Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A life on the ocean wave
“Gentlemen!” I shout, silencing their agitated chatter. “The issue is entirely moot because Noah’s
“Sir, that’s blasphemy!” declares the American man frowning. The Frenchman splutters words like “Incroyable!” and “Absurde!” while walking in tight circles and slapping his forehead in frustration. I leave them to their deliberations.
We gorillas are very choosy about the vessels we sail in – nothing less than a cruise liner will do for me. I require a cabin with a hammock and ocean balcony, plenty of space to stretch my limbs and a goodly number of fat women to chase around the decks. As for the Captain, only an Englishman will do – Continentals are too sly, Orientals too inscrutable and Americans too politically correct. I look for a skipper in the mould of Leslie Phillips: a good fellow in all respects, but not too bright. Ideally there’d be an on-ship mystery to solve during the voyage. Nothing too sinister though – something along the lines of a phantom bottom-pincher who needed collaring.
There are times, of course, when the call of service matters more than a comfortable trip. Had Lord Nelson wanted gorillas to join him on the Victory, he wouldn’t have needed to give them a lecture about
The Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise has a low standing in gorilla society because of its disrespect to the Royal Navy. Never forget that the stiff-necked dullards portrayed in those films actually succeeded in ridding the high seas of the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow (or “Subaltern Johnny Parrot” as we call him in the jungle). The plain fact is that the pirates of the time were villainous cutthroats with poor personal hygiene and appalling table manners. Making heroes of them is an insult to the memory of every able seaman who ended up as fish food because of those desperadoes.
Incidentally, poor Keira Knightly is terribly miscast in those films. Any fool knows that the seafarers of that era preferred their women plump. The phrase “buxom wench” was practically invented to describe the kind of strumpet that appealed to their tastes. Had Miss Knightly been captured by a pirate vessel, she would have been sold to the harem of a near-eastern potentate without delay. And I’d wager there wouldn’t have been a single grubby pawprint on her soft white skin.
I should conclude by reminding my dear readers that the 21st of October is the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. We gorillas toast the memory of Lord Nelson with fruit juice, but you may put something a little stronger in your tankards if you prefer.
That Sparrow chap's wearing far too much eye shadow to be convincing.
In that top picture GB, there are enough buoyant objects to negate the lifejacket requirements altogether.
Nice blog post.
As to Captain Pugwash, I bought the video some years ago for my children. Obviously I watched it first to allay my own fears about the ubiquitous myth of Master Bates and Seaman Staines. Unless they have redubbed them, the very nasal narrator actually says Master Mate and I found no Seaman Staines. They were still very entertaining for all age groups tho.
You're right about the pirates. We romanticize them now, but ask any Indochinese refugee about pirates and you'll get a different story. Here's just one example:
Very little romance there, and the people's real-life stories are even more heartbreaking. But Disney and a couple hundred years can make even sordid things seem fun.
Emma: They wouldn't have taken any women to sea, that was bad luck. The buxom wenches were strictly for shore leave. I remember Captain Pugwash well, but I can't remember his facial expression ever changing.
Sam: The nipple dipped in brine is a favourite hors d'oeuvre in certain Japanese eateries.
Cooper: Keira has sunk without trace on many occasions.
Oswaldo: Hardly a surprise given Orlando Bloom's previous acting credits. In any case, gayness is sometimes artistically justified.
Kitty: I couldn't find a picture of fat women on deck, so I settled for women with fat bosoms instead.
Lord Likely: He wasn't. He sneakily threw the unicorns and dragons overboard to make room for his sons.
Ms Cake: A buxom wench can pass for a gay man, look at Matt Lucas. Captain Pugwash has been re-dubbed because today's kids would get those jokes.
Mary: I reckon the dophins must have brought them fish.
Lord Likely makes a good point. I think it was to stop any incest by default. God doesn't mention where all the cattle cake and stuff was to be kept. He is quite often vague on detail, esp in the Old Testament. He's a broad brush God.
I suppose they had just started writing back then and ink and paper would have been expensive so they'd have kept it brief.
And why didnt all those animals on Noahs Arc eat each other and Noah , and it must have stank to high heaven.
If you want a good pirate yarn read George Macdonald Frasiers The Pirates .......its great , full of historically based , but way over the top loonatic pirates and a few deranged spaniards (damn their eyes)and of course a dashing English sea capn....belike!
