Listening assignment: 24 hours at the Golden Apple

Nancy Updike took the first shift—she uses the storytelling element of ambient sound with Eddie who was playing the harmonica.  She describes the scene: that there are all types of people in the restaurant (regulars) and that no one seems annoyed with Eddie.


Next she moves to Joe and describes him (78 years old, retired construction worker) as something of an old-school guy but she says “our conversation takes place in another era,” he calls her honey and doesn’t talk much.  Nancy breaks up the interview to describes the scene and then introduces Scott Johnson, a bar owner and then gives an interview snippet with him, we get a sense that he’s someone whose changed tremendously, or as he put it “took the etch a sketch and shook it.”  Each of these characters are described more through their own words and actions than through the reporter, I think this illustrates the importance of recording everything and editing in a smart way.


Then we’re introduced to a fleshy woman with wavy hair who works at a purification center but is smoking, drinking coffee and about to eat some sausage which, Nancy points out ,and the woman just laughs throatily in that smoker’s way which tells you way more about her than Nancy could have.


Donna, looks at Kathryn Deneuve and Nancy describes her as the most beautiful person she’s seen, 26 years working as a waitress on the night shift, every Christmas Eve she brings in a big tray of cookies for everyone who comes in that night—she’s an institution at the place, people give her art work, she watches plays that the actors that come in are performing in.  “It’s like home to me”




Scruffy and lean Robert has been there twice for the day and drinks only coffee and talks to the waitresses (though by his own admission he barely says anything to them because he’s shy).  He’s unmarried, with no kids.


Next the reporter describes the family of 3 with a mom Alison and 2 kids one 2 and one 4.  He does by describing the mickey mouse pancake so sugary sweet the 4 year old can’t sit still, there’s no interview there only an interlude with the mother telling the 4 year old “to turn around” that says everything.  The storytelling technique is to not use any interview tape but only natural sound.


Daniel Romero and Sylvia—Daniel describes how Sylvia dumped him supposedly (she’s in a relationship) he apparently isn’t over it.  He will not be at the wedding.  The reporter tells the story through recording the conversation as Daniel and Sylvia talk “when you talk about your new relationships are you’re really talking about yourselves.”  It’s really interesting—especially since the reporter turned the interviiew into a play off Sex and the City, and posed this question: “when you talk about your new relationships are you’re really talking about yourselves.”  Their conversation revolves around Daniel not wanting to commit to women he meets, then it turns out that he had the same issue with Sylvia.  After she dumped him, he moved in with another woman 3 weeks later.


Next we’re introduced to a well-dressed 75 year old lady.  Kay has lived in the neighborhood her whole life, and talked about how the neighborhood and the world has changed.  She described white flight in the mid-1960’s as her 5 sisters and her mother moved out, but she couldn’t afford to so she stayed on. Ironically, gentrification has now made it back to the neighborhood, but not where her sisters moved to so her home is worth more.  We don’t hear much from the reporter in this piece either so Kay tells her story in her own words.  She describes how there are gay people now (ones that you actually know about).  Her neighbors are 2 gay men but they’re so nice they grew on her and her husband, who was uncomfortable with the idea that they lived next door at first.  We learn that when they had their 50th wedding anniversary her gay neighbors decorated the hallway.  Kay credits gay people like her neighbors with being so nice that they’ve swayed older people to change their judgmental attitude towards gays.  Blacks, that’s another story.  She knows of people who would frown on you if you rented to a black person—not so, with a gay person.



Then Kim, a drunken woman who happens to be a journalism major, stumbles into the Golden Apple with 2 friends.  Her friend tells the story of how a random guy named Oscar, paid for drinks  ($300 bottles of champagne) and wound up jumping in the cab with them (without their permission) and paid for that too, now he’s paying for breakfast.  Like Oscar the grouch, who lives in the garbage can, he’s a bit sleazy and plans to sleep with one of them  (it doesn’t matter which).


Nancy, the next woman they describe who grew up in the neighborhood, is very New Agey, she talks about time in otherworldly terms, her past lives (one spent as a cowboy in which she was shot accidentally). It was very surreal hearing her talk—again we don’t hear the questions asked.


Two teenage girls: Danielle and Alison, are waiting for this guy, Jeff that Alison likes, to see if he’ll meet them, because of problems at home Danielle has been living with Alison in the basement of her parent’s home.  They’ve been waiting for Jeff for 3 nights straight.  Again the storytelling is simply recording what’s happening:  Danielle calls him and leaves a message and then calls again.  Danielle is a “guy magnet” and a people person; she radiates positive vibes, according to Alison.  Alison just doesn’t have the same life-of-the-party personality apparently.  The reporter goes with Danielle to pick up her guy friend Marion to bring him back with her to the restaurant.  As their stories unfold, Danielle reveals that the friends are  opposites:  Alison is more mature, quiet, a thinker and Danielle is not that way at all, in fact, she loves people, she doesn’t “like thinking” and wants to just hang out.  In any event, they’ve started a band and they sing one of their songs when finally some guys they know walk in (not the original Jeff) and she transferred her crush to a new Jeff.  We get a sense as we listen to their story that we’re watching two people evolve before us and can foresee where they’ll be in a few years.


The final story is about 2 cops: Norman and Clark, they’re on a “personal” meaning a break.  The neighborhood is usually slow but during the weekend it’s boozier and thus busier, they’ve been called out to 2 bar brawls and made 4 arrests so far for the night.  They talk about the bond between a cop and his partner.

Comments are closed.