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Portland Pirate Festival

Ahooooy! I attended the Portland Pirate Festival, scheduled close on the heels of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I knew it was going to be a good day even before I got inside. While I was waiting in the ticket line, a pair of thematically-dressed wenches got into a spat, hurling heavily accented insults at each other. The showdown had them standing bosom to heaving bosom until one ran out of witty retorts. Damn I love wenches.

This was a family event, and there were a lot of children there. And many of them, like the adults, were dressed as pirates. I overhead a kid asking one of the wenches, "do pirates eat pizza?" (Bless the children!)

But you want to hear more about the bosoms, and I shall oblige. I knew the costumes would be a bit exaggerated, but I had no idea how much. One woman was wearing a … well … I can only call it a boob shelf. Her costume stuck out horizontally as a platform for her ampleness to rest on. I don't know how she didn't tip over with a center of mass so far forward.

I met a celebrity: Cap'n Slappy, one of the creators of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. He was there to enjoy the festivities and to sign copies of his book. I only talked with him briefly, but learned that he didn't get any sleep for two days around Talk Like a Pirate Day. He said it's quite popular in Australia as well as in the United States, and one of the reasons he didn't get sleep was that he was doing Australian radio shows.

The major draw for me was the music. A pirate band, Captain Bogg & Salty, gave three performances over the course of the day. The first mate's blog lists the tunes they performed. Certain co-workers of mine have made fun of the very idea of a pirate band, but I thought they were very good, and always in character. The inevitable live performance technical glitches were well-handled, and one time when Captain Bogg forgot a verse, he recovered with a very funny "what do you expect, I'm insane!"

There were several other musical acts, all talented and little crazy. My main complaint was that the non-amplified acts could be difficult to hear. It was an outdoor festival so the acoustics were poor to begin with, and it was made more difficult by having musical acts performing near the pub where there was a lot of other conversation going on. I wanted to listen to the music as an activity, not merely have it in the background. I had to get very close to the acts to hear them acceptably well.

This is only a short report of what the day had to offer. It leaves out a lot. The day was very fun and I hope they make good on their threat to make it an annual event.

Tiny Island