by carl wilson

If this Bookmobile is Rockin'...

Ninja High School @ North York library, as snapped by Rock Paper Pixels.

The North York Central Library show featuring Blocks artists Final Fantasy, Hank, Ninja High School, The Creeping Nobodies and Bob Wiseman on the weekend was a blast, although I was disappointed that the mix of the audience was a bit more on the side of college-kid migratees up from downtown, outnumbering the teens from the area. Maybe it was a bad idea to distribute any tix through the downtown libraries? Also, maybe better to run earlier in the evening: A 7 o'clock start time probably would have made a big difference to the under-16s. (An afternoon show would be even better from that p.o.v., but in a way, less satisfying as a twist-of-context for the library.) The introductions of the bands by tiny little library-loving teens, however, were priceless. And Matt Collins of NHS's skintight caramel-coloured bear costume was, uh, jawdroppingly squicky.

Awesome too was the neon-lime pamphlet they were distributing at the event called "MaKe SomE NoIse!: Music Books for Youth," which alongside a bunch of regular non-fic music books and bios, exposed a whole planet's worth of YA (young adult) fiction with musical themes whose existence I should have but never did suspect. Must reads among them, which I promise I am not making up:

Born to Rock, Gordon Korman: "Leo Caraway, president of the young Republicans and future Harvard student, is shocked to discover that he is the son of King Maggot, the lead singer of a popular, destructive punk-rock band called Purge."

Tribute to Another Dead Rock Star, Randy Powell: "For a tribute to his dead rock-star mother, 15-year-old Grady returns to Seattle, where he faces his mixed feelings for his retarded younger half-brother, Louie, while pondering his own future."

Heavy Metal and You, Christopher Krovatin: "Sam begins losing himself when he falls for a preppy girl who wants him to give up getting wasted with his friends and give up his passion for heavy metal music."

Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going: "Seventeen-year-old Troy, depressed, suicidal and weighing nearly 300 pounds, gets a new perspective on life when a homeless teenager who is a genius on guitar wants Troy to be the drummer in his band."

There are a dozen more, but this one really can't be beat for total bafflement and gratuitous yet misspelt Thin Man reference:

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: "High school student Nick, the only straight member of a queercore band, asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his toxic ex-girlfriend." (Uh, why doesn't Nick just pretend to be queer for five minutes instead?)

It seems clear now that there is no point made in any article of music criticism that could not be made better and more effectively in a 130-page Young Adult novel. Who's with me?

| Posted by zoilus on Monday, November 06 at 7:58 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (21)



dear TPL:
way to not advertise. especially on the York campus. i live five minutes away from the North York branch (walking!) and i had no clue this show was going on. i know your focus is on the "community" and "youth", and York is considered too aloof to be included in either of those things. but hell, a girl needs a little NHS action in her locale sometimes, too.

Posted by allana on November 14, 2006 8:32 PM



I know I'm late here but seriously, Gordon Korman has had a huge impact on me. The Bruno & Boots series is pretty much all genius and one-offs like Son of Interflux, Our Man Weston, and Radio Fifth Grade are brilliant.
oh, and the Bugs Potter books? I'm pretty much a drummer now because of Ringo Starr, Brendan Canty, and Bugs Potter...
and my god, I Want to Go Home! Rudy Miller was one of my heroes as a kid!
this is one of my all-time favourite zoilus comment threads!
I'm excited!


Posted by vish on November 9, 2006 4:37 PM



obviously I meant to type "meeting" there instead of "meating."

Posted by Graham on November 8, 2006 6:35 AM



The novella opens with Young Ghostface Killah, aged about 13 or so, being whipped with a strap by his moms. In order to overcome the scars (both mental and physical), after meating a wise shaolin master, Ghostface turns to the microphone, does a whole bunch of awesome stuff, falls in love (a la "Save Me Dear") and emerges as the champ. Sequels logically follow from there.

Posted by Graham on November 8, 2006 6:33 AM



Isn't that what I just said? So what's your two-line plot summary, Graham? Maybe it would be based on that Ghostface tune about his mama whipping him with a strap? Plus a love interest?

Posted by zoilus on November 7, 2006 8:47 PM



Carl, are you proposing that we give up criticism and just start some sort of large, perhaps collaboratory project of young adult music fiction???

Posted by Graham on November 7, 2006 8:04 PM



i dunno... maybe I should re-read them. I remember just kinda being embarrassed at the time when I was reading them. It wasn't exactly like I was being talked down to (I definitely wouldn't think of GK as condescending), but I think they just felt too written-for-kids for my 12 year-old self.

Posted by andrew on November 7, 2006 4:30 PM



Gordon Korman is my hero. His old school YA novels (Son of Interflux, A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag, Losing Joe's Place, and Don't Care High) are works of incredible genius.

