Guy Noir
Saturday, April 4, 2009

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TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to lifeís persistent questions. Me. Guy Noir, Private Eye. (THEME UP AND OUT)

GK: It was April, I was in New York, It was a cold rainy spring back where Iím from and then I got to New York and the sun came out — and people were ebullient who hadnít been ebullient for so long, theyíd forgotten how to spell it. It was like New York had become a giant musical.

ALL (SING): The suníll come out TOMORROW
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
Weíll have sun.

GK: People standing in Times Square, shoulder to shoulder, arms up in the air.

ALL (SING): Honey, everythingís coming up roses.

GK: In the Park you had bicyclists (SFX) and unicyclists (SFX) and bisexual tricyclists (SFX) and inline skaters (SFX) and people dancing on figure skates (DISCO) and men dancing wearing ankle bells and holding white hankies (MORRIS DANCING). You had preachers on the sidewalk—

TR: And in the Song of Solomon it says—
For, lo, the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;

the time of the singing of birds is come.


TR: The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he cometh
leaping upon the mountains,
skipping upon the hills


GK: Amazing what a little photosynthesis can do. People whoíd been moody and sullen (TR SWEDISH) suddenly woke up. (TR ITALIAN) And everywhere you looked, there was life, new life, rebirthÖ.. SS (NY): Ö anyway I go to the gynecologist and he says, thereís nothing wrong with your ovaries. (FN WOMAN MURMURS) Youíve got the ovaries of a 20-year-old woman. The problem has gotta be him. It sure isnít you. Not with ovaries like those. (FN WOMAN MURMURS) And this from a doctor. You know? (FN WOMAN MURMURS) This is not some guy I met in a bar. This man knows about ovaries. — What are you so interested in?

GK: Who? Me?

SS (NY): Mind your own business. This is a private conversation.

GK: Sorry.

SS (NY): Pervert. (BRIDGE)

GK: I was in New York on a secret case which required me to work undercover, disguised as a dog walker. (DOGS YIPPING) And on this particular morning I had eight dogs on poop patrol who were not making an effort to get alongÖÖHey. You. (DOG) Yes. You. (DOG) I saw you push him. (DOG) Donít argue with me. I saw it. One more push out of you and Iím gonna put this baggie on your snout and make you pick up after yourself. (DOG) — And itís true what they say about a dog being the way to meet beautiful women.

SS: (BABY TALK TO DOG) Hello you itty bitty little baby come here put your little head on mamaís knee. Oh arenít you beautiful, yes you are. Oh yes you are. Oh yes, mama loves you.

GK:I take it youíre talking to the dog.

SS: Mama just wants to stroke your hair. Yes, she does. Oh and you enjoy that, donít you. Yes you do. Mama just wants to love you and love you and love you. Mama wants to take you home with her. Yes she does.

GK: Hi. Up here. The one in the black suit.

SS: Not talking to you, mister.

GK: Okay. Just wanted to make sure. (BRIDGE) I was in New York because they needed a man they could trust to investigate the MTA. The A stands for Authority. And MT— well, that means empty. The Empty Authority. Large jowly men in offices (TR, FN JOWLY GIBBERISH) holding meetings and looking at Power Points and tapping at their computers as the phones ring (SFX) and the copiers copy (SFX) and meanwhile the buses that the Empty Authority runs are running (SFX) and down deep in the bowels of the city the trains are full of passengers (CHIMES. FN VOICE: Watch for the closing doors, please.) And late at night, a train goes from station to station. (CHUGGING)

TR (BOGIE): Thatís the money train.

GK: The money train.

TR (BOGIE): It runs between three and four in the morning and itís run by hunchback dwarves and it collects money from the Metrocard machines and it goes into canvas bags thatíre loaded onto an armored boxcar that leaves the city at dawn headed west.

GK: Where does the money go?

TR (BOGIE): We have no idea. Thatís your job. Find out.


GK: So there I was with my pack of dogs, on the watch for hunchback dwarves. New York was suffering from the recession, You could tell. People out of work. People hard up. People whoíd worked hard to persuade Bernie Madoff to accept them as clients. And yet, as worried as people might be, as deep in debt, as unemployed, still they were New Yorkers. They had a sense of class.

When you're in debt
You're in debt all the way
And youíre full of regret
Youíre unable to pay.

When you're in debt
When the mortgage is due
Itís a game of roulette
And the red ball is you.

Your lifeís not your own
Your phone is disconnected!
You may lose your home
The sheriff is expected,
You'll be ejected

Then you can bet
Youíll be thrown in the street
And the bankers will get
The shoes off your feet
When you're in debt
You stay in debt. (AND UNDER, AS BRIDGE)

GK: Thatís the spirit of New York. You take trouble and you make it into a song. Adversity is a gift. Life wasnít meant to be easy and you wouldnít want it to be and thatís why you live in New York, to make sure it wonít be. (TRAFFIC, FOOTSTEPS) I headed down into the subway to check on the money train. There was a guy playing the banjo (SFX) and a guy playing steel drums (SFX) and a guy playing a Japanese koto (SFX) and somebody playing a saxophone (SFX) And a man was playing trumpet who looked a lot like Wynton Marsalis.


