How to Wreck a Nice Beach

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Something To That Effect

Howl’s Freaking Face-Castle

By Dave Tompkins at 12:54am ET





Last year, the NCSU alumni association sent a postcard of the Wolfpack marching band spelling out my name in Carter Finley Stadium.

Unfortunately I had nothing to contribute beyond the assurance that the alumni association had successfully blown my mind. Or dosed my season tickets.

Did my name file back into the stands after halftime and get obliterated and try to steal the goalposts?

Did my name’s tuba section play on a J Ro J song?

Does Registration and Records still have my middle name listed as Cruthcth?

The only thing that could’ve topped that was having the band spell out Pack Jam while playing “Pack Jam.”* Or the band could spell out my entire book and then transform into a vibrating electro-magnetic football field.

What a narcissistic scramble!

Or NCSU could mail me a terrarium of Sandkings** who would build a castle bearing my visage, which would grimace and mutate accordingly as the Wolfpack squandered yet another second half lead. A drawbridge of Dorian Gray at the 50-yard line.



Dear Distinguished Alumni,

Please find enclosed your very own customized mood-sensitive Wolfpack Face Castle…



The last time I was at Carter Finley, I abandoned halftime to go see Public Enemy play a secret afternoon show in Chapel Hill, while the rest of Chapel Hill was crammed inside Kenan Stadium for Homecoming. It was 1990. Flavor Flav reported to the stage via crowd surf. Griff marched the S1W’s. Terminator X cut the record with ostrich beaks. Our face castles dripped for joy. Afterward, we stumbled into the magic flea-flickered light of Saturday afternoon, wondering if it had even happened. (See flyer detached from telephone pole on Hillsborough Street.)







This Thursday, I’ll bring my bag of talking dead leaves to the Kenan Music building at the campus of UNC, where MJ once rocked “Sticky Situation” by the pool. Reading and stories will continue at Flyleaf Bookstore (Friday, 7pm), followed by records at Bowbarr.



*This wouldn’t be the first time a marching band played a vocoder classic. MC A.D.E.’s “Bass Mechanic” was a standard for black colleges in the south.

**Sandkings are the most dangerous expensive pets on the black market. They deserve a proper film adaptation to replace the weak Outer Limits version with Beau Bridges growing a ferret out of his head.

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