Look, I know what you’re thinking. On its surface, the line, “What if Daryl Hall Opened a Coat Store Called Hall and Coats” seems like a lazy, hack joke. But to that I say: who are you to judge me, my creative process, or my creative output?
Hall and Oates are playing a sold out show somewhere. The crowd roars with delight as they play all their hits. Rich Girl. I Can’t Go For That. You Make My Dreams. Then, just as their rabid fanbase reaches a fever pitch during the chorus of Private Eyes, Hall stops. You know how the song goes, “Priiiiivate eyes (clap) are watching youuuuu(clap clap) they’re watching you’re evvvvvv’ryyyyyy mooooove”? Hall stops right after the double clap part. The fans and even Oates look at him, confused. He grabs the mic. “I just wanted to tell everyone that while we’ve had a good run. I’m done with this music bullshit.” The crowd starts to boo. Oates yells, “What?” as they already have several other confirmed tour dates they’re on the hook for. Hall whips out a peacoat and puts it on, even though they’re in Tallahassee in the middle of August. “I’m opening a new store. it’s called Hall and Coats. John will not be involved. My new partner is a piece of clothing that helps you stay warm in winter. Dead is Hall and Oates. We now usher in the era of…Hall and Coats.” Then he puts the coat on and flicks off the crowd. They’re throwing garbage on stage at this point. He grabs the mic one more time to say, “There will be no refunds for tonight’s show. Oh and we’ve got a deal for our grand opening: buy three coats, get the fourth one half o-,” which he can’t finish because a tomato pegs him directly in the mouth, splattering onto his tailored pea coat.
I really don’t want to Google Hall and Coats. I know a million other people have thought of this idea. I’m just going to remain willfully ignorant. I bet the Google Image Search will turn up something cute too, like a cartoon of Hall singing next to a NorthFace pullover guitar.
He’d have to get a loan first. The guy from the bank would probably have reservations. “You know Mr. Hall, I know you’re very successful as an artist and are insanely rich. Hell, I myself am a big fan of your work. We’d love to give you a loan. But you have no experience with selling clothing. You have no experience with retail of any kind. I guess my question is, why, after years of being a musician, do you now get into the coat industry?” Hall laughs ruefully and lights a cigarette. “Why am I getting into the coat selling game, you ask? Three words: Hall. And. Coats.” The bank guy’s eyes light up. “Mr. Hall that’s the most brilliant fucking thing I’ve ever heard.” They then high five and yell, “Fuck yeah!” over and over, before the bank guy says, “Hey wait aren’t you rich? Why do you need a loan for this? Also you can’t smoke in here.”
Not all jokes can be hitters. The key to art, to creativity, is producing consistently. This is a result of that. And you know what, the more I think about it, the more I think it’s secretly kind of genius.
At first it’s going well. After all it’s not every day you can buy a trench coat from the guy who sang Maneater. But as the business’s first wave starts to level off, Hall gets bored bored. He misses his music and Oates. Sometimes, when the store is empty (which seems to be more and more these days, especially in the middle of summer) he’ll go out to the floor and yell, “I can’t go for that…” in the hopes the coats will respond, “…no can do.” They never do. One evening as he tries to play air guitar on a Member’s Only jacket, he collapses in a heap in the middle of the store, crying. “I’ve made a huge mistake!” he wails.
You know what? I’m all in on Hall and Coats. I’m going to write a pilot script. Before you know it I’ll have a development deal. And then I’ll be swept onstage at the Emmy’s, picking up a golden statue. “This couldn’t have been possible without Daryl. He didn’t give me permission to use his name and has sued me many times, but he serves as a constant inspiration.”
A few weeks later a shirtless, crying Hall douses the entire store in gasoline and lights a match. As he monitors the inferno from the outside, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders. Now he’s free to reunite with his creative soul mate. He closes his eyes and breathes in the thick, billowing smoke from the flames. It’s the smell of freedom.
Suddenly, as if conjured from Hall’s thoughts, John Oates himself walks up. “Hey Daryl!” says Oates. “Was just coming by to check out the new store, maybe purchase myself a coat.” He notices the fire. “Oh man. What happened?”
Hall smiles. “It burned down. Now we can be together again, Oates.”
Oates grimaces. “Oh geez, I’m sorry man. I actually started my own business. It’s a telemarketing firm known as Call and Oates. Best of luck.” He takes off down the street, whistling.
Hall, overcome with grief, screams towards the heavens. He then turns angry and yells back towards Oates. “Whatever, I don’t need you! You Baba Booey looking motherfucker…”
Hey, Daryl Hall may not be signed up for my email list, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be. And before you ask, yes Oates is signed up. Won’t stop bugging me about when my next email is coming out.