“How do you know you’re a Pirate?” is the question to a crowded room, or a wee bairn, in my case the latest addition to our family, our just over a year old grandson. Most of the room, probably, know the answer but respectfully wait for the answer, “You don’t, you just aaaarrrrrrgh!” which follows, producing an uproar. The wee bairn, busy accumulating language, mannerisms, abilities, entertaining everyone with cute responses, and tolerating the crazies entrusted with her/his upbringing, has no idea of the witty ditty, but will often mimic the “you just aaaarrrrrgh”, extracting laughter and admiration from the crazies!
1 “You just aaaarrrrrrgh!”
Pirates of The Caribbean, which put Johnny Depp on centre stage and has entertained generations since the Nineties and even had its own ride in Disney’s Theme Park is busy being rebooted and guess who may get the role to take over the character of Jack Sparrow? It seems the girls have got it with Scots lass, Karen Gillian, you may remember her from Jumanji, being eyeballed for the position! A name change must ensue and my guess is a total bird package of Gill Sparrow!
2 Classsic! Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow seemed irreplaceable, but……..!
Pirates have, if not ruled, then made the high seas less than safe over the millennia and there are many hotspots in the Oceans of the Blue Planet that are no go for the uninformed, unprepared or unarmed. If the whitecaps don’t get you then the pirates will have a good go!
3 Alarming pirate attacks on the high seas!
The Pirates that that has given thought to this pirate story is Johannesburg’s oldest rugby and sports club situated in the suburb of Greenside. According to my informed source, Pirates was borne of a need for the expatriates, who arrived in Joburg from all over Africa and our awesome Planet, to find a place where they had a home away from home. A place to play every kind of sport and to meet, greet and socialise. Pirates is a very cosmopolitan club with old world charm and modern entertainment facilities, and a member’s only bar! A plethora of sports fields, they even have a soccer field!
4 Pirates Sports Club dates way back to 1888 and recently City of Joburg cancelled their lease of the council land. The Pirates are fighting for their club!
I was drawn to Pirates on the day of the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter final, my beloved All Blacks vs Ireland and our plan was to watch the encounter on the big screen TVs there. It was the 2nd game of the knock out stage of the RWC, with Australia being ousted by an on top of their game England an hour or so beforehand and it was to be my first visit to Pirates. As I approached the famous venue, I had an ominous, dark feeling as many traffic lights were out, with the well used to rolling blackouts, and disciplined Johannesburgers, treating the intersections as 4 Way Stops. Would the large screen TVs at Pirates be up and running?
First stop was the Pirate’s Bowls venue, where a positive answer to my dark thoughts was confirmed, the great South African pirates, Eskom, were at work. The bullshit story is that there are system and supply failures, but the real reason is that the power cuts create a state of emergency situation, enabling cadres and fellow thieves to, ad hoc, hand tenders to favoured suppliers. There are many words that come to mind, apart from the expletives, nepotism works, fraud, State Capture, a pirate sounding word skulduggery and a word that goes with the day’s event, the Irish sounding word shenanigans. The Great Train robbers of yore have no measure of what is afoot in the once Gold Mine!
5 Imagine the Eskom boardroom scene! Curtains not drawn, just in case the power goes down, pirates planning to break Eskom down into varying, supply, manufacture and accounts sections, enabling more skulduggery, nepotism and favoured suppliers.
I was directed across the road to Pirate’s main clubhouse where I parked and quickly sent a voice text to the Whattsapp Rugby Breakfast Group explaining that the Bowls club was down but that the main clubhouse was on stream and that it should be all systems go, there. Proudly wearing the latest RWC All Black tee shirt I strutted through the entrance hall, noticing the members only bar entrance with the strict entrance rules emblazoned on the door. In the hazy interior I noticed the bar, inhabited by a plethora of hardened pirates in serious contemplation, scheming the day’s event or which ship they would target next.
Along and into the main bar, I was greeted by a sea of Irish green! I noticed one, older All Black jersey and, feeling grossly outnumbered, I gave its wearer a high five. Large screen TVs flickered on the walls, in all directions, the bar was choc en block full and there was an expectant hum in the venue. I passed through to the outside arena where I was accosted by another sea of Irish Green, although there were also a few Bokkie jerseys, in a slightly darker shade of green and we all know who those Bokkie green shirts were rooting for! Definitely not the brothers Barrett, nor the rest of the All Blacks team! It was promising to be a one sided supporters Venue!
The open air scene was like it’s indoor counterpart, humming, with the Main Screen positioned on the field below. I met and greeted and settled down to share stories and predictions. But not before I had ordered a Heineken double zero, alcohol free beer, a necessity as I was on powerful medication to heal an abscess that had invaded my mouth, giving me the Fat Bastard from The Spy Who Shagged Me look!
6 Mike Myers, besides Austins Powers, with clever make up also played Fat Bastard! This could also have been Dan, pre medication and dental work!
The New Zealand nation anthem was first and it is more of a prayer, to God, thanking Him for our existence and praying for His protection. The Irish national anthem is just as stirring and with me late, great departed Mom comin’ from County Tipperary, Ireland, a goose bump or two is guaranteed. Just as the Irish anthem ended, every screen and loud speaker died! More skulduggery was afoot with the Eskom Pirates, we were going to miss the Haka. A quick thinking techno freak enabled some of us to view the All Black’s challenge when he opened his smart phone and burnt his data with the live action on DSTV Now!
7 The Anthem – The Prayer
Slowly, to the hum of the backup generator, the various screens flashed back to life and we were all, eventually, treated to an All Black side that, like the majority of our Islands’ inhabitants, live and breathe rugby! For the first half and twenty into the second, Ireland were held pointless, they then managed to score a brace of tries, one donated to them by the infamous referee, Nigel Owens. Final score NZ 46 Ireland 14
Roll on the Semi Finals where my All Blacks take on England and the ex gold miners, the Springboks, battle the Coal Miners from Wales. By the time this goes to press, the semis and the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will have played out, but don’t tell me who won, I’ll find out when I watch the replays!
Pirates of The Caribbean theme song is classic and orchestras, the World over, have taken to it, with many stirring renditions available on YouTube. I hope the official version plays out where you are reading this, (and the link is not geo blocked!):
St Vincent School For The Deaf helping the hard of hearing to listen:
Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:
Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:
The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: