How do, fellow travelers through time and space, herein find the latest schemes of THE HANDSOME FAMILY as well as a look at the terrible age of CRIMPING. Be well-warned of poisoned drink and The Handsome Family's approach...
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The terms ‘crimping’ and ‘Shanghaiing’ refer to the practice of forcing men to work on ships by trickery, violence or intimidation. The practice flourished in port cities of the UK and America during the late 1800’s. Once a sailor was signed to a ship he faced imprisonment if he tried to leave. All the crimp had to do was forge a man’s signature and get him on a ship. The ‘boarding masters’ of ships were often paid by the body and so it was in their best interest to get as many sailors on board as possible. The payment per body was called ‘blood money’. The most common way of crimping was to render a man unconscious, forge his signature then dump him in the hold of a ship. By the time the man awoke he was out to sea. Often these men were not able to return home for many years. To prevent the escape of their crew such ships often anchored 5 miles out to sea and carefully monitored who was allowed ashore. Even this did not stop desperate men from fleeing. One boat anchored off the cost of Alaska found that several men jumped off into the freezing sea.
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HANDSOME FAMILY— EUROPEAN TOUR DATES!

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James Kelly, better known as "Shanghai" Kelly, was an American crimp. In the early 1870s, Kelly was reported to have Shanghaied 100 men in a single evening. Renting a paddle steamer, he announced that he was hosting a free booze cruise to celebrate his birthday, and to say thank you to his fellow crimps who had helped him over the years. After leaving port, his bartenders served opium-laced whiskey to the guests and then offloaded their unconscious bodies onto awaiting ships.
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VAGUE PLANS…    In MARCH, 2015 we’re planning a return to the UK and Ireland
                    In APRIL, 2015 we’re heading to the west coast of USA
                    More details to come.
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Joseph “ King of Crimps" Kelly of Portland, Oregon claimed to have crimped over 2,000 men and women during his 15-year career. Kelly was known for providing a crewman that turned out to be a cigar-store Indian wrapped in a tarpaulin as well as for selling off several unconscious prostitutes (whom he had dressed as seamen). One night Kelly happened upon a group of dead and dying men in the cellar of Johnson & Sons Undertakers. They had broken into what they thought was the cellar of the saloon next door and mistakenly drank formaldehyde thinking that the wooden kegs held beer. Instead of calling for help for the poisoned men, Kelly sold them all.
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ART WORK…
SHIRTS… We have a NEW T-SHIRT featuring my art of an alchemical salamander potion.

WHEN INSOMNIA STRIKES… I've been making late-night art, especially in hotel rooms while on tour. I’ve been selling these small, colored-marker pieces exclusively at the merch table during live shows. Come out to a show and get a chance to buy an original work or to see what runs through my mind late at night. Laugh at the marker stains across my wrists and palms! 
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A Laplander named Nikko would lure his mark into Miss Piggott’s saloon and maneuver him until he was standing over a trapdoor. Miss Piggott would then pour a cocktail "composed of equal parts of whisky, brandy and gin, with a goodly lacing of laudanum or opium," While the victim was reeling from the impact of the drink Miss Piggott would hit him over the head then pull a lever to drop him into the basement. Miss Piggott provided a mattress below to break the victim’s fall, but only so that these men would remained uninjured before their sale.
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VINYL… We are excited to announce that very soon (hopefully by November 4) Carrot Top will be releasing our albums 'Through the Trees' and 'Singing Bones’ on vinyl LP. You can pre-order your copies here and now and we’ll send them out when they arrive here from the factory.
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One victim, Robert Hay, was walking in London when he was accosted by a person in seamen's dress who tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “What ship?” Before Hays could even respond the man whistled and Hays found himself surrounded by 8 men who dragged him through the streets and onto a ship. Another victim said he met a man in a dark street near the Spokane train station. They chatted briefly and then the man drew something from his pocket and struck the victim on the head. "I must have lost consciousness,” the victim said. “For when I awoke I was in a box car in the railroad yards at Tacoma. On leaving the car, I was accosted by a stranger, who invited me to eat with him, and being hungry and without money, I accepted the invitation. We went into a restaurant, and while eating I noticed that the coffee had a peculiar taste, and remarked about it to my companion, who assured me it was all right. I do not remember anything from that time until I awoke on board a ship three days out at sea.”
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Be wary of strong drinks and trap doors, my friends. See you at a show! I’ll try to clean the marker off my hands. XO RENNIE





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