Alestorm, and piracy

My friend Jennifer turned me on to this Scottish pirate metal band not long ago.  A lot of metal bands can’t sing, so they seem to just smoke about eight packs of cigarettes and then sort of yell/croak.  Alestorm’s better than that, and their instrumental work is quite good.  While their lyrics are up and down at times, they’ve really grown on me.

If I had to pick an Alestorm tune to win you over, it would be Keelhauled.  If you have anywhere within you a streak of the buccaneer, you may enjoy the video and tune.

Most pirates, by the way, met pretty ugly ends.  The pirate game had very few winners.  A lot were surprisingly incompetent.  Pirate trivia:

Blackbeard (aka Edward Teach) once raided the Tidewater coast for VD meds.

William Kidd was railroaded in a miscarriage of justice.  In a fair court of law, he would have walked rather than hang.

John Taylor, a calculating sort, actually won at piracy.  In 1721 he took the Nossa Senhora do Cabo with a retiring viceroy and a fortune in diamonds, then had the sense to buy a commission in a South American navy.

While the skull and crossbones was a common motif, most pirates designed their own flags.

The sickest pirate in history might be either Edward Low (probably hanged by the French; merci) or Jean-David Nau, aka François l’Olonnais (put to a messy death by Central American Indians).  Both were prone to the kind of brutalities that would make a Gestapo interrogator wince.

The Age of Piracy was in fact a rather short one, from about the 1690s to the 1720s.

A privateer is a sort of legal pirate, essentially a hired commerce raider in wartime.  Kidd was one.  What makes a pirate a privateer is a Letter of Marque.  I think the US last issued Letters of Marque in the War of 1812, though the Confederacy handed them out like samples.  It is rumored that during World War II, at least once, someone asked President Roosevelt for a Letter of Marque.  Ron Paul (and no, I am not on his bandwagon) has seriously suggested the issuance of Letters of Marque as a way to combat Somali pirates.  Personally, I think it would be a great idea.

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