Monday, August 20, 2007

Yo Ho Ho!

Apparently there's been an upsurge in piracy on the high seas in recent years. Personally, I blame Johnny Depp. It's all his fault for making it cool to be a pirate again. It wasn't so long ago that they were seen as a bunch of scurvy-ridden imbeciles with bad hair and straggly beards or, even worse, refugees from the new romantic era, forever painting their faces and posing around in pop videos. However, thanks to Mr Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean, they've become identified with lovable (if slightly grubby) rogues who can pull pull posh birds like Keira Knightly whilst making cheeky quips and robbing treasure-laden ships. You can see how it happens - someone goes to see one of the films, decides to emulate their hero's fashion sense and puts on a tricornered hat and an eyepatch. Before they know it, they've moved on to saying "Aharrr, Jim lad!" and they're jumping aboard ocean liners and forcing the rich bastard passengers to walk the plank. It stands to reason - we all know that nobody commits any crime or form of anti-social behaviour until they've seen it glamourised on TV or in a film.

All of which begs the question, of course, of what was it that inspired the likes of Blackbeard and Calico Jack? Did they see a series of woodcuts glamourising piracy when they were children? While we're on the subject, what drove Jack the Ripper to commit his terrible crimes? Was the music hall really that depraved? Or maybe he saw a blood-drenched production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus? At the time of the murders it was suggested that there might be a link to a popular stage production of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The star of this, Richard Mansfield, apparently came under suspicion as he was so convincing as a murderous Hyde. Perhaps it was simpler than that - some toff saw the play and was inspired to turn into a sexually depraved monster at night and murder prostitutes in Whitechapel. They should have banned it. They should certainly ban those pirate films - even if they aren't inspiring piracy, there's always an outside chance they'll spark an Adam and The Ants revival...



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