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Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell

DigiTrad:
ESKIMO NELL (Amalgamated)


Related thread:
eskimo nell (2) (closed)


GUEST,Thomas 12 Aug 01 - 08:09 PM
Sorcha 12 Aug 01 - 08:13 PM
Bill D 12 Aug 01 - 09:07 PM
RangerSteve 12 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM
Grab 13 Aug 01 - 08:43 AM
Steve Parkes 13 Aug 01 - 09:18 AM
IanC 13 Aug 01 - 09:44 AM
Grab 13 Aug 01 - 10:21 AM
IanC 13 Aug 01 - 10:38 AM
pavane 13 Aug 01 - 10:48 AM
Steve Parkes 13 Aug 01 - 11:42 AM
IanC 13 Aug 01 - 11:58 AM
pavane 13 Aug 01 - 01:32 PM
Abby Sale 13 Aug 01 - 06:40 PM
Gareth 13 Aug 01 - 06:55 PM
Gareth 13 Aug 01 - 06:56 PM
Joe_F 13 Aug 01 - 07:01 PM
Joe_F 13 Aug 01 - 07:05 PM
Snuffy 13 Aug 01 - 07:24 PM
Lin in Kansas 13 Aug 01 - 09:48 PM
Grab 14 Aug 01 - 08:49 AM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 04 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,banjoman 29 Jan 04 - 07:35 AM
greg stephens 29 Jan 04 - 07:47 AM
Teribus 29 Jan 04 - 08:34 AM
Abby Sale 29 Jan 04 - 08:48 AM
Snuffy 29 Jan 04 - 09:26 AM
Teribus 29 Jan 04 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Jim Ward 29 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM
Teribus 29 Jan 04 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,roylow 13 Aug 08 - 04:18 AM
pavane 13 Aug 08 - 06:11 AM
Bill D 13 Aug 08 - 12:18 PM
pavane 13 Aug 08 - 01:17 PM
The Walrus 13 Aug 08 - 09:28 PM
pavane 14 Aug 08 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,RJ WARD 07 Sep 08 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Mike Foster 25 Sep 08 - 05:45 AM
Schantieman 25 Sep 08 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Skylark 26 Sep 08 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,cooked 10 May 10 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,chazer 26 May 10 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,tedda ! 07 Nov 10 - 06:30 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Nov 10 - 11:56 PM
MGM·Lion 08 Nov 10 - 12:01 AM
Lighter 08 Nov 10 - 07:56 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Nov 10 - 09:21 AM
Lighter 08 Nov 10 - 12:42 PM
MGM·Lion 08 Nov 10 - 12:56 PM
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Subject: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,Thomas
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 08:09 PM

I've encountered vague references to a song called "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell". Is this a real song and does anyone have the lyrics/tune/artist/recording?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Sorcha
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 08:13 PM

Lyrics are in the DT here! If you put Eskimo Nell in the white search box you will also find discussions of it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 09:07 PM

at a workshop at our folk music camp maybe 10-12 years ago, we heard a complete rendition of Eskimo Nell...(read..not from memory)...boggles the mind!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: RangerSteve
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM

I just read the poem. I'm at a loss for words. Thank you, Sorcha.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Grab
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 08:43 AM

Has anyone ever heard this done from memory? I'm sure there must be _someone_ who can do it, but it'd certainly be a challenge!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 09:18 AM

It's possible, but where are you going to get to perform it often enough for it to sink in properly? I set out years ago to memorise the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (what's his name's 1st version), but only got about 1/3 of the way; but it gets tedious practicing, and the neighbours start complaining.