Posted by Amily on November 7, 2006 4:24 PM



Huh...and here I thought Carl invented the term. I guess it makes sense when you think about the word itself.

And who can dislike Gordan Korman? His books seemed like genius to me when I was growing up...that whole Bruno and Boots series definitely shaped what I cam to appreciate later on...

Posted by matthew on November 7, 2006 3:41 PM



Thanks for the photo props, Carl. I am currently struggling with which photo to use on my own blog, as it might disturb my more conservative readers to post any of Matt from the waist down. Squicky indeed.

I echo the comments here that were really pleased at the diversity of the crowd. A lot of jaws dropped when NHS hit the stage, but soon thereafter I looked back and saw a lot of grins. It was also refreshing to see 3 gray-haired ladies shaking a tail (refreshing for me personally to not be the oldest person in the audience for once.)

- Beth (rock paper pixels)

Posted by Beth on November 7, 2006 3:18 PM



am I the only one with a dissenting opinion re: Gordon Korman?

Posted by andrew on November 7, 2006 3:17 PM



My job at TPL focuses on youth, defined as people aged 13-24 (a big range), so I was pretty damn pleased with the turnout on Saturday. Bringing those who follow the scene into the library (and perhaps encouraging them to view it in a different light and to see new possibilities) and introducing something new to library-types... this was all part of the plan. The local music CD collection is for anyone who's interested. I figured it would appeal to twenty-somethings, while grabbing the attention of teens and older folks. The show on Saturday was beautiful in the way it brought together a mixture of people, giving things a real community feel. Chuck Skullz on Stillepost (who are you?) says it like this: "it made me really happy to see a pretty wildly diverse group of people there...everything from young kids, to older couples, library staff, blocks folks, show regulars, definitely a huge amount of unfamiliar faces, and so on....and the dudes from Fucked Up there helping steve run the merch table. That kind of collection of people...??!! that's amazing. amazing!"

This to me is what public libraries are all about (sniff).

Thanks to all!

Posted by Lisa Heggum on November 7, 2006 2:17 PM




Posted by zoilus on November 7, 2006 12:55 PM



I'm looking forward to the next show featuring Winged Tortoise, Dorchester Melon, Toast, Busted Chandelier and Endomorph.

They're playing at Don Carey High School.

Posted by CTL on November 7, 2006 12:30 PM



Is being squicky a good or bad thing?

Posted by matthew on November 7, 2006 9:22 AM



Gordon Korman is seriously and honestly one of the biggest influences on my sense of humour. I have read "Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag" approximately twice a year since age six. Best dude. His new-age stuff is disappointing but that novel is surprisingly wicked.

Still not as good as "Who Is Bugs Potter," or its epic followup, "Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny"

Posted by Tim J. on November 7, 2006 9:06 AM



I should have said in the entry in the first place: I think Korman and I are about the same age, and I remember hearing reports on the CBC when he first published books about this 15-or-16-year-old who was getting novels out. I was so jealous I could burst. Really crazy jealous. But it's so weird to know that he's kept writing for people of the age he was then. And not that i am against that on principle - i think both Rowling and Pullman are two of the most amazing writers in their ways - but that it's a fate i could never have conceived of this guy i hated for being so ahead of schedule. But I am not kidding that YA books seem really appealing to me right now.

PS: The "steve" in these comments who is commenting is the guy in the photo with his fist up. He's not kidding, I know.

Posted by zoilus on November 7, 2006 6:07 AM



I love how Purge are both popular AND destructive. ALSO, amazing official site for Nick and Norah here:

Posted by chris r. on November 7, 2006 3:02 AM



My favourite Gordon Korman was "Who is Bugs Potter?"

"David Potter is a young, troublesome, but talented drummer, in Toronto to participate in a prestigious high school band competition. BiBi Lanay is a fabulously beautiful, reclusive and unlucky movie star who is being constantly pestered by fans who want to see her before her latest film premieres. Bugs Potter is the new, mustache-faced, overnight sensation in Toronto's active club scene, who sits in with other bands for a number, then vanishes without a trace.

Who is it that is bothering Miss Lanay at her hotel? Why can't David Potter stop drumming for more than 5 seconds at a time? Who is the bearded escape expert who keeps showing up at rock concerts? Who were those two guys in the stairwell? And perhaps most importantly, Who is Bugs Potter?"

It made me dream of getting to toronto and finding the "active club scene." Seriously.

Posted by jks on November 7, 2006 2:14 AM



Steve is right about this one. The Twinkie Squad really affected me.

Posted by Sasha on November 7, 2006 1:09 AM



if you give up this blog and become the next gordon korman you will be my hero forever.

seriously: Gordon Korman rules.

Posted by Steve Kado on November 7, 2006 12:37 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson