Guy Noir, May 26, 2012

Filene Center at Wolf Trap

Vienna, VA

«archive page


Guy Noir

Listen (MP3)


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye.


GK: It was May, and I was in Washington D.C. I had taken a job as a chaperone for the Oak Grove Middle School Band, a remedial band for kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (BAND: STARS & STRIPES, 10 SEC INTRO) so all of their tunes were extremely short. They gave a three-minute concert at the Washington Monument, and they were very popular. The idea of making things short by eliminating repetition was a revolutionary idea in Washington. (BAND: ANOTHER 20 SEC OF STARS & STRIPES, MELDING OPEN TO CLOSE) I took the job because I needed the money. And as a favor to my sister Georgina whose daughter Clara played clarinet in the band.

SS (TEEN): Washington is stupid. I hate monuments. It's all about dead people. Why do we have to walk? Where are we going?

GK: Sweetheart, why did you shave half your head? Why not all of it?

SS (TEEN): Don't hate on me, okay? I get enough hate at home. Just leave me alone.

GK: And you tattooed something on your head? what does that say?

SS (TEEN): Get away from me. It's my head. It's not your head. You freak.

GK: I'm only trying to help.

SS (TEEN): Well, stop trying.

GK: Okay. I'm sorry. (BRIDGE) It wasn't easy to keep the ADHD band all headed in the same direction.

FN (TEEN): Hey, let's ride bikes!

TR (TEEN): I'm going to get a t-shirt.

FN (TEEN): Hey----- a double-decker bus.

SS (TEEN): I want to be alone.

GK: The band director's name was Cardigan and like so many teachers he looked older than his years.

TR (KIRK): Listen. In exactly two weeks, I'm retired. Gone. I put down this baton and this clipboard and I am never going to listen to music ever again. You get me? I'm going somewhere where the only horns are on the cattle and the only winds are in the trees and anybody who so much as turns on a radio is going to get a whuppin from yours truly.

GK: You're burned out, huh?

TR: I can't hear a thing you're saying. I wear earplugs. I'm 53 and I feel like I'm 78. Can't hear a thing. This is my last field trip and then I'm out of here. Hear what I'm saying??? I'm free.

GK: His clarinet section was going off in six directions, his percussion section had disappeared. It didn't bother him.

TR: Earplugs! That's the answer. (MOTORCYCLE PASSING) Can't hear a thing. What a blessing!

SS (FLEXNER): How are you doing, Mr. Noir? Welcome to public education.

GK: The other chaperone was a fireplug of a woman named Sandy Flexner, the assistant principal.

SS (FLEXNER): We are here in Washington to lobby for additional funding for music education for special needs chi-----for special needs chi-----for special needs chi------ for special needs chi------for special needs chi-------(KONK) Thank you. For Special Needs Children.

GK: Well, that's a worthy cause, Ms. Flexner.

SS (FLEXNER): Dr. Flexner.

GK: Dr. Flexner, sorry.

SS (FLEXNER): I have a doctorate in music education for special needs chi------ for special needs chi-----for special needs chi------ for special needs chi------for special needs chi-------(KONK) Thank you.

GK: You seem to have some sort of tic, Dr. Flexner.

SS (FLEXNER): It's only when I'm around special needs chi------ for special needs chi-----for special needs chi------(KONK) (STING)

GK: So the ADD band went up to Capitol Hill to play for Members of Congress, none of whom came to hear it, but it was okay. (BAND PIECE NO. 2) I smelled a beautiful aroma of dogwood and jasmine and turned and there was a tall woman, her hair was the color God had in mind when he said Let There Be Hair. She had excellent bone structure and that Mount Rushmore T-shirt she was wearing never looked better. Especially Jefferson and Lincoln.

SS (SULTRY): Hi. You care for a cold Coca-Cola?

GK: Sure----

SS (SULTRY): How about I wet my hanky in this cold Coca-Cola and sort of mop your brow---- that feel good?

GK: That feels wonderful.

SS: You don't mind me leaning up against you this way, do you?

GK: Not at all.

SS: You don't mind me brushing up against you, do you?

GK: My pleasure.

SS: I'm not crowding in too close?

GK: Not at all.

SS: Where's your little lapel badge, sweetheart?

GK: What badge, darling?

SS: Aren't you a U.S. Senator?

GK: Not yet, but------

SS: Get out of here. Get away from me. Beat it. Freak. Don't touch me. (BRIDGE)

GK: So we wandered around, me and the ADHD band, and it occurred to me that most of the people I saw in Washington were special needs people, and the Congress is designed for verbally aggressive listening-impaired people, and that months go by and nothing gets done, and in an election year, less than nothing, and maybe that's what the balance of powers means. And meanwhile, the mall between the Capitol and the Potomac is our true national living room. Everybody and their cousin. Including my people. (BAND NO. 3)

SS (FLEXNER): I don't think we're going to get any more funding for special-----

GK: Don't say it, okay?

SS (FLEXNER): Don't say what? Special needs----

GK: Don't say it. It just takes too much time. Just say children.

SS (FLEXNER); But they're special needs-----

GK: They're just children. We're grown-ups. We all have special needs.

SS (FLEXNER): You don't understand, Mr. Noir. We have programs for these people.

GK: Fine. But just call them children.

SS (FLEXNER): But they're not. They're special needs chi--- -----special needs chi----- special needs chi------ special needs chi------ special needs chi------(FADES)

GK: I didn't bonk her on the head. I left her there in the bushes and the ADHD band went off to the Smithsonian and the kids (SFX) were going in sixteen different directions and Mr. Cardigan was at peace-----

TR: One more tune and I'm out of here. I'm going to my rest. I have ten acres in the middle of Wyoming. Nobody lives within fifteen miles of me. I'll be out there in my RV with a shotgun across my lap and anybody who comes around trying to sing for me is going to get buckshot in the britches.

GK: Good luck, Mr. Cardigan.

TR: Can't hear you. Got these great earplugs. Paid $150 for them. Made from beeswax. Haven't heard anything anybody's said for years. I like it that way.

GK: It's a big country. Got something for everybody. That's all I know. If you're not happy one place, find another. Places with the letter O in the name are best. Studies show that's true. Minnesota, of course. Ohio. Iowa. California. Los Angeles. Washington. New York. Florida. Honolulu. Chicago. The list goes on and on. And the kids from Oak Hill Middle School. (BAND SELECTION #4).


SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- 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»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy