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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis
Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77139] Thu, 09 July 2020 22:12 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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On the recommendation of Jolyon Lewes I grabbed a copy of this rather fun romp. I'm at chapter six right now. You can find Jonathan: Boy Seaman on Goodreads, and from there go to the Amazon site of your choice. I'm enjoying it a lot. The language and morality is pretty much right for the era. 



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77164 is a reply to message #77139] Wed, 29 July 2020 07:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I've just  finished this. It would have been quicker but there were interruptions in my rel life.  I rated it on Amazon UK and Goodreads as five stars. An easy link to your local amazon copy is getbook.at/Jonathan-Boy-Seaman

[Updated on: Wed, 29 July 2020 13:09]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
icon14.gif Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77330 is a reply to message #77164] Thu, 17 September 2020 15:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JCDII is currently offline  JCDII   United States

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Hi - I just finished reading Jonathan also and loved it!  I will write a review for Paul, hopefully this week, on
Amazon too.

Without giving away any spoilers, when I got to the end and read the 'afterwards' I was very pleased
to see that the second part of the book, on the ship, was mostly all based on true accounts of the
journey of the 'HMS Eagle' in 1969.  I had followed their travels on iMap with their stops in various ports
before I even read this part!

The story about the boys meeting at a real naval training school (HMS Ganges) and their subsequent relationship
was a great read for the first half also (and I have to say it, there was a lot of boy semen too Smile

It took me a while to get through it, not because of the writing, but mainly other 'life' stuff coming up and there
were many logical stopping point for each chapter.  Highly recommend it for anyone or everyone on this forum!
Thanks for letting us know about it Tim!
 - John
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77383 is a reply to message #77330] Sun, 04 October 2020 02:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin   United States

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I also just finished "Jonathan: Boy Seaman," though the title really should be "Jonathan & Dieter: Boy Seamen!"

It was a lovely read, but I can see how some would struggle with a story set back in 1968-69. I was fortunate that I was part way through Mark Arbour's 8-story "Bridgemont" series (on GA) when the post appeared. Those stories are essentially a gay versioin of Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" series, likewise set in the pre-Napoleonic was period. It's a romping British Navy series of stories, back when Brittania ruled the waves, and great fun.

That said, having it as recent background made some of the events at HMS Ganges training center, such as "kissing the gunner's daughter" and the "Manning the Mast" ceremony come to life. The exuberance for life that Lewis imbues into his main characters (they are seventeen after all!) is terrific, as is their coming together as friends and lovers, and the adventures of their first year together which carries the reader along.

Here's a photo of manning the mast: the Button Boy at the top is about 150 feet above ground!

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=5199&private=0

[Updated on: Sun, 04 October 2020 15:28]




Bensiamin
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77396 is a reply to message #77383] Tue, 13 October 2020 04:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

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I've now come to this book in my reading list and have been reading as time permits since last evening. It's an enjoyable read so far. Often, when reading I use Google Earth to explore for the locations and landmarks spoken of in a book, if they exist, and in this case they do. HMS Ganges is still there, though rather woebegone and tattered. The mast is still there as well, also rather woebegone and tatterred. 

One thing I found a bit different is an inattentation to detail on a particular point of Giles' 66 VW Camper Van having an engine that needed it's water levels checked. Maybe they made them that way in Europe? or the UK? but in the US they sported an air cooled, pancake engine that was prone to blowing a valve through the number three cylinder head. No water involved. It's a minor thing, and not distracting to the story but it did catch my attention! LOL

[Updated on: Tue, 13 October 2020 04:30]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77397 is a reply to message #77396] Tue, 13 October 2020 15:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin   United States

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Detail, details! They do matter to the astute reader. Especially one who check period or geographical details as they read the story!

I'm curious what type of research you did (if any!) to validate the device found in the basement storage room of one of the buildings at Ganges, to replicate Kissing The Gunner's Daughter?