I see it's described as "imitation Robert Service", bt I've heard it actually attributed to him, though without provenance. Does anybody know for sure? If it was his, he proaly wrote other "unsuitable" stuff (although after 60-odd verses maybe he'd had eought!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: IanC
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 09:44 AM

Grab

I think you just have to ask around Rugby clubs in the UK. As far as I'm aware, Eskimo Nell has always been on the menu.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Grab
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 10:21 AM

Yeah, I know it's a traditional rugby song/recitation, but I can't imagine many ppl being able to remember all those verses in the middle of a good pissup!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: IanC
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 10:38 AM

But they do. The normal Rugby version isn't all that long and I've heard longer recitals.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 10:48 AM

Back in 1968, a friend of mine spent his entire 3rd year at University (London) memorising it, when he wasn't playing Bridge. I never DID hear him recite it though, so I don't know if he succeeded.

On another point, there have been many rumours about who wrote it, he was said to be a well known literary figure, but I never did uncover an actual name. Can we have some names of the supposed author?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:42 AM

Yes--Robert Service (see above!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: IanC
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:58 AM

Grab

Sorry, I only just looked at the DT version. It's been Amalgamated from 3 or 4 different sources which is why it's so long. Most versions are rather less than half the length!

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 01:32 PM

Any other suggested authors though? I am sure the one I was told about was someone better known. (or maybe its just my ignorance of poets)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Abby Sale
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 06:40 PM

Martin Carthy recites a fine, dramatic recitation of a good, full version.

My understanding is that while it cannot be proven that Service wrote it, there are no other likely candidates. It is not unusual to find extremely bawdy material from otherwise "acceptable" or children's material authors.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Gareth
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 06:55 PM

Well, I my Rugby playing youth we usually had one Herbert who could sing (if thats the right word) Eskimo Nell, my own party presentation was "the Harlot of Jerusalem", funny thing is as the beer kicks in you recall the verses. If sober you have difficulty recalling the name, let along the words.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Gareth
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 06:56 PM

Well, I my Rugby playing youth we usually had one Herbert who could sing (if thats the right word) Eskimo Nell, my own party presentation was "the Harlot of Jerusalem", funny thing is as the beer kicks in you recall the verses. If sober you have difficulty recalling the name, let along the words.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 07:01 PM

The collation of the various versions, and most of the notes at the end, are mine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 07:05 PM

The collation of the various versions, and most of the notes at the end, are mine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 07:24 PM

Sure it's not Echo Nell?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 09:48 PM

There are 13 verses and an actual tune on p. 56 in Jerry Silverman's The Dirty Song Book, ISBN 0-88029-292-X, copyrighted in 1982 (formerly ISBN 0-8128-6118-3). I've transcribed the tune and sent it to MMario for the DT, so it will eventually be attached to the lyrics.

If anyone wants to hear it sooner, I could email them a midi maybe.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Grab
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 08:49 AM

I've got a rugby songs book at home with a "full" version which goes on for ever - I swear, it's longer than the Ancient Mariner! Have to post it for cross-reference purposes. Some of the other songs are worth knowing, but unfortunately it lacks the tune. Mind you, "tune" is arguable when 15 (plus subs) drunk rugby players are belting it out...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 09:10 PM

Copied from another thread:
    The Mudcat Café TM
    Thread #41018   Message #1103851
    Posted By: Gareth
    28-Jan-04 - 07:10 PM
    Thread Name: song lyrics: the shooting of dan mcgrew
    Subject: RE: song lyrics: the shooting of dan mcgrew


    Now a question I will ask. Having sung/recited that seminal poem "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell", at many a Rugby Club or similar night, did Robert W. Service write "Eskimo Nell"?

    Serious replys please !

    Gareth

    When a man growes old,
    And his b**ls grow cold,
    And the tip of his C**k turns blue,
    When it bends in the middle
    Like a one string fiddle.
    He can tell you a tale or two."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 07:35 AM

Many many years ago at a club in Liverpool hosted by the Original Old Rope band (the name was pinchedfrom them) I met a guy who produced a computer print out of Eskimo Nell.
We then spent a whole evening reading/singing it and counted 400 -Yes 400- verses. I don't know what happened to it and I suspect that lots of the verses were add ons to the original.

