This week marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Drogheda’s first erotic novel, Foeteen Shades of Ballsgrove, by a local author who goes by the nome de plume Nedser Gash.
The real identity of the author has never been revealed though it is said that he/she vowed never to write another word after the book was burnt, banned and blamed for accelerating the moral decay of the town.
Surviving copies were circulated on the sly and only a few well thumbed editions have stood the test of time. The novel pre-dated the town’s first extra-marital affair by a year.
The book itself is about a steamy lust triangle between a young and seemingly innocent office temp with hippie tendencies, a married councillor and an ambitious junior engineer from Tullyallen who slowly realises he will do anything to climb the greasy pole.
The novel uses the backdrop of 1970s Drogheda, when much of the town was destroyed in the name of progress, to philosophise on the true worth of the sexual revolution. He challenges us to ask whether things were better before. It also touches on themes of gender fluidity, androgyny, polygamy, the DJ scene, sexual repression and good fiscal conservatism.
A Kickstarter campaign is to be launched to reprint and possibly update the novel. Chapter 69 is printed here with permission.