I quite simply love this surreal but beautiful interview with Bonnie Prince Billy / Will Oldham on being a pirate:
Read the whole thing.So what I really want to ask you about are pirates.
Will Oldham: (Long pause.) O.K.
How does that happen, exactly? Is it just something a person falls into? Or do you make a conscious choice, “Y’know, I’d really like to be a pirate?”
I don’t think that word—the word “pirate”—has any real meaning. Or it’s something that’s had meaning imposed on it. The people who we’d label as pirates, who are doing things that we’d identify as pirating—taking over boats and robbing them of their cargo, down in Southeast Asia or the Spice Islands or Indonesia or the Philippines or wherever—I don’t think that word is even a part of their everyday lexicon. Do they say, “Here we are, pirates?” Or do they just say, “There’s a boat over there that has some stuff on it, we should take that?”
So you never identified yourself as a pirate?
I remember around this time getting a letter from a friend, and he had determined in this letter who he was. And I think that stalemated me for a little bit. I believed that you had to become who you are rather than just being who you are. It was about thinking that there’s an escape, that at any moment I could see a path that looked attractive and I had the option to walk down it. It’s thinking, “Well, being a pirate looks like a cool thing to do. So if I believe in that enough and do things that I associate with being a pirate, I will become that thing.”