The song also included a few verses about another "Lady" called Sarah Cox :
This is the tale of Mary Cox
Who gave a thousand men the p**x
Now she's dead she's not forgotten
They just dig her up & Stuff her rotten.

Tho' she's known as Mary Tucker by the ones who used to f*** her
Her real name is Tulula Johnson Black
She's handled many a tool since the day she finished school
And made a darn fine living on her back

Thats all for now folks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 07:47 AM

Seem to have lost a post so I'll try again.
Robert Service attribution seems highly unlikely to me. The piece(or at least the versions I have heard) seems to me a knowing slightly ironic 2oth century parody of Robert Service.
   I've seen it attributed to Noel Coward, A.P. Herbert and possibly others as well, on what evidence I havent a clue. But that sort of genre of writer seems a lot more likely than an actual bit of Robert Service. Take a couple of quotes:

He twitched his arsehole in and out
And made his balls inflate
Until they looked like granite knobs
Atop a garden gate

Now Dead-Eye Dick and Mexico Pete
Had been panning up Shit Creek
And they'd had no luck by way of a fuck
In well nigh on a week

Does that sound like Robert Service? I think it sounds like a devastating parody of the style.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Teribus
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 08:34 AM

I have heard that it was written by Noel Coward and that it's first "public" performance was at a "Sod's Opera" onboard HMS Gambia while she was out in the West Indies.

banjoman, the one you have quoted is I think a different poem/song - it used to be my Rugby Club party piece.

It goes something like:

There's a dirty stinking piss-house to the North of Waterloo
There's another one for Ladies further down
They are kept by Sally Tucker, for a shilling you can f**k her
You can sleep with her for only half a crown

Tho' she's known as Sally Tucker, by those who've oft times f**ked her
Her real name is Tahlula Johnstone-Black
And she's handled many a tool, from the day she first left school
and she's earned a damn fine living on her back

She's the filthiest of bitches, by the colour of her britches
You'd swear that dame had never had a wash
Yet the smell from her vagina is infinitely finer
Than any whisky, beer, rum, or lemon squash

One night she had a rattle by a sailor from Seattle
She wondered why he hugged her long and close
But when he'd finished screwing, she knew what he'd been doing
For he'd gone and left her proper with a dose

She gave it to her father, who gave it to her mother
Who gave it to the Reverend Percy Brown
Who gave it to his cousin, who gave it to a dozen
And now it's half way round the f**ckin' town

At last it came to pass, it reached that sailors arse
It travelled half way up his flamin' back
It rotted and it festered, his very life it pestered
Twas the vengeance of Tuhlula Johnstone-Black

There's a dirty stinking sailor to the North of Waterloo
With a dose of syph that's slowly turning green
Tho' he's hacked it, and he's scratched it
If he can ere detatch it. He's a better man than I am Gunga Din.

The tune for the above is "The Tangle o' the Isles"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Abby Sale
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 08:48 AM

Yeah, but Greg...verses evolve in oral tradition. The verses in DigTrad are more common and are better scansion.

5. Now Deadeye Dick and Mexico Pete
had been working Dead Man's Creek,
And they'd had no luck in the way of a fuck
for nigh on half a week --

36. He winked his arsehole in and out,
and make his balls inflate
Until they looked like granite knobs
on top of a garden gate.

Yes, sounds like Service to me.

I think Joe, the poster of the text(s), clearly shows it's most likely of Canadian (and not Brit or USian) origin. And after all, how many Canadian poets are there?

Perhaps one day a manuscript copy will turn up...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 09:26 AM

Teribus,

That one's a parody of The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God or Mad Carew or whatever they call it. I've only ever heard it done as a recitation, in the same way as Eskimon Nell. The version I know starts:

There's a little green urinal to the North of Waterloo.

The usual song sung to "The Tangle o' the Isles" is in the DT Database as THE FINEST FUCKING FAMILY. That version shares a couple of lines with the Talulah song, but many versions don't. And there's a version which claims D'Ye Ken John Peel is the tune


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Teribus
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 09:56 AM

Hi Snuffy,

Thanks for the info.

