The Town Hall
New York City, NY«archive page
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 life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was winter and I was in New York where suddenly the weather had gone from balmy to belligerent. It was cold. You turned a corner and the wind tore at you like you were a beef brisket. Even the Canadians who sell Christmas trees on streetcorners were feeling the cold. (TR FRENCH, SHIVERING) Me? I was staying warm delivering hot artisan coffee to offices on Wall Street. Coffee ground at your desk (SFX) and brewed at your desk (ESPRESSO) with steamed milk (SFX) and a fresh-baked croissant and hand-churned butter (SFX) ---- and I was roommates with a yoga instructor and auto mechanic named Michelle.
SS (LOW, MANLY NYER): And when I say roommate, I mean roommate, Mr. There is no romance in roommate. Just so you know.
GK: Got it.
SS: Nothing personal. It's just how it is.
GK: I understand.
SS: And that means no moony looks, no little pats on the back that so quickly turn into something else.
GK: I gotcha.
SS: I've been through a whole string of male roommates and in the end every dang one of them fell flat-out in love with me, sat there sobbing about how I was the only one for him and I had to shove him out the door and change the locks.
GK: I don't think that's going to happen with me.
SS: Good. Make me a cup of coffee. Two percent milk, steamed. Chocolate sprinkles.
GK: Yes, ma'am. (STING) (BRIDGE) She was a New Yorker so she knew what she wanted. And she was good to talk to.
SS: Why'd you come to New York, Guy?
GK: Oh, you know. The old restlessness. Out in the Midwest, the sky is so big you wind up looking at it and studying cloud formations and pretty soon there are spider webs and you notice that one end is attached to you , whereas here in New York, it's go go go---- (TRAFFIC) Christmas and the town full of tourists.
TR: Would ya looky that!
SS: Oh my gosh, Santa in fishnets! Hold your Dad's hand!
(BRASS TRIO: God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen
GK: Everything out in the open, on the street. (TRAFFIC) Street singers-----
IS (SINGING, SHARP):
FN (MAURICE): Hey, hey--- hats, gloves, cashmere scarves made from tummy fur--- real cashmere---- how about this? Take a look--- Bagel Earmuffs ----warm bagels on a headband---- make you look like Princess Leia----- how about this---- ear chimes: (SFX) hang on your ears (or for you, on your eyebrows)-----
GK: You get caught up in the street scene and you forget what it was you were supposed to do----- you came here for a reason, but what was
CE: (SINGING SHARP)
GK: And before you know it, you've wandered down the steps to the subway. (STEEL DRUM, PLAYING CHRISTMAS CAROL) And there on the platform you see one of those tall elegant very cool fabulous women you see all the time in New York. (FN COOL SAX) And you imagine her talking to you.
SS: Hi there. I've always been deeply attracted to older heavyset men. You wouldn't happen to know anything about plumbing, would you? I've got a hot tub that isn't as hot as it ought to be. Maybe you could take a look at it. Maybe I just need you to light the flame under my hot water heater. Think you could do that for me?
GK: And you stand there in a hypnotic trance and the train pulls up. (APPROACH, STOP) And she gets on and so you get on, too. (DOORS, ANNC: Stand clear of the closing doors, please. I said, stand clear of the closing doors, you idiot.) (DOORS CLOSE) And you're on a train to the Bronx. And she's standing right there six inches away. (FN SAX) And you're breathing her perfume which makes you think of California. (SURF, GULLS) And then a man walks in the car.
FN: I don't mean to interrupt your journey, folks, but I'm just here asking for some help---- if you can spare a dollar, fifty cents, whatever----- (SINGS) I am an actor, tragedy or farce. And sometimes I sing in subway cars. I am a singer and I write my songs. I'm from the Bronx. I'm from the Bronx.
SS: Oh wow. You're incredibly hot. I could go for you in a big hurry.
FN: Gosh ---- a fifty dollar bill. Thanks!
SS: This is my stop, big boy. How about you walk me home?
GK: Ma'am---- I'm not sure that's a good idea---- (BRAKES) (BRIDGE) And she's gone. With him. The unemployed singer. It happens over and over again in the city of New York. Your hopes are raised a dozen times a day and then they're dashed. And your heart is broken so you forget to get off the train and you ride past your stop.
TR (CONDUCTOR): Next stop…..Minnesota. Transfer available to North and South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
GK: What? ---- And you look out the window and it's snowy and the train rolls to a gentle stop and the doors open. (SFX) And you hustle off the train (RUNNING) to try to catch the eastbound across the platform (DOORS CLOSE. TR (CONDUCTOR, MINN): Watch for the closing doors then.) And you try to hold the doors. (REPEATED DOOR OPEN/CLOSE) (TR CONDUCTOR MINN: Hey, let go of those doors there? ----- You hear me? Get your mitts off those doors, you------ How many times do I have to tell ya, let go of those doors------
GK: And then a woman taps you on the shoulder.
SS: Hi. It's me, your sister. Where you been hanging out? You coming for Christmas? I've been trying to get hold of you. How come you don't answer your phone? Huh? (TRAIN WHISTLE, PULLS AWAY)
GK: And the train pulls away and there you are, on the platform with her and her Rottweiler. (DOR SNARLS) ---- Get away----
SS: Oh he's harmless. He won't bite. (SNARLS, RIPS)
GK: Let go of my leg.
SS: He's just playing with you. (SNARLS, RIPS)
GK: Let go of me. Let go of me. (REVERB) Let go of me. Let go of me. Let go of me.
SS (DEEP MANLY): Mr. Noir---- Mr. Noir----- Wake up, Mr. Noir---- you're having a dream, Mr. Noir----
GK: Oh.---- Okay. What?
SS: You're having a dream.
GK: Oh. Which?
SS: Which what?
GK: Which is the dream? New York or Minnesota?
SS: You're in New York, Mr. Noir.
GK: You're sure?
GK: How do I know?
SS: What you looking at? You looking at me? Huh? What's your problem?
GK: You're right. It's New York.
TR: A dark night in a city that keeps its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions, Guy Noir, Private Eye.
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).