Scott Pack was offering review copies of Gents ages ago but did I really want to read a book about cottaging in a gent's toilet?
Probably not I thought, but eventually I caved in and said send me one. I read it and have spent since September 21st trying to think how to write about a book about a gent's toilet.
It's not easy and then Kirsty over at Other Stories threw down the gauntlet, closed her eyes, and dashed in and has written a great review so I thought I must just get on with it.
Firstly I'm not going to indulge in a single pun in this post, nothing about being flushed or going down the pan or bog standard or anything like that, if it happens it'll be unintentional, even though the author's initials are WC, nope I'm not even going to draw attention to it.
But what of the book?
Ez, Josiah and Jason work in a gent's toilet in London, that's a well staffed loo if ever there was one and Ez, as the new and very unworldly-wise cleaning recruit is shocked by the daily cottaging in progress.The Social Services committee know it is
"an habitual place of assignation"
Eventually Mrs Steerhouse pops in to do an inspection and have a cup of tea in the Gent's and decrees that steps must be taken to stem what Ez sees as a
"tide of perversion".
Mrs Steerhouse frames it in slightly more politically correct tones,
"There will always be incidents in a busy metropolitan latrine...but I am sure we all agree that the reputation of this place must improve."
What follows is almost a comedy as the steps are taken and suddenly all the jobs are on the line as custom dwindles.However it's not a comedy as Ez, Josiah and Jason play out their various prejudices and each take their moral stand. Forced to examine their own consciences they all reach conclusions that reflect the various attitudes held by society today.
I've been trying to think about this and I think I can honestly say that down the years I've never knowingly been in a gent's toilet, so I can't vouch for the veracity of the atmosphere, the aroma, the working conditions or the goings-on.
Mind you soliciting in the gents is not just a city event.
There was a very well-known set of local rural toilets here, near a main roundabout but concealed by a miniature forest, wherin many a local reputation was besmirched down the years. Even a rumour of a rumour of a car being parked nearby was considered sufficient evidence of an assignation and in a small town with a very well-established and talkative grapevine that was curtains for the victim.
Eventually the forest was cleared and the doors are now visible to all and sundry and I doubt anyone ever goes near it.
There, I've done it, I've reviewed Gents at last!
PS And yes, in response to the comment, I did enjoy it and would recommend it, that's the only way a book gets this far:-)