Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Drumming down George Street


Pirates taking a break over a latte

Dressing-up has never really done it for me.  I usually think of it as the last refuge of the bored, like Marie-Antoinette dressing up as a shepherdess at Versailles.  My heart sinks at the thought of those parties of Vicars and Tarts or invitations accompanied by a note that the theme of the evening is Donald Duck, writes Antony Mair.

But it’s difficult to be curmudgeonly on Pirates Day in Hastings, where all and sundry dress as if they’re to be auditioned by Johnny Depp for a starring role beside his swashbuckling persona.  Last year we made a firm resolution to make a bit more of an effort this year, but alas the day came upon us without our having acquired even a bandanna, let alone a parrot on the shoulder. We strolled down George Street for a coffee on Sunday morning, and there was already a good sprinkling of people in three-cornered hats.

Pegging his way convincingly down George Street

If you’re being serious about the costume, men are expected to wear a hat, a frock-coat sort of garment, breeches and boots with big floppy tops, and above all a belt adorned with pewter mug and various pieces of weaponry.  Parrots on the shoulder are optional.  Women also go in for the three-cornered hat, but after that it’s all bodices and boobs bubbling over the top.  As for accessories – sashes, cummerbunds and a plentiful mixture of skulls and crossbones.

A man with a wooden leg came into his own, and pegged his way up and down George Street very convincingly.  Then the drummers came along – I’m not sure what’s piratical about drummers, but there are a number of drumming groups in the town who emerge on most civic occasions, so they have to be included.  Buxom wenches with drums are a tad odd, but then the whole day’s pretty odd.  It’s best to think of cuddly cinema stars rather than Somali thugs boarding oil tankers and holding people to ransom.  And, of course, dressing-up is only part of the deal.  The other element is alcohol.  After the initial appearance and mutual admiration of costumes the serious drinking gets under way.  We had fled by that point, but our painter, whose hangover the following day was so bad that he failed to appear on site, said that “things got messy”.We’ll make more of an effort next year, folks.  Honest we will.

Republished with kind permission from Postcards from Hastings

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Posted 10:46 Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 In: Hastings People

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