An introduction to the intelligence of parrots

& so to the shoreline, with rod, hook &
gargantuan quantities of patience. The
sea was red with jellyfish & there was
nothing the pirates could do about it.
Yet I worried about their welfare & the
state of their mental health. Famous
quotes from Morse: Don't slurp in my
ear, Lewis'. He was unkempt, uncombed
& clad in the same old rags that made him
picturesque. Yet history shows that rich
countries grow wealthy by ignoring advice
they dish out to poor nations. Sousing is an
old-fashioned way of preserving your catch
& the end results are quite delicious. 'Let's
run away to the Spanish Main & go blind
on cheap rum & the pox'.

With these words the pirate suddenly
splashed a pint of icy water down my
neck & pulled me into his cabin. Yet why
are ideas about political rebellion so
deeply non-threatening to the smooth
flow of business-as-usual? As a child
I used to dream of flying away to exotic
countries. Step back in time with nostalgic
sounds from the first half of the seventeenth
century. In the back of everyone's mind was
an unavoidable question. As pirates look
for savings they tend first to reduce their
mileage in recreational outings, yet what
do brain surgeons know about cell-phone
safety that the rest of us don't? For individual
departures please ring the pirate switchboard.

There was a sudden drop in temperature
& a rush of cold air. What makes his paintings
so distinctive is the way they veer between
elegance & outright chaos. Can pirates sense
the earth's magnetic field & does it effect their
behaviour or health? With climate change &
globalisation, the ageing of the population is
one of the major challenges faced by pirates.

Alice was all black lycra & red lipstick, with long
fair hair & a giant bucket of popcorn. A strange
sadness rested upon her features, like icy tears
upon the robe of December. As I wandered
through the gallery, open-mouthed, I was hoping
for some sign of irony or civilization. A satellite
image shows the population hotspots off pirates
yet here, for once, not a note seems out of place.





But it's not file-sharing, it's piracy

Faint shuffling sounds reached us now &
then & an occasional hollow beating of
wings. Should you call your children
George & Emma or plump for Storm
& Savannah? For most of the summer, the
Issue was pushed to the background by
other events yet the pirates were off the
leash & on the lash. Silver hit the water
sideways, broke a leg & was still on
crutches a year later. As the pirate turned
towards me I noticed a small blemish on
her left shoulder. I didn't think anything
worse could happen but as I reeled away
I saw a sight even more terrifying. As with
all markets, the basic forces of supply &
demand are in operation.

For the first few months I visited him, he
seemed cheerful & sanguine, despite
sleeping in a room with three pirates of
hideous appearance & terrifying habits.
London has become a tropical lagoon
filled with weird & wonderful creatures.
Yet the Tudor-bowl haircut has been
gaining a disturbing momentum among
male models & hipsters. He was exhausted,
his muscles ached & his back & arms were
bruised, but the old tar became quiet again,
his brief escapade forgotten. There is
something melancholy about the sea wrestling
back land we have made our own. In twenty
years we may be looking at jellyfish & chips
rather than fish & chips.

It's been suggested that alcohol stimulates
the striatum, an area of the brain important
in sexual attraction. What kind of meaningful
democracy can emerge from such a thought?
Alice knew little about pirates yet her education
left her with a skewed & slightly unlikely mix
of knowledge. Higher energy prices translate
into higher food prices & higher food prices

tend to create serious political discontent.
She had a knack for stating the obvious
yet some of the pirates glanced back at her
& made vague protective gestures. Marinade
is the noun & marinate the verb: pirates often
get this wrong but after a drink everyone
looks more desirable. In a few moments,
Silver slowly rose & shook himself.






& what are you, dear reader, but
A loose fish & fast fish too?

As we drifted off to our bunks & my
head touched the pillow I remember
thinking that everything was going to be
alright. 'Did you know that chicken is the
defining commodity of the globalised
era?' It was a bold & beguilingly simple
idea yet to my surprise he did not dismiss
the question out of hand. Realising he
had discovered a rich vein he decided
to take control of the situation & press
home his advantage. 'Every pirate ought
to be granted a minimum wage as high
as the take-home pay of a doctor'.
Rather than representing a leap into
the future this proved to be a leap into
a cul-de-sac.

What is the great globe itself but a loose
fish? It was a bold yet beguilingly simple
idea. I climbed over the rail with the second
mate close behind & stood upon the mould-
covered deck. As she began to take shape
slowly out of the darkness, reflections of the
tiny red flames rose upon her face. Her brittle
fingers kneaded his shoulders & then brushed
his greying hair from his forehead. As soon as
the anchor was out, we dropped our fishing
lines over the side & immediately hooked
several hammerhead sharks & a large red
snapper. What is the great globe itself but a
loose fish? 'I think it's good to be a bit
enigmatic', said the pirate, his green eyes
twinkling again.

In conditions of full employment, there is
a high level of demand for labour, yet
paradoxically, some pirates may be paid
more than they are actually worth. Once
their breathing takes on a life of its own,
there is little for the therapist to do but
watch & listen. Are old trousers & baggy
jumpers really the peak of masculinity?
Of course, you could argue that her
pictures aren't any good but if you're in
need of a tonic why not just try a little
wild swimming in one of our beautiful
lakes or streams. Alice noticed that
the pirate's iced-tea was gone & poured
him some more from the jug. What is
the great globe itself but a loose fish too?


        Steve Spence 2008