Review: Custom Pirate Hat

The Bilgemunky Logo is a trademark of Bilgemunky Enterprises, LLC

Rating: ★★★★★
Pyrate Leatheworx

*note: I adore and endorse the craftsmanship of Pyrate Leatherworx. However, I’ve received many reports of late from dissatisfied customer regarding poor communication and long overdue orders. Prior to placing an order based on this review, I strongly urge you to first read these comments from concerned readers.

The time had come.

Too many times I’ve attended pirate events, had a fantastic time, and then come home to grumpy emails from readers saying, “I didn’t know you were at [Pirate Festival]! I was there too – I’d have bought you a rum!” Now, I’m not the sort to walk up to everyone and say, “Greetings, I am Bilgemunky – perhaps you’ve heard of me.” (Actually, I’d gladly do this, except for the fear of them saying, “No – now please leave me alone.”) But I’m also not the type to pass up the opportunity for readers to buy me rum. What to do? Continue reading

Review: Singapore Pirate Hat

Rating: ★★★½☆
Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats

The debate is never ending: Who’s better, pirates or ninjas?

Obviously I fall wholeheartedly into the pirate camp, and the reasons are many. I won’t bore you with the full list, but one of the key points is that as pirates, we get to customize our look to fit our own personal prefences. Where ninjas wear black pajamas, pirates can choose from a multitude of colors and styles with regards to their wardrobe. In this respect, Captain Jack’s Pirate Hats has been a longtime friend of pirates everywhere with their wide assortment of pirate hats in many cuts and styles, and in a seemingly endless variety of colors.

But should you be on the fence between pirates and ninjas, Captain Jack’s now has your back as well. Their new “Singapore Pirate Hat” boasts a strong asian influence that’s sure to turn heads in pirate and ninja circles alike. Continue reading

Review: (Early 18th Century) Colonial Buckle Shoe

Rating: ★★★★☆
C&D Jarnagin Company

When it comes to period clothing, shoes are one of the biggest hangups around. For a true pirate reenactor (which I am not), the first challenge is just getting into the “shoes, not boots” mindset – boots would rarely have been worn by pirates, if we’re to be perfectly accurate. But even then, the trouble is just starting – historical shoes should be straight-lasted (meaning no left or right), have relatively large tongues and small buckles, be butt stitched, etc. etc. The sad truth is, there’s really no perfectly accurate shoe on the market for the golden age of piracy. There are many close-enough shoes for the casual pirate – some of very high quality. But almost none that would meet the standards of a true, dyed-in-the-linen historical reenactor. Continue reading

Review: The Buccaneer’s Realm

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Buccaneer’s Realm
by Benerson Little

Already a fan of The Sea Rover’s Practice (being the only book on pirate tactics written by a former Navy SEAL), you can imagine I was looking mighty forward to Benerson Little’s next book, The Buccaneer’s Realm: Pirate Life on the Spanish Main, 1674-1688.

Many books on piracy – in my experience – are entry level. They are written on the assumption that the reader has little or no prior knowledge of the subject matter, and therefore start at the beginning. I suppose this makes sense as it casts the widest net for gaining readers, but the downside is that many books on piracy cover the same basic turf again and again. While I don’t know Little’s intentions, it does seem to me that he has departed from this 101 template in favor of a more exploratory book of Buccaneering 201. Continue reading

Review: Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef

Pirate’s Choice is an unusual rum. It bears special consideration in several respects. First, it was first distilled in a makeshift (and very illegal) contraption built on the second story of a scuba shop in Key Largo. This is highly braggable. Now created in a more professional (and legal) distillery, the rum is sold in classy squat bottles, complete with labels featuring a silhouette of a pirate ship at rest as a storm approaches. This is beautiful. And, most noteworthy of all, no rum since the golden age of piracy has gone through such effort to introduce, insert, and endear itself to the pirate community. And this, my friends, is remarkable and admirable. In fact, I first met the president of Pirate’s Choice at PyrateCon 2008 in New Orleans, where he was giving away t-shirts, stickers, temporary tattoos, and countless samples of his product to every rogue, wench, and scalliwagg he could find (and being PyrateCon, he found lots of them.) However, this wasn’t the first I’d tasted Pirate’s Choice – I’d had a sample some months prior – at Pirates in Paradise in Key West. As I write this review, Pirate’s Choice is currently promoting itself at the Hampton Blackbeard Festival, with plans to attend the Port Washington Pirate Festival in turn just one week later. In short – Pirate’s Choice Rum is busting its hump to be noticed by the pirate community, making it the first and only rum to look at modern day pirates and see a viable market worth persuing. I suppose this could be seen as a cold business strategy, but I actually view it as heartening. I mean, when’s the last time Captain Morgan gave a squat about us? And HE’s supposed to be a pirate! Continue reading

Review: Pirates of the East Coast of the Americas & the Caribbean Sea

Rating: ★★★★★
Roy Metté

Buy the CD
Genre: Contemporary Pirate Folk.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Anyone – particularly those familiar with prominent historical pirates

Yes, it does occasionally happen that I fully, shamelessly gush my love of a pirate album. So if that doesn’t suit you, then just save yourself the trouble and skip past this review – you don’t need to read it, but you *do* need to buy Roy Metté’s Pirates of the East Coast of the Americas & the Caribbean Sea. Continue reading

Review: Marooned

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy the CD
Genre: Faire music, nautical and otherwise
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

Marooned is an album (and a band) that has a morbidly bizarre sense of humor. It’s (mostly) G-Rated, yet remains a CD largely about death, bastards, and booze. The oddness begins right away with Companion, an a cappella song (as is the entire album) that sounds gentle and friendly. The lead vocals are personable and very human, and the backup vocals are soft yet solid. As to the lyrics? Well, that’s when you start to realize that this seemingly harmless song is actually a bundle of peer-pressure, strongly indicating that the singers will only be your friend if you drink lots (and lots, and lots.) Continue reading

Review: Cutlass, Cannon, and Curves

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Jolly Rogers

Genre: Pirate-themed faire music
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

By and large, the vast majority of festival pirate music centers around traditional songs. This gives rise to two common problems:

1) Much of it starts to sound the same

and 2) Being as few traditional songs were actually about pirates, there’s often little to differentiate “pirate” music from other festival-driven sea shanties, Irish fighting songs, or bawdy ballads. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Mermaid Prints

Rating: ★★★☆☆
David Delamare

OK mate – first thing you should know when decorating yer cabin/office/rec-room – old world maps, as great as they are, *can* be overdone. Proper pirate wall decor requires variety. It requires color and texture. It requires bare-chested mermaids.

Artist David Delware has released a series of three prints, each featuring various encounters between pirates and mermaids. They’re pretty, and they’re large (review prints were a hefty 10″ tall and 20″ wide.) All of them make fine use of “candlelight” coloring, focusing heavily on warm golds and with most other colors (with the exception of some blues) being rather muted for a nice, old-worldy effect.

Continue reading

Review: Crate Table

The Bilgemunky Logo is a trademark of Bilgemunky Enterprises, LLC

Rating: ★★★★½
The Pirate Furniture Company

Whether at an encampment or in your office, the downside of accumulating lots of cool pirate booty is having a place to put it. And while some would argue that any old shelf or table would serve just fine, I’d submit that the only proper place to store your pirate booty is on a proper pirate table.

We’ve previously reviewed the folding Camp Stool from the Pirate Furniture Company – an invaluable item that still serves me well today. And now we have a second opportunity to view their work with their Crate Table – a small table suitable for an endtable, or well matched to sit at as a makeshift desk when combined with the afformentioned Camp Stool. Continue reading