GK: He stood there by a trash barrel and played his music and nobody seemed to want to listen.

FN (NYER): Oh shut it, wouldja.

SS (NYER): Can it, turn that thing off. Iím trying to read, okay?

TR: Give it a rest, buddy.

GK: And the express train roared by (SFX) and announcements came over the P.A. (TINNY INCOMPREHENSIBLE BLARE) and still he kept playingÖÖ


GK: And I was so drawn in by his music that I didnít notice when the train came in (TRAIN BRAKES) and a bunch of hunchback dwarves got off (DWARVES CHATTER) and went to the Metrocard machines and (SFX) opened them up and got out the money (SFX) and (DWARVES CHATTER) got back on the train.

FN (DWARF): Hey man, like your music.


GK: And I reached into my pocket for a dollar and found a couple quarters and put them into his hat.

WM: Hey, thanks.

GK: Sorry it canít be more.

WM: Thatís okay.

GK: You know, you sound a lot like Wynton Marsalis.

WM: Well, thanks. Iím trying to sound like him.

GK: Youíre not?

WM: Iím his younger brother Pierpont.

GK: Quite a family.

WM: My dadís the pianist. Ellis Marsalis. And thereís Wynton and Branford and Jason and Delfeayo and my younger brother Barack Hussein Marsalis.

GK: What happened to him?

WM: The Marsalis name was too big a burden to him so he changed it and he got out of music and went into politics.

GK: And youíre trying to make it in music—

WM: Well, my Daddy had his heart set on me going into investment banking. Thatís why he named me Pierpont. Put me in wingtip shoes when I was four years old. By the time I was eight, I was reading the Wall Street Journal. Had to play music in secret. Had to play quietly. Which helps develop your tone.

GK: I can imagine. So you have hopes of making it—

WM: Lincoln Center. This is how you get there. On the No. 1 train. Here it comes. (TRAIN PULLS IN) Gotta go.

GK: Good luck, Pierpont.


GK: I rode the next train up to 59th Street, Columbus Circle, and got off (TRAFFIC) and headed into the park and there in the corner of the Park was the streetcorner preacher....

TR (PREACHER): And it says in the Song of Solomon,
Behold, thou art fair, my love;
thy hair is like a flock of goats,
thy teeth are like a flock of sheep,
thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,
thy neck is like the tower of David,
And thy two.......

Never mind.

GK: and a stranger came up—

FN: Guy?

GK: Whoíre you?

FN: You know me. Itís Tom.

GK: Okay. I know who you are, but who are you?

FN: Tom. You remember. From Facebook.

GK: Right.

FN: You friended me yesterday.

GK: You mean, I befriended you.

FN: Thatís what I said. Listen, I was going to send you an e-mail but let me ask you something— Iím taking my girlfriend to meet my family on Easter Sunday and Iím kind of nervous because my girlfriend doesnít speak English.

GK: What language does she speak?

FN: Iím not sure. We donít talk that much. I met her online. Mainly we exchange music files and YouTube links.

GK: Uh huh.

FN: Maybe Portuguese. Hard to tell.

GK: How old is she?

FN: I donít know. Young.

GK: So her ovaries are okay?

FN: Her ovaries?

GK: Your motherís interested in getting grandchildren, so she needs to know what shape the ovaries are in. If you can bring a lab report, thatís good. Any sonograms, all the better.

FN: Okay. Thanks. Where you going?

GK: Looling for hunchback dwarves.

FN: Oh. Okay. I thought I saw some over on the West Side. Near the train tracks. Under a bridge.

GK: Thanks. (BRIDGE) I headed over to the West Side and there was a bunch of what looked like hunchback dwarves and when I got close, I saw that it was a bunch of elderly men. They were all bent over and wearing black leather jackets and carrying chains and knives. An old street gang. New York. No matter who you are, or how odd you think you are, thereís a group made up of people just like you.

MEN (SING): When you are old
And you start to slow down
And you canít see so well
And you canít hear a sound!

When you are old
And the nurses come round
And your buttís hanging out
Of your hospital gown

But we know whatís what
Our tickers still are tickin
And we can kick butt
'And weíre still kickin like the dickens

Here come the old
People, get out of here
Or weíll shove a catheter
Tube in your rear.

Here come the old
And weíre looking for you
We got drugs thatíll make
You senile too

We're not invalids
But we had a snootful
We're sick of you kids
Weíre being truthful
We are anti-youthful !

Weíre gonna beat you
And it wonít be purty
Cause we are old guys
And we love to play dirty And we donít


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, where one guy is still trying to find the answers to lifeís persistent questions Ė Guy Noir, Private Eye.


Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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