(written for the town’s world record attempt on May 26th 2014 to have the most pirates in one place)

Written to the rhythm of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Modern Major General’s Song from THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE


I am the very model of a fellow who writes doggerel

And hoping for a weekend full of rest and beer…well several;

Is press-ganged by his wife and kids – in short they’re most fanatical –

And now I have to dress in something seen as quite piratical.

So sat before a mirror on this morning feeling mutinous;

A red bandanna on my head, a false black beard – ridiculous!

An old pierced ear is opened up and filled with something pendulous;

It’s been a while I hope it doesn’t bring about my tinnitus.

(chorus) It’s been a while we hope it doesn’t bring about his tinnitus.

Debate is taking place amongst my kids – it sounds quite ominous –

On which of my two legs should be removed – it was unanimous!

A peg leg for the right; and I begin to feel quite nauseous

At one’s idea that Daddy’s face be conjoined with an octopus.

The meeting of my eyes and Sal’s mascara has been unforeseen

And part of me is wondering if maybe it is Maybelline.

I must admit I don’t look bad – somewhat the rakish libertine

A bit like Johnny Depp in that film Pirates of the Caribbeen. (cough!)

(chorus with incredulity) A bit like Johnny Depp in that film Pirates of the Caribbeen.

With tricorn hat upon my head, a sea change washes over me.

No more the gentle man am I; I’ll say goodbye to bonhomie.

I must be blessed with pirate blood; stirred up to face the enemy.

The hist’ry books will soon be filled with stories of my infamy.

My name will be the one that folks’ll forward as the one to fear;

The number one to go to when you need a murd’rous buccaneer.

My dander’s up and I am restless for a ship to commandeer

To go off raiding all along the coast of darkest Devonshire.

(chorus) He wants to go off raiding off the coast of darkest Devonshire.


Pirate Prom

But first I must embark upon the challenge set before our town;

Apparently another place has dared to steal our treasured crown.

Our record of most pirates in one place is now turned upside-down.

We must address the issue on the Spring Bank Holiday showdown.

With Penzance think of pirates – whereas Hastings it’s historical

You straightway think 1066 and certainly not nautical.

What goes around will come around; I think they call it cyclical.

I don’t think they would like it if we re-enacted Senlac Hill.

(chorus) We’re sure they wouldn’t like it if we re-enacted Senlac Hill.

Here’s 20,000 Cornishmen and 20,000 maids an’ all

And if you are from far away feel free to rally to the call.

Just stand up and be counted as we’ve got a score to overhaul

‘Cos if you love this land it’s not just ours – it’s also your Cornwall.

Come one and all from right around the rest of the peninsula;

It’s times like these ‘tis such a shame we can’t bring back our diaspora.

Let Cornish pride rise up like cream and we’ll be Hastings’ conqueror

And if we don’t take back our crown I’ll use some choice vernacular.

(chorus) Yes, if we don’t take back our crown we’ll use some choice vernacular.

© gray lightfoot

Hear Gray read (sing) the poem…

Despite Pirates on the Prom getting over 14,000 people to turn up dressed as pirates…the attempt missed out by a mere 77 people…which was frustrating because anecdotal evidence suggested that the town’s pubs were full of pirates doing what pirates are good at…and not being counted in the final reckoning. Still we can always have another shot because all those who took part in it will want to go again.

…and here’s the original Gilbert & Sullivan song performed in a very modern way by Martin Gordon (ex-bass player and songwriter formerly with Sparks, Jet and Radio Stars)