Monday, 23 May 2011

Pirate Ships and Drowning Horses

Today, on the 310th anniversary of Kidd's execution and with the compass pointing south, we set sail for merry London where from this week you can enjoy "Pirates : The Captain Kidd Story" an interactive exhibition at the Museum of London at the Docklands. Looks great.

As part of the promo for the exhibition, you can follow Kidd on Twitter, to get excerpts from his not at all incriminating logbooks and snare yourself some pirate related money off vouchers.

As a double whammy...if you are down in London enjoying the Kidd exhibition, you might want to pop over to The Science Museum to the new James Watt and Our World exhibition.

Captain Kidd and James Watt...two of Greenock's most famous sons, hitting the big time down in the big smoke. Y'know...heres a thought...HOW ABOUT CELEBRATING SOME OF OUR HOMEGROWN HEROES BACK HERE IN GREENOCK SOMETIMES!!! Dedicated exhibition, maybe even a sculpture? No...I know...lets build a statue of a dead horse instead.

I know what you're thinking...hang on…why would we want a statue of a murderer and a rogue?

Well…maybe he was unfairly tried…maybe he wasn’t guilty at all…maybe he is symbolic of a misunderstood town like Greenock. And maybe it has just slightly more glamour and history to it than say…a statue of a horse that fell off a dock and drowned, which symbolises…ehm…better health and safety practices for horses?  “Greenock – Flogging A Dead Horse for over 500 years”?

"Ah" you say "But there's now doubt over whether or not Kidd actually came from Greenock, most folk now think he came from Dundee." Yep. And? Folklore and local tradition tell us he came from one is a 100% sure that there's a big Plesiousaur swimming about Loch Ness but that doesn't plenty of people talking about it and going up to have a wee look. Have a bit of fun. Just go with it.
Besides, it’s not a statue of the historical character people would want to see…have you seen the real life Kidd? That’s him at the top of the post….not much of a looker. No…better to have a full on swashbuckling, swinging from the rigging pirate…the fictional Kidd, the folk hero Kidd…Kidd the legend.

There are plenty of examples of statues of fictional characters all over the UK, each a miniature tourist draw in their own right. There's the Captain Mainwaring statue in Thetford, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Robin Hood in Nottingham, or my personal favourite HG Wells Martian Fighting Machine from War of the Worlds in Woking. And frankly, your life is incomplete unless you have been to The Dracula Experience in Whitby.

Yes, you’re right…there’s better things to campaign for, there’s more important things to spend money on…but in future…when we consider public artworks, when we consider keeping American tourists in the town for even a half hour longer than they might stay right now, when we want to celebrate something about our heritage which is unique and..get this…internationally recognised…how about we get behind a local hero…Captain Kidd.

Sorry. Rant over, let's all calm down by listening to this spooky pirate lullaby from The Cure's Robert Smith.

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