Book Summary

platforms-250Full of music, culture, and―most of all―fashion, Platforms is a classic road trip story with a 1970s funk vibe. Its main character, Tyler Spence―a.k.a. Ty, a.k.a. Fly a.k.a. Conga Shit―is a former high school track and football star, who gives up his dreams of earning himself a varsity letterman’s jacket for the allure of glamour, fame, money, and the attention of beautiful girls.

Tyler shocks friends and family when he suddenly abandons sports to become a conga drum player in Dance Machine (named after a Jackson 5 song), a white boy funk band made up of himself and four of his friends. Rising in popularity, they play gigs all over their city and nearby towns for dances, clubs, or anywhere they can get their sound heard and their groove on. With sequins, denim, rainbow knee-socks, and (the all important) platform shoes, they stand out in their hometown in the same way that the 1970’s stood out from all the decades that came before and after.

The band is booked for a Sadie Hawkins dance in Omak, a small country town 200 miles away. The road trip is fraught with problems right from the beginning. First, their band-van breaks down and they have to pull their equipment trailer with an old Bonneville wagon; then they run out of gas. Although they have a full can of gas in back, they forgot the funnel at home and have to Jerry-rig one out of a microphone stand. The local sheriff pulls up, sees a car full of crazily dressed teenagers―two of which are standing on the roof of the car pouring gasoline into the end of an upside down mic-stand―and probably realizes that his weekend is going to be a lot weirder than usual.

Things go downhill from there. Their gig is a bust, with a very unappreciative, country/rock cowboy audience, and they are stuck in a redneck town dressed like “freaks” for the entire weekend waiting for their car to be fixed. An unforeseen encounter with an old team-mate puts conflict into motion for Tyler and his friends. There’s a fight; a beautiful girl, a quick escape from a jealous, and potentially dangerous, boyfriend; a bowling alley “theft;” a trashed hotel room, and a climatic showdown between Tyler and his nemesis, Cody, staking a pair of platform shoes against a Panther’s Letterman’s jacket.

The story of PLATFORMS takes place over a three-day period of time in the Fall of 1975. The authenticity of the dialogue and descriptions of music and fashion attest to the author’s firsthand experience making the book educational as well as entertaining. Though the circumstances and events of the book are unique to the time period, the lessons learned in this coming-of-age story are universal.