In the port of Amsterdam…

“In the port of Amsterdam
There’s a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings
From the wide open sea… 

Jacques Brel “Amsterdam”

“To get drunk was the birthright and hallmark of real sailors, who when they were given leave, hasten to the first tavern and drink themselves into a state of helpless infirmity…” [N.A.M. Rodger: “The Command of the Ocean” ].

Brel may well have been singing about the darker side of Amsterdam, but after living in Portsmouth for the past 30 years or so, I can recognise a good few parallels…

Which probably explains why I like Amsterdam so much 🙂

Scratch beneath the surface, and everything’s not quite so clear cut or black and white.

Turn... John Callaway 2012

Turn… John Callaway 2012

In the port of Amsterdam
There’s a sailor who sleeps
While the riverbank weeps
To the old willow tree…..

Crossing over... John Callaway 2012

Crossing over… John Callaway 2012

In the port of Amsterdam
There’s a sailor who drinks
And he drinks and he drinks
And he drinks once again.
He drinks to the health
Of the whores of Amsterdam…

Signs.... John Callaway 2012

Signs…. John Callaway 2012

Indeed….

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