Cover art from Stan Hugill © 1967
|Once at sea, sailors would spend any free time telling stories of their adventures ashore in the saloons, music halls, and whore houses of what became known as "Sailortown."|
The Sailortowns were located adjacent to dockyards all over the world and had their own colorful names: Paradise Street in Liverpool, Tiger Bay in London, the Barbary Coast in San Francisco, South Street in New York City, Calle Marina in Callao, Circular Quay in Sydney, the Bund in Shanghai or Yoshiwara in Tokyo.
All were famous for their ability to fleece the sailor of his hard earned wages in return for liquor, entertainment, sexual favors, and a few souvenirs. And when the sailor's money was all gone, there were shipping agents or crimps ready to send him out again in exchange for his advance wages.
If the sailor were reluctant to ship out, he was often forced or shanghaied by the crimp and his crew of runners. Those were the lucky sailors, the ones who survived Sailortown to sail once more. Others were simply robbed and murdered, never to be heard from again.
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