keith Richards Day, as soon as someone invents it).

So, if you work in a call centre, say, try amending your usual anodyne phone greeting to something like: "Yarrrr! This be Brian of the good ship Acme Insurance. How can I be helpin' ye this fine seafarin' day? A free tot o' rum wi' every policy, yarrr. You don't get that with the scurvy dogs at Direct Line."

There's a Bristol connection, for those that don't know, which is that the Admiral Benbow pub at the start of Treasure Island is generally accepted to have been based on the real-life Llandoger Trow down by the Floating Harbour, a pub which is very much still open today, though missing a couple of end gables after these were blown off by the Luftwaffe, the filthy swines. It's all been tidied up and made good now, though.

Plenty of piratical events are planned, both on the high seas (well, maybe) and for the more landlubberly inclined. Personally I'll be splicing the mainbrace, sinking a noggin of rum with a comely serving wench, and trying not to get keel-hauled (those barnacles really smart). Yarrr!

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