Bensiamin
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77401 is a reply to message #77397] Tue, 13 October 2020 23:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

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I didn't look up the gunner's daughter because I've run across that particular reference at various times in the past, and when I've tried to Google the term there were pages and pages of YouTube videos, computer game references and similar trash postings. Google is not what it used to be when it comes to easily locating pertinent information because they've discovered the money to be made from front loading the search. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77403 is a reply to message #77401] Wed, 14 October 2020 01:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin   United States

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I concur with your Google assessment. However, didn't you find it (at least) interesting that at HMS Ganges in the mid-20th century, a British Naval training installation, they had a device to replicate the cannon required to administer a punishment that dates back to at least the early 18th Century?



Bensiamin
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77404 is a reply to message #77403] Wed, 14 October 2020 02:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

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"Bensiamin wrote on Tue, 13 October 2020 18:38"
I concur with your Google assessment. However, didn't you find it (at least) interesting that at HMS Ganges in the mid-20th century, a British Naval training installation, they had a device to replicate the cannon required to administer a punishment that dates back to at least the early 18th Century?

--
Well, the thing, in fact the entire room in which it resided, had obviously fallen into long disuse, so I wasn't particularly concerned about it's existence there late in 1968. I recall doing some exploring as a young man in the high school I attended, and finding some aincient and long disused rooms with contents that were out of context with the times when I was exploring.

On the other hand, I did not research the history of HMS Ganges so've no clue when the camp was established as a Royal Navy recruit training center. That history is more important to the accuracy of the tale, I would think. Also, I'd wish to know the history of such a punishment and when it fell into disuse. If the facility was established in the previous century, let's say, then the implements of punishment would not have been out of place, but one might question the efficiency and competency of the commanding officers of such a camp when it comes to keeping the place well modernized. 

But it's all speculation, as the story is fiction.



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Jonathan: Boy Seaman - Paul James Lewis  [message #77424 is a reply to message #77404] Wed, 21 October 2020 15:57 Go to previous message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin   United States

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Paul James Lewis isn't registered on the Forum, but I'm in correspondence with him and put a couple of questions to him, the first being Teddy's about water versus air cooled engines in VW camper vans. It should be noted that the author spent a career at sea, and his area or expertise would be marine propulsion plants or associated system, rather than engines in camper vans!

His replies:

Number 1 - mea culpa - I was not aware of the fact that VW camper van engines were not water-cooled. I looked up the reference [While the boys cleared away the breakfast things and washed up, Giles checked the engine for oil and water levels and, almost exactly on 8.00 am, in the growing light of a steely December dawn, they headed out of the woodland, back onto the road and on their way.]. I have to say, I didn't even think about it when I put that bit in, as it was basically a throw-away line included to bridge the narrative between the end of the overnight sequence and the beginning of the sequence describing their arrival at Grange Farm. If I thought about it at all, I suppose I just assumed that the thing had a radiator that needed topping up occasionally!

The second question concerned the old equipment Jonathan and Dieter found in the basement of a building at HMS Ganges, the caning bench that end up being used on Jonathan when he was abused by a CPO.

Number 2 - "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter". It is true that this was a punishment used at sea in the eighteenth century but it is very unlikely that this (or, indeed, the practice of flogging malefactors whilst tied to a vertically-mounted grating) survived much beyond the mid-nineteenth century, if that. The "caning bench" discovered by Jon and Diet in the musty old store-room beneath the gymnasium, is pure fiction. There is no evidence to suggest that any such thing was ever used or even existed. I have researched the Ganges background of the late 1960s very thoroughly and, whilst the vast majority of the detail is correct (the daily routine, the assault course etc), I have taken one liberty with reality. Corporal punishment of any description ceased in 1967 so, in fact, by 1968, the year Jon and Dieter joined the Navy, they would not have been caned for being AWOL but, if they had been, it would have been done as described, bent over a vaulting horse or something similar. This was the only place I tinkered with the contemporary realism.

In terms of its fit in the story, it was, after all, just the interpretation put on it by the lads (their minds tending to run on things like that!). It equally well could have been some sort of gym equipment which just happened to be able to be put to other, unintended, uses; a fact not lost on the sadistic and psychopathic PO Deavers! The giant "canes" may also have been something entirely different... but we'll never know!

Anyway, I hope these minor details didn't spoil the overall enjoyment of the story too much - as it says at the end, I'm always interested in any constructive criticism.




Bensiamin
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