Salty Dog

Vitamin-starved musicians – press-ganged, poorly paid, drenched in bootleg rum, and barked at by the strawberry-nosed stump-toothed captain for leaving guitar picks lying around – find themselves wondering why they are standing on the battered deck of a shipwreck wheezing under the strain of several years of wanton neglect, invaded by rot and rust, disguised with a lick of paint the day before the festival.

Why? Because the Salty Dog is where your parents never wanted you to end up, and that’s why you are all there. Including your parents.

The turn-of-the-century harbour that provides a bosom to the gloriously decadent Salty Dog comes to life – if ‘life’ is the right word for the kind of riff-raff that frequent this miscreant port. The scurvy-riddled crew barter for washed up buoys and stolen lobster pots, and scavenge for anchors and sails from a ship yard in the dead of night. Lights are slung high in the sky and The Salty Dog is ready: hustlers, rustlers, duckers and divers move like critters around the port, lowering the tone with twitchy gaits, doing anything at all to turn a dime. Blood spatters from the crude dentist shop, tattooed giants arm-wrestle girls for ale, grime-covered merchants hawk smoked fish and contraband oysters, warty ladies mend fishing nets and croak shanties at each other, and unqualified doctors offer guidance for unsavoury medical complaints.

Salty Dog – life at the bottom of the barrel. Arghhhh.