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                     BOOK REVIEW - ANONYMOUS – THE BALLAD OF ESKIMO NELL

Bawdy deeply silly and childish but funny ballad set in the Klondike Gold Rush period of American history. While most men sought Gold, Deadeye Dick went looking for sexual conquests, and his mate, sharp-shooting Mexico Pete, sought people to kill. They have been sexually starved for some time, having even taken caribou, bison and cow, which somehow fail to satisfy their needs. Neither man shows the slightest interest in gold or money.

 

Arriving at a brothel, Deadeye Dick immediately orders all the whores to line up facing the wall so that he can take them up their backsides one by one. Mexico Pete holds a gun on them while his friend enjoys himself, but he has barely started on the task of ploughing through forty bottoms and eighty breasts when Eskimo Nell arrives on the scene. She is another whore, and she immediately challenges Dick to satisfy her. He tries and fails spectacularly, as Nell cannot be so easily satisfied, even by a man of such limitless sexual energy. She drains him completely and leaves him virtually for dead. Pete tries to avenge his friend’s sexual humiliation by ramming his gun into the woman’s vagina, only to find that she easily absorbs that too. The ballad plays heavily on expectations, and uses its cold frigid landscape setting well. The sense of sex and violence and juvenile humour runs high. Many of the lines fail to rhyme well, but the overall effect is riotously funny. References to vacuum cleaners make the poem more modern than it ought to appear. At fifty-seven four line stanzas it is rather over-long, and badly edited but its sexual extremity and charm gives it a definite appeal.

 

Arthur Chappell 

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