modern pirate

As you may have already realised I quite like John Cooper Clarke. ‘Evidently Chickentown’ is one of John’s own favourite poems as it was chosen for the closing music for The Sopranos penultimate episode…he also says that when he reads it out “his swearbox doubles up as a high yield pension scheme”

In Evidently Pirate Town, I not only want to pay tribute to Dr Cooper Clarke but also to celebrate the madness that is Penzance whenever people are asked to dress up as pirates…and the mayhem that usually ensues. I guess that is what I like about this town…it’s always up for a good time

Unlike John’s poem, I have only one swearword in Evidently Pirate Town and even that is a half-hearted one. Hope it doesn’t detract.

Read it in a pirate-y voice for best effect.

NB The final lines refer to Humphry Davy (the genteel representation of Penzance, whose statue overlooks Penzance’s main street) who is buried in Geneva.




Pirates in Poundland, Arr-gos and Boots

Pirates in Lloyds and all the towns’ banks

Pirates in Burtons ordering suits

Pirates in Jewsons ordering planks

They’ll make you walk them and watch you drown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates who know just what they’re doing

Pirates in an abstemious state

Pirates in the post office queueing

Pirates after a fav’rable rate

At point two six doubloons to the pound

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates plundering char-i-dee shops

Pirates treasure is there to be found

Pirates partake in stylish teashops

Pirates dunking a ship’s biscuit down

Whether it’s scone, sconn or maybe scown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates dress up in velvet and lace

Pirates in make-up, mascara’d eyes

Pirates who’re more ‘on’ than ‘in your face’

Pirates rememb’ring to moisturise

Doing your nails in your dressing gown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates with beards of varying hue

Pirates, corsairs with very coarse hair

Pirates with dreadlocks, bumfluff boys too

Pirates fresh from the Barber-y chair

Fashions come around and go around

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates on mobility scooters

Pirates all eager to pimp their ride

Pirates sailing dangerous waters

Pirates prepare to come alongside

Be wary of toes when they run aground

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates pouring out of the station

Pirates incoming from all points east

Pirates dry, in search of libation

Pirates hungry, in search of a feast

There’s a parrot in the lost and found!

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates board buses armed to the teeth

Pirates pressed and rammed to the gunwales

Pirates pre-loaded, needing to pee

Pirates cross-legged…short of urinals

The gutters run a goldeny-brown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates hoisting the skull and crossbones

Pirates signal like pirates in books

Pirates parlaying with mobile phones

Pirates are texting, using their hooks

Less like semaphore, more sensurround

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates curse. They’re givers not takers

Pirates use language. Pardon their French

Pirates oaths are not made by Quakers

Pirates expletives make dockers blench

More fecking swearing than Mrs Brown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates acting like Neanderthals

Pirates deluded – think they’re God’s gift

Pirates molested by action girls

Pirates naked in the Wharfside Lift

Now it won’t go either up or down

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates in Transit back home from France

Pirates loaded with baccy and rum

Pirates booty to sell in Penzance

Pirates tap noses. Pirates keep schtum

There are smugglers tunnels underground

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates with kids head to the seaside

Pirates who are kids head for the port

Pirates mess about on the quayside

Pirates are hoping not to get caught

The Scillonian’s Tortuga-bound

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates emboldened, wild and raucous

Pirates can’t hold back inhibition

Pirates fazed and losing their focus

Pirates head for the Seaman’s Mission

There’s mention of Press-Gangs in The Crown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town


Pirates dance to a frantic shanty

Pirates a-wooing ship’s figureheads

Pirates strip off and do The Full Monty

Pirates in Penzance far from their beds

There’ll be some rare sights around sundown

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town

In Geneva, Humphry’s spinning round

‘Tis evidently Pirate Town.

©gray lightfoot

Hear Gray read the poem at…

The inspirational EVIDENTLY CHICKEN TOWN by John Cooper Clarke (WARNING! contains language)