The Ram Stam Boys - Chris Kent

Ladymol's Review:

In “Out of Bounds”, the main character is underage and that drives the whole premise of the plot. Since that book was published, the age of consent for boys has come in line with that for girls, so the whole issue goes away. Age of consent varies country to country. The point I’m trying to make being that these issues are not black and white. However, if you believe that adults having sex with children is wrong, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the outcome, then I suggest you steer very well clear of this book. In fact, don’t read any further. Stop reading now, please. I run a site for adults and by that I mean people who are open-minded and willing to accept that their view of the world is only one of a myriad of possible views.

So, onto this very challenging book…. It’s a very simple tale told with great humour and gusto by a fifteen-year-old boy, Guy. Chris Kent can write boys like no one else I know. He could teach Mike Seabrook a lesson or two, whose boys’ voices in Out of Bounds were risible at times. Guy’s in an English public school, but a relatively modern one with no fagging system, and the actual routine of the school is barely mentioned.  He’s is in a band with some of his friends (The Ram Stam Boys) and the very simplistic story is about the boys going to their first gig.  So, why the long intro and the desperate hope that anyone reading this is open-minded and adult? Well, Guy not only has sex with his contemporaries, he has sex with everyone: young boys, adults, fathers of the boys….

In Chris Kent’s other book that we’ve reviewed, Tom Browne’s Schooldays, it was a point both Cerisaye and I made: the sex was contained within the boys’ peer group. Once it went outside that (to teachers) it became exploitative, and the author himself was very clear on this point. However, in this book, you have Guy having sex with the father of one of the boys who openly admits he likes having sex with boys.

And, we’re not just talking sex of the “they went to bed and had sex” variety. This is interactive reading; you can smell, taste, see and hear this sex. You’ll wish you were feeling it, too. If Chris Kent can do anything, he can write bloody good sex scenes. He idolises the young male form; he turns it into something utterly sexual.

Consequently, and this is where I began to get very uneasy with this book, he presents all young boys as sexual creatures, just waiting and needing a man to come along and bring them to life with his magic wand. Surely this is exactly what paedophiles say in their defence: he wanted it really; I was doing him a favour….

What if this book were about girls? Would we so easily condone the scene where a man initiates a nine-year-old boy into sex, if it were a nine-year-old girl? I certainly wouldn’t, and is that being hypocritical or just a realist? In the context of the story, the man tells the nine year old boy that he needs to learn the difference between men and boys, and that he’s doing him a favour….

There is no denying the attraction of this book. The sex is constant, explicit and incredibly arousing.

I just wish the author had stuck to his sex between boys only mantra, because he’s made me feel guilty enjoying this book so much. But whether someone enjoys something or not shouldn’t be a justification for whether it should be condoned. We’d have freely available child-snuff movies if that were the case—where do you draw the line?

I’m uneasy about this book. I’m uneasy about the message I’d be giving saying that I recommend it. But then I’m uneasy being a hypocrite. I DID enjoy it, a lot. So, yes, highly recommended—some of the best sex in any novel we’ve reviewed. Just be careful who you give this one to; it certainly wouldn’t be to everyone’s tastes.

Cerisaye's Review:

I loved boarding school stories as a child.  I knew they weren’t real, but oh-my-gosh jolly good fun.  Kent’s cheeky novels carry on that tradition.  Substitute lashings of cheerfully explicit gay sex for ginger beer and cream buns, though in typical schoolboy fashion the main character loses his virginity then scoffs tea & scones. 

As though rebuffing PC criticism, Kent gives a gloss of respectability by including documentation from Shere Hite: 40% of boys have sex together, 36% performing oral sex , and 20% full penetration. Add an all-male environment, with raging hormones and rampaging boys. Are we surprised it’s a hothouse of sexual experimentation?

15 year-old Guy Tilson spends summer vac as a milk boy to buy a guitar, supplementing his wages by performing special services for the boss.  Like Harry Potter on the Hogwart’s Express, Guy meets new boy Peter Parker, missionaries’ son, newly arriving at Abertay.  Guy is smitten by the good-looking blond, also in 3rd year, with legs that’d make any red-blooded male weak-kneed with lust. Guy is a typical schoolboy.  Doesn’t like affection.  Doesn’t like romance.  But he always takes sweets from strangers, strictly on his terms so he calls the shots.  He’s smart and generous, an all round good egg you can’t help but like immensely.  And the narrative voice is brilliantly done.

Guy wonders can a 15 year-old can be a paedophile, given his weakness for delectable 1st years, Michael and James? The real object of Guy’s affection is Peter, but are they more than bum-chums?  Maybe they’re just kids, special friends having a great time with uncomplicated sex, yet they make love and that’s something they’ll remember forever.  Just look at Travis & Craig 20 years on in Love is All Around.

Sex in this story is natural and fun.  No guilt or shame.  It’s strictly consensual, in a world of boys where adults seldom intrude.  They do what they do because they enjoy doing it and having it done to them.  They don’t know if they’re gay, don’t care, but it feels right.  Nobody gets hurt. They experiment with each other, going by instinct, doing what feels good, and going only so far as they’re comfortable.  It’s honest boy-sex, full of sights, sounds and smells.

The original “ram-stammers” were tearaway pals of Scotland’s national poet and goodtime boy, Rabbie Burns. A musical story line climaxes with gay abandon at a festival in Cambridge. The Ram Stam Boys (strictly no virgins) of Abertay cover T-Rex songs, fronted by two extremely pretty boys, who wow an appreciative audience. 

First love and sexual awakening are rites of passage often covered in gay fiction but seldom with the pure joy of this novel. Sweet and tender, bold and sexy, with juvenile humour and appropriately scatological, it sizzles with explicitly erotic thrills, from beginning to end, and left me burning for more.  Highly recommended.

Published by GLB. ISBN: 187919452X

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