Thus I cannot check to confirm which pirate chief it was who ordered his men to careen the vessel on some palm-fringed, Caribbean desert island. [Note for the non nautical: "careening" is the process of scraping off barnacles from the hull and burning out teredoes or ship-worms. The ship is beached and allowed to list, then the fellows get to work.]
Our chief, taking a cask of rum and perhaps a cabin-boy ("Johnson" does not detail the sexual habits of his subjects, but most of them were poofs) retreats into the dunes, leaving his men to careen in the hours before high tide.
All are illiterate. They realize they must light a fire. Do they have any means of getting it going? Paper, for example?
"I've seen papers," says one. "There be some in the Cap'n's cabin [or Cabbin, as this was about 1715]."
"Fetch 'em, then!" cries the bosun.
The careening goes to plan. When the captain returns, all is in order. They clamber aboard and wait for the rising waters to lift her from the sands.
At high tide they weigh anchor. The captain decides to set a course for Philadelphia, there to sell his cargo of rum and sugar. He goes to his chart-table.
"Where are the ***** charts?"
It seems the ship, comprehensively lost, then crossed the Atlantic to the Skeleton Coast (present-day Namibia). By the time she got there some of the crew had died of starvation, scurvy, or had gone mad from drinking sea-water. She then turned round, without finding a suitable berth or any hope of fresh water, and sailed all the way back to the New World, by which time only a handful of men were alive.
Mr Bananas' aspersions on the intelligence of pirates are not misplaced.
You would have sold Knightley for potatoes?
Shit, sorry, you said 'potentate's methinks.
BTW the plural of Desperado is Desperados, unless you're a female gorilla.....
Beast: I can see you're a nautical cove, Beast. I recommend The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Frazer.
Misssy: Was it some kind of safety drill perhaps?
Dennis: Thank you for the historical anecdote. It actually made me feel sorry for the pirates of the 1700s. They were clearly the products of a failed education system.
Mr Boyo: Ah, the Welsh were never a seafaring nation, were they? They just stayed on shore and took it up the myfanwy from sea-born raiders. That's what happens if you're boxed in from the ocean by another land mass.
Goth: I think it can be spelled either way, Goth. I prefer my way because 'Desperados' looks as if it rhymes with Barbados. Too Spanish.
And just what is a Barbado when it's at home?
Maybe, because it is a picture of a woman with a knife to her throat.
But then again, maybe not. She looks so defiant. And that is attractive.
Speaking of which, how could Knightley's character prefer the blank faced Will Turner to the mischievous Sparrow?
I assume I am the exception to this rule...
Mosha: No need for shame, you like what you like. Sparrow's body odour is too strong for Keira, but she surely thinks of him when Turner is smooching her.
Mutley: You can dress in drag at a fancy dress party, but not otherwise. Gorilla costumes are strictly forbidden when I'm on board.
Captain Smack: Spaceship captains are a different breed entirely.
Diesel: I would cast Jeff Bridges, but you'll probably get Mel Gibson.
Rosanna: True, but sailors are not supposed too be good looking. Pretty sailors are a dangerous distraction.
Mr Boyo: Ah, I forgot about Henry Morgan, thanks for the reminder. You could do a whole documentary series about that extended family, couldn't you? Cliff Morgan, Organ Morgan, etc.
Where do you find your visual insipirations, GB? :-)
I do, though.
I'm sure he would have felt right at home on Noah's Ark, with two of each kind...
Suzan: I'm not proud of that picture, Suzy. I really wanted women who were fat all over.
Mutley: John Wayne, alas, is a member of an extinct breed. He wouldn't even get interviewed for the job these days.
Kara: The open mouth is sexy to some men, but many complain about her chin. I must have a good look at your chin, Missy.
Domestic Minx: Queer things happen in a pirate's vessel. I think a few of the cuter animals would be shuddering if Mr Sparrow found his way onto Noah's Ark.
Lady Daphne: You have anticipated the subject matter of a forthcoming post, ma'am!
Will get in touch very shortly and I'm eagerly looking forward to your next post as always.
If choosing a cruise, select a vessel crewed by Italians. There will be none of that: "women and children first" nonsense, you see.
Mrs Table: Welcome back, ma'am. I would make you the ship's counsellor, so you could offer young men the comforts of your maternal bosom.
Suzan: Breasts may cause a man's downfall, Suzy, but we gorillas are immune.
Bystander: That's not the sort of advice one expects from an honorable magistrate.