BastardChef III: Just Desserts
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Trial Show/Pilot Taping

By Hook or by Cook

Captain J Hook
Captain James Hook. Apologies to John Webber.


When I was a kid, I didn't realise the Captains Hook and Cook were two different people. I'm not sure if I assumed the evil pirate bumped into the Great Southern Land between bouts of tormenting Peter Pan, or if the English naval captain had a hook in the place of the hand he lost to a crocodile. Probably both. Maybe it was because both captains had the same first name - something I didn't realise until looking Captain Hook up online for this blog post.

Although now that I think of it, there's a generation of people who refer to the pointy-eared Vulcan on the original Star Trek as 'Doctor Spock', confusing Captain Kirk's emotionless sidekick, Spock, with the paediatrician whose influential post-war tome, Baby and Child Care, proved very influential indeed. It's a similar kind of confusion.

I do remember my big brother setting me straight, as all good big brothers should, one time when I was insisting Captain Hook discovered Australia. He grabbed an encyclopedia, found the entry for Captain Cook, and pointed out the good Captain had both hands in the accompanying portrait.

Although, I couldn't read back then, so what did I know? This is the same big brother, after all, who grabbed an encyclopedia and claimed it explained how to hypnotise people:

"Repeatedly tell them what you want them to do," he pretended to read, "ending with the word 'sesame'."

My dad cracked the sh*ts when I tried to 'hypnotise' him to take us to the beach: "take us to the beach, sesame; take us to the beach, sesame". (I can't remember if the encyclopedia suggested that you wave your hands like a magician while you say it, or if I ad lib'd that bit, inspired by cartoons.)

As it happened, my old man - asleep on the sofa in front of the midday movie until I woke him with my attempt to instil my will upon him - didn't even open his eyes as he assured me, in no uncertain terms, that he'd "give me the beach!" before resuming his snoring. We still laugh about this as a family, nearly four decades on. Well, not me. I kind of shake my head in embarrassed self-pity. And not my old man; he's dead. Him laughing now would just be weird.

Anyway, my point is, I can't be the only person who used to confuse Captain James Cook and Captain James Hook. Consider the artwork for the Atmostheatre production of Peter Pan - The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. That's definitely Captain Cook with the bow tie map of the world.

Peter Pan

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