Another that I used to hear, but don't know the title of goes

In Market Street Manchester one summers night
There was only one cab on the rank
The driver was reading the News of the World
And quietly having a wank

He was dreaming that Venus was kissing his penis
The shaking was making him tired
When a waitress named Lena, with tits like Sabrina
Came up and casually enquired

How much would you charge me to Oldham
The cab driver nearly dropped dead
He got such a shock he let go of his cock
And Barclayed his gear nob instead.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,Jim Ward
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM

4th verse to the one above-

How much would you charge me to Oldham?
You're a nice sort of girl I can tell
So I won't charge you nothing to Oldham
If you let me 'old yours as well, fuckin 'ell
If you let me 'old yours as well


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Teribus
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 12:18 PM

Thanks Jim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,roylow
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 04:18 AM

I stumbled on this discussion today.
Some years ago I attempted a compilation of several versions of the Ballad of Eskimo Nell and put it on my personal web-site.
I tried to preserve only those lines with good scansion because, like several contributors, I was told (ca 1955) it was written by a "real" poet - Coward was named as a possible.
The lines I removed are still preserved at the end of the file if you prefer another version.
Anyone interested can get it on my web-site at http://www.low.net.au/eskimo.html with compliments.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 06:11 AM

As mentioned above, it is usually attributed to Robert Service, who spent some time in the area. I don't suppose he would have claimed authorship even if he DID write it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 12:18 PM

In the same way, there was a famous bawdy novel, "The Memoirs of Josephine_Mutzenbacher", which was attributed to Felix Salten, the author of "Bambi".
see here

I remember reading that someone once got up the nerve to ask Salten about it, and that his reply was a shrug and (paraphrased) "If I admit it, you will think I am teasing you, and if I deny it, you won't believe me anyhow." ...which was widely taken as a thinly disguised admission.

Some things are better left in that literary limbo...it gives folks something to debate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 01:17 PM

I'm sure he would have done well out of the royalties.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: The Walrus
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 09:28 PM

Is this the Robert Service who wrote "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man"?

W


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: pavane
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 03:08 AM

Yes, according to Wikipedia

Robert Service in Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,RJ WARD
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 05:23 PM

BRILLIANT STUFF


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,Mike Foster
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 05:45 AM

I remember this ballad from a book of Rugby Songs published by Pan in the UK around 1968.

As a teenager I thought the obscenities were hilarious, but I was shocked when my father recited some of it from memory.

He'd learned it while on patrol in submarines based on Alexandria in 1941/1942. In between landing secret agents on Crete and torpedoing Italian ships, the crews occupied their time with beard-growing competitions and memorising Eskimo Nell competitions.

He had (and I think still has) a carbon copy from which he memorised the ballad, so it is possible to learn the whole thing. When you're stuck in a tin can underwater for 18 hours at a time hoping the depth charges don't come any closer, it's probably easy to concentrate on on a smutty masterpiece like this.

He says it was widely believed the ballad was written by Noel Coward.

The reason I visited this website today is that I came across a recitation of Robert Service's The Shooting of Dan McGrew on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please last Sunday. For the first minute I was convinced it was a part of Eskimo Nell I'd never heard before. The rhythm of the two poems is identical, which is why Eskimo Nell is obviuosly an excellent parody of Dam McGrew.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Schantieman
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 09:43 AM

...er.....how, exactly, does a beard growing competition occupy time?   Mine is quite capable of growing all on its own without taking up any time at all. ;-)

And if Noel Coward wrote Eskimo Nell, I'll eat my hat.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,Skylark
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 06:29 AM

Yes, the Ballad of Eskimo Nell, I remember it well. 1968 seems to be a significant year in some of our memories of this rhyme. In my first term at the Univesrity of Leeds in 1968, the Leeds Engineers Weekly Dispatch (LEWD) serialised the ballad - ten verses each week for the term. It kept us all very amused I remember.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,cooked
Date: 10 May 10 - 05:00 AM

hi!
Primitive as they were, it would be interesting to see back numbers of 'LEWD' Any ideas?

