Saturday, 6 December 2008

On Pirates and Harmless Swearing

So here I am, dipping my toe into the great blogpool. My very first post in a great wide world full of interesting people writing fascinating posts and articles. Out there somwhere, people make livings out of this, avid followers hanging on their every word (I know - I am one of these), and putting together great communities, full of supportive and positive people, sharing ideas, art, theory, knowledge, and lolz. There are also people whose sole purpose in life seems to be attacking and hurting people who dare to challenge their right to do and say and attack whatever or whomever they wish, which sucks, but I suppose is the price of the Internet. We will fight them in the tubes! With logic, reason, and never being silenced about the stuff that really matters.

I had planned a pirate post. I spent all morning talking it up a storm with J, getting out my Mammoth Book of Pirates, to regale this echo chamber serving as a diary with stories of Granuaile, the female Irish pirate who was killed in Rockfleet Castle in 1603; of Mary Bonney and Anne Read, who were probably not lovers, but were certainly cross-dressing lady pirates, and as such deserve to be remembered with respect and a bit of salacious imagination; the way that pirates created some of the first mutual insurance societies, wherein a pirate would receive payout from his crew in the case of injury or debilitation; the matelot system in Caribbean pirate crews where men would team up in pairs, to live together, fight together, pool their assets and share their lives; and the deeply flawed William Dampier, who circumnavigated the world three times, mapped the winds and the currents, landed in Australia 80 years before Cook, visited the Galapagos 150 years before Darwin, wrote best-selling travel books, and coined terms such as 'sub-species'.

From pirates, I would segue seamlessly into a quick explanation of the name of this fine vessel I am sailing in - the Good Ship Priory. The Priory is, of course, that famous clinic, where celebrities go to recover from depression, exhaustion, alcoholism and drug addiction. Good for them. Priories are supposed to be places of rest and serenity, where people can be still inside and get closer to their god. Sadly, I am not a believer, so this aspect is perhaps lost on me - but the idea of a safe space is attractive to all of us, and almost all of us can point to our own 'safe space', even if that space is virtual, mental or private. The Good Ship Priory was also the name of a house in which I used to live, in a seedy but colourful seaside town, with four other queers, plenty of alcohol, some pirate hats, some shockingly bad dancing (mostly on my part), and a blackboard on which inspirational 'overheard' quotes could usually be found. Living in this particular type of sin is, let me tell you, pirate dyke heaven. In the case of Henry Morgan, this is literally true, as he died of "drinking and sitting up late" - we didn't get the memo about this.

From pirate dykes, it is but a short step to Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space (and being kidnapped by the same): my favourite webcomic, which I like to recommend, but can rarely find a way to get into conversation! Hurrah! See, this must be the joy of blogs - talking about whatever you like without interruption.

And finally, my name: (Captain) Shazbat. I have never watched Mork and Mindy, but apparently this is where the term originated. I like it, and it sounds a bit like my name without it being possible to identify me on the interweb, and it means this:
    utterly harmless but effective expletive pinched from the '80s sitcom 'Mork & Mindy'. Can be used by anyone anywhere without incurring wrath and disapproval.

So there it is - my first blog post. I liked it. This could get addictive.

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