120 Days of Sodom

I’ll return to Sodom in a minute. I am distracted by obscure pirates. There are a few under-archived female pirates and one in particular is one of the great female outlaws I’m going to research and resurrect. I could handle a pirate ship and a few years whiskey for water. I’m not a bad shot either. Perhaps the most successful documented female pirate is Ching Shih who terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. She commanded 1800 ships and about 80,000 pirates. Not bad for a girl who started out in Canton’s floating brothels.

There was Alvilda in Finland, Charlotte de Berry from England in 1636, Rachel Wall from Pennsylvania in the 1770s, Jane de Belleville a Frenchwoman who assisted the English at the 1345 invasion of Brittany. Anne Bonney and Mary Read were two famous pirates, thought to be lovers. Anne Bonney was Irish and often sailed her black flag in the Caribbean. After they got arrested in the 1720s both women pleaded their bellies so their executions would be delayed. While Read is thought to have died in childbirth, Bonny disappeared. There’s a grave for her many, many years later in 1782 South Carolina, then eighty years old, with eight children, grandchildren and a husband. A happy end for an outlaw.

Pirates aside I saw a production of Noel Cowards Design for Living the other week. The play still stands up and the sets in the Old Vic were stunning. Some of the 1930s stuff dated not so well but most of it seemed fairly contemporary, the acting was a bit theatre but still a great play. I’ve been reading Sole, the hardback collection by David Oprava out on Blackheath. It’s a great one to collect, the hardbacks are limited edition and will sell out quickly.

I also picked up the uncut Salo or 120 Days of Sodom by Pier Paolo Pasolini which was banned everywhere and promises true filth, degradation and violence in this uncut version. Like many films billed as the most disturbing ever made – it might just be total kitsch bollocks. I don’t know why capturing the essence of filth seems to elude so many? One can but live in hope.

Here’s Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, singing Relator.

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