Avast me hearties!

PirateAhoy, there, maties. It’s time t’buckle those swashes, draw a keg of rum and dance the hornpipe like it’s 1724 for today be Talk Like a Pirate Day, now in its tenth fantastic year. And we at Treasure Hunt Towers love pirates (what sort of scurvy landlubber doesn’t?), so we’re thrilled t’have an excuse to celebrate all things piratical.

First up, a quick lesson in talking pirate.  You can’t go wrong by saying ‘Arrh!’ or ‘Avast!’ at the start of each sentence and remember that pirate ladies prefer to be addressed as ‘Me proud beauty!’ while ‘scurvy rogue’ is the usual term for a pirate gentleman. And pirates always talk in the present tense. For some advanced pirate lingo try the English to Pirate translator. And check out your Pirate Persona while you’re about it.

By now you’ll be itching to learn some more pirate lore so it’s off to the Westminster Libraries Information Gateway to find out more about bold seafaring types. In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (linked from the Biography section – you’ll need your Westminster Library card at hand if you’re not using a library computer), you’ll find biographies of more than 30 brave swashbucklers, including Edward Teach, Blackbeard himself, who captured 8 vessels in a single week, pirate-wenches Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who were said to be the fiercest members of their crew, and Henry Mainwaring, who, after a successful career raiding Spanish ships on the Barbary Coast, retired from piracy to become an MP. Insert your own joke here…

And don’t forget the patron saint of Talk Like a Pirate Day, actor Robert Newton, whose eye-rolling performances in both Treasure Island and Blackbeard the Pirate have defined our idea of how to Talk Like a Pirate. You can find out more about this fine actor at this excellent site.

You can’t have a crew of pirates without some sea-shanties being sung and where better to learn them than the Contemplator (you’ll find it in the Music section). Turn the speakers up high (not if you’re in a library, obviously – pirates do have some standards!) and sing along to  The Pirate Song, Captain Kidd, and Ward the Pirate. And if you visit the Naxos Music Library you can listen  Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance.

But it’s not just songs that celebrate pirates. Some of us will have enjoyed the recent Aardman film The Pirates! In an adventure with Scientists. Why not check out Gideon Defoe’s very funny book of the same name?  There are plenty of other books about pirates – Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (later made into a splendid film with Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin), and more recently the Vampirates series by Justin Somper. If it’s non-fiction  you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of informative books such as Pirates: a History by Timothy Travers and The Mammoth Book of Pirates by Jon E. Lewis.

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis StevensonAnd of course, finally, the most famous pirate book of all – Treasure Island, the essential How To-guide for anyone planning to embark on a buccaneering life. And a jolly good read too.

[Nicky]

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