April 12, 2006
When Andrew Krucoff approached me about participating in a five-blog book tour for Frank Portman's book, King Dork, I immediately accepted. Being a huge fan of Portman's band, The Mr. T Experience, I envisioned a different, exciting young adult novel. I read the book last night and was impressed by its frankness (no pun intended) and big ideas, it's a book everyone can enjoy and not only for teens.
I now turn Largehearted Boy over to Andrew Krucoff and the author, Frank Portman:
Frank Portman (Dr. Frank of the Mr. T Experience) is the author of King Dork, a story that revolves around Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) who is a typical American high school loser until he discovers his deceased father's copy of The Catcher in the Rye, which will change the world as he knows it. He soon finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it's just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father's death and reveal the secret to attracting semi-hot girls. Early reviews are here and here. Welcome to the King Dork blog book tour, previous stops include Gawker and Stereogum.
In place of a regular Q&A, he has agreed to summon the almighty iPod Magic Shuffle Oracle to psycho-auralize the book's protagonist, Tom Henderson, for a different perspective. Simple directions: use the shuffle function on your music player and see what you come up with in answer to the following questions. Please take a deep breath and leap of faith before proceeding.
Dr. Frank: So I did this exercise using the Tom Henderson playlist I had on my iPod (which is basically stuff by bands he mentions and is into - I used to listen to it while I was editing...) Kind of strange that not one Sweet song came up. I think this thing may be cursed...
How does the world see you?
Wild Tiger Woman - The Move. Wow, the iPod oracle fails on the very first click. "Wild" is quite inapt, as is "tiger," and "woman" - well maybe that's some kind of cosmic mockery. Or perhaps this tune should be read reversed, like a Tarot card. This crowns him.
On the other hand, this kind of fits: "I was hoping that the ground would open up and take me in Life is so obscene and the remarks that go unseen Are being diminished to the earth..."
Diminished to the earth, baby, diminished to the earth.
Will I have a happy life?
Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer. I'd say that's a yes: "We was rollin' in the grass growin' behind the barn, Now my ears started ringin' like a fire alarm..." I can't quite see how it could possibly get any better than that.
What do my friends really think of me?
Killer on the Loose - Thin Lizzy. Can you even do this one if you have no friends? This song rhymes name/insane, joke/hope, scared/heard, town/Chinatown, messin/confessin, midnight/that's right, exist/rapist, and zipper/Jack the Ripper. Just thought I'd point that out.
Do people secretly lust after me?
Brazil - Wire. Kind of hard to interpret. "It's true darling, I'll walk you home, I'll be your date forever, I love you girl, I love you until they split the atom... left, right, salute." What are they on about?
How can I make myself happy?
Dominance and Submission - Blue Oyster Cult. These are deep waters, Jeeves. In Times Square now people do the polka. Radios appear. What?
What should I do with my life?
Southern Girls - Cheap Trick. "And you'll never run away when you find why I wanted to find you. You say hump and I'll jump, you say go and I'll know, waste no time getting so close to you." It's hard to argue with that.
Will I ever have children?
Lost Woman - James Gang. "Made me lose my money. You made me lose my mind. It's people like you baby, gonna rule mankind." Hmm. Judges?
What is some good advice for me?
Hot as a Docker's Armpit - Budgie. I'm afraid the significance of this one eludes my understanding.
How will I be remembered?
Too Hot to Handle - UFO. Unlikely.
What is my signature dancing song?
Born Late '58 - Mott the Hoople. Highly unlikely.
What do I think my current theme song is?
And Your Dream Comes True - Beach Boys. Totally, utterly, and ridiculously unlikely, in the sense that it gives a whole new meaning to the concept of unlikelihood. Is there something wrong with this thing?
What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
The Gnome - Pink Floyd. Well, I suppose it's possible that some people might see Tom Henderson as a gnome named Grimble Gromble who wears a scarlet tunic and a blue-green hood and has a great adventure amidst the grass. I mean, you never know.
What song will play at my funeral?
Cum on Feel the Noize - Slade. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
What type of women do you like?
Strangers - Kinks. Again, the iPod oracle hides as much as it reveals. Tom likes girls with glasses who are sad and/or mischievous and also kind of easy. I think you've got to go through a couple of divorces or maybe a war before you can write a song like this.
What is my day going to be like?
A Quick One While He's Away - The Who. "Down your street your crying is a well-known sound..." It sure is. Go now, you are dismissed. Amen.
That concludes the informal Q&A portion of the set. Now Frank will perform a previously unreleased version of "King Dork" (acoustic).