Pirate Weekend
6 May 2021

It’s Pirate Weekend – and it’s all in good fun. See, pirates in reality are grim creatures. Always have been. Still are today (by the way. Although, modern pirates’ lack of money is a socially acceptable excuse for them, whereas the pirates of old’s same dilemma is never a defense). But pirates have a mysticism about them, a legend, that goes beyond mere historical realities. Who cares about the violence, the cruelty and the parasitic behavior. Pirates are cool! They have parrots, and wooden legs, and eye patches. And they feature in a gazillion movies and stories and cartoons – from The Goonies to Johnny Depp’s franchise to Disney’s Hook. And the town I live in – we love our pirates. So this weekend, there’s mandatory dress up. A wholesome treasure chest of family fun as parents and kids, and singletons, and random people, all come together in Halloween-like enthusiasm. None of this accurately reflects real piracy. But it’s not meant to. And people who whinge about such things are dreadful. There is a real connection to actual piracy here, although, in fairness, we prefer to call them privateers. Raleigh, Drake, and Edward Teach all hailed from these here areas. Drake’s Island is just a goldfish lap from the shore – I look out on it every day. The coves of Cornwall were famous for smugglers. These historical figures and realities are all interesting (and complex too, considering that these people were people of their time. Whenever someone objects overmuch about their track record – judged by modern standards – I always find the question “Compared to who?” puts things nicely, and rapidly, in perspective). But the pirate weekend is for pure fun – like all fun things divorced from actual reality but just liberally borrowing from it to spice things up.

I’m dressing up, for sure. And I’ll have a pic to immortalize this year’s event for yawl on Monday.

Peter van der Walt is a fiction author, although you may find some non-fiction and the odd essay out there. Fans can find his newsletter, posts, updates and developments at petervanderwalt.com. Currently, he is hard at work on his next story. When not writing, he has far too many interests to reasonably keep up with. He lives with his partner in Devon, England.