January 31, 2023

The Editor Speaks: Pirates Week

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colin-wilsonweb2As many of you know I was involved in the National Festival Pirates Week for nearly thirty years from Landing Chairman and Executive Committee Member, to Director and writer of the Landing Scenario and, of course, The Trial of the Pirates. The latter sadly no longer performed.

I have watched it with a certain amount of dismay over the past years but have held my tongue for obvious reasons.

A new broom swept almost clean and wanted no “advice” from members of the past. They wanted to make there own mistakes that were, in fact, almost the same mistakes we made when we first took up our places.

I have never understood that philosophy nor the way government pick persons to be in charge of such an event that prior had nothing what-so-ever to do with it.

At least when Dave Martins took over he readily called on the ‘old guard’ to assist and did actually listen.

This year there was in my humble opinion a big improvement and the fresh ideas were just that. Full marks to everyone there. I have a soft spot for Pirates Week and always will.

My only complaint was with the landing.

Whilst it looked OK on television, as a spectacle for the thousand watching in Hogsty Bay it was almost a non event.

You cannot stage it as you would a stage in a theatre. The stage is the whole of Hogsty Bay and you lose a conventional stage on just a portion of the South Terminal where all the action mainly takes place.

And now year after year we have the big spectacle – the actual landing of the pirates – a non event. Why?

That is the main reason all those thousands of people watching are there for. The Landing of the Pirates.

Watching three or four pirates come off the Pirate Ship and engage in some sword fighting with red coats who have muskets and could have shot all of them is ludicrous. To make matters worse, the other pirates amble off the ship as if they are tourists.

The organisers have a ship, they have pirates, they have red coats. Use them. Sixty or seventy pirates charging and screaming with cannon fire and smoke going off is a spectacle.

It is easy to stage. I did it for years. And that is what people want to see.

The float parade I thought was very good and that does take a lot of organizing.

I look forward to even bigger improvements next year.

My words are of encouragement and not criticsm.

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