At Leeds 1966- 1970


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,chazer
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:52 PM

my nan recited every verse at a rugby club dinner. she stood on the pub table and said it word for word


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: GUEST,tedda !
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 06:30 PM

I can recite it , easy peasy - I do 100 pu's , the drink a pint standing on me head and blast it out !
Shuld be compulsory ..| :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 11:56 PM

---And if Noel Coward wrote Eskimo Nell, I'll eat my hat.--- Schantieman Sep 08 >>>>>

Oh, I don't know. Think of the verse about poor old Deadwood Dick having to make do with 'a moose or two, or a caribou, A bison cow or a crow; But Deadwood Dick was king of the prick, & he found it fucking slow'; and think also of the bit in Coward's "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" - 'Even caribous lie around and snooze, For there's nothing else to do' ~~~ the similarity of the intro in each case of the unlikely 'caribou' to provide a rhyme, linked to the concept of immediate complete boredom, strike me as at least stylistically suggestive of a Noel Coward connection. Anyone agree?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 12:01 AM

& re Robert Service as a possible candidate: I agree that it is too much of a patent travesty of his own style & preoccupations to be his own work: I mean, no-one would think Will Shax himself actually wrote the "Get thee to Essex, Gloucester, and thee to Sussex, Kent" line in 'Beyond The Fringe', would they?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 07:56 AM

The caribous could easily be a coincidence, since "-oo" is a useful rhyme and suggested by the Canadian milieu. (See what I mean? It's even happening now!)

Another very real possibility is that Coward was familiar with the poem, even if he didn't write it.

The earliest printed reference I find, for what it's worth, came in 1941. No text, of course. The psychologist H. J. Eysenck wrote decades later that he'd "learned it at student parties at Exeter College, London, about 1932."

It was widely recited during WWII, apparently in the RAF especially.
Perhaps its direct inspiration was the bawdy parody of Service's "Shooting of Dan McGrew," but now I'm just guessing.

The limited information available suggests that "Eskimo Nell" has not been very well known in the U.S. That too may imply a British rather than a Canadian origin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 09:21 AM

But, Lighter, as Mad Dogs & Englishmen [1931{NY}/32{London}] is about exactly contemporary with your terminus a quo date for E Nell, your putative 'coincidence' would appear either unlikely or suggestive of same-authorship. Your dates make my point feel even stronger to me. Coward had bored/boring caribous much in mind & they would out! &, as you yourself point out, it is much more probably of CisAtlantic than TransAtlantic origin.

~M~

BTW,in what dialect does 'milieu' rhyme with 'caribou'?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 12:42 PM

If you'll ask any average American who happened not to have majored in English or literature in college, you'll discover that the final syllables of "caribou" and "milieu" do rhyme, though imperfectly. Ogden Nash might have gotten some mileage out of them had he thought to do so.

So far as I know, the case for Coward's authorship rests on these facts only:

Both Noel Coward and "Eskimo Nell" were extremely clever and perverse, both were in circulation in 1931-32, and both used "caribou."

To me that's not a case; it's a suspicion. Other clever and perverse people were in circulation at that time, though most of them presumably kept lower profiles than Noel Coward.

Short of a signed and notarized confession, I'd have to see more actual evidence before concluding that Coward was the poet in question.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Eskimo Nell
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 12:56 PM

I didn't make it as a 'case', if you look, Lighter; but as a suggestion rather than as a 'suspicion'. I still think that it isn't only the mention of the caribous, in two works we have established were probably written about the same time, but mention of them both in a context of extreme boredom, which suggests a link ~~ & think of the words in 'Mad Dogs' ~ "Even caribous lie about & snooze, For there's nothing else to do" ~~ what the betting that if NC sang that on a stag-cabaret occasion, he would have sung "fuck-all else to do"? Irresistible, isn't it?

~Michael~


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