After a spate of high-profile ransom demands from Somalians, traditional British pirates have spoken up in defence of their lifestyle.
'I really can't condone the tanker-stealing thing that the so-called 'pirates' from Somalia are doing,' said Steve Bluebeard, 'and whilst Johnny Depp perfectly captures my charisma, the modern life of a pirate is quite removed from the big-budget portrayal by Hollywood.'
'That's not to say we can't have some pretty timber-shivering moments,' he continued, 'but it's been years since I hunted down a ghostly ship filled with damned souls. There's just not that much call for it in Kingston upon Hull, though I have had call to run my cutlass through some scurvy dogs once or twice -- I blame the council, it's their job really.'
Bluebeard is still occasionally seen aboard the 'Bloody Mary' in the Humber estuary, though rowing the two-man inflatable dinghy is far removed from commanding his former gunship. 'To be honest,' he said, 'I find myself spending more and more time at home on the internet illegally sharing music and DVDs. I keep waiting for a knock on the door from the bailiffs, but slicing out those landlubbers' gizzards should be relatively easy.'
Many modern pirates are alarmed at the image they have garnered in recent times. 'Everybody expects me to be all 'Arrrr, Jim lad!' with a Bristolian accent and a rickety wooden leg,' said Arthur Doulton, known in pirating circles as 'Evil Jack', 'but the worst thing I've done to any of my limbs was getting a broken toe whilst marauding downhill on a snowboard in Val d'Isère.'
'We aren't even welcome in pantomimes any more because our acting skills aren't usually up to scratch,' said Evil Jack. 'I can buckle a decent swash with the best of them, but give me a few simple lines to remember and I go to pieces. The last proper pirate job I had was as a children's entertainer, but the pay was pretty crap in comparison to plundering Aztec gold. They wanted me to do 'comedy pirate' things -- you know, a bit of swordplay, swing from the rafters, that kind of thing -- but I was forced to give that job up completely after a few too many children were scared witless when I started raping and pillaging.'
Bluebeard is still hopeful that he will be able to cast off his dependency on government handouts. 'I think my eye patch puts potential employers off,' he explained. 'It serves me right for trying to teach my pet macaw to say 'Polly wants a cracker'. He really didn't like being given a girl's name and had a proper go at my left cornea. The doctors say it should be healed soon. It's a good job I have plenty of doubloons put aside -- my disability benefit stops soon and I simply can't find work. No-one trusts a real pirate any more. We've all got our fingers crossed for a Conservative government so that we can start a decent resurgence in some serious buccaneering.'