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Friday, February 17th

February 17, 2017

Despite saying yesterday that there was nothing in particular to write, I could have filled much more space.

I could have gleefully commented on the departure in disgrace of Dickhead’s national security advisor, Mike Flynn. Or Dickhead’s nominee for labour secretary, Andy Putz, withdrawing his name.

Or I could have commented on the sadly early death of Stuart McLean, who left us on Valentine’s Day. If you are Canadian his name is instantly recognisable. If you are from any other country, not so much.

For more than two decades he hosted a CBC radio programme called The Vinyl Café. The show, a combination of chat and music by up and coming Canadian artists, was taped in front of studio audiences from coast to coast. The show generally opened with Stewart talking about the history of the town in which it was being taped, thus introducing the country to the story of towns in the prairies or the Maritimes. These were towns you knew you’d almost certainly never visit, but the folksy introductions gave you a lovely picture of the place.

Every show featured a story written by McLean about Dave, proprietor of the fictional Vinyl Café record store, his wife Morley, and their kids Stephanie and Sam. These were my favourite part of the show, which I listened to every Saturday morning – sometimes with Mike, sometimes on my own, as I tended to get up earlier than he did on Saturdays. These were lovely, observational stories, like those of Canada’s great humourist Stephen Leacock.

One December Saturday morning in the 1990s I was alone in the kitchen listening to the show when McLean introduced a story which subsequently became part of the country’s Christmas traditions: Dave Cooks the Turkey. Like all good shaggy dog stories, it has a slow build before the real farce begins. By the end of the story I was laughing so hard I thought I might actually pee my pants, laughing so hard a sleepy Mike came downstairs to find out what was so funny. I attempted to repeat to him the story of Dave cooking the turkey, but I could barely get the words out, I was still laughing so hard.

When, the following December (or perhaps the one after that), Dave was once again cooking the turkey, I ran upstairs and turned on the radio in the bedroom. Like me the first time I heard it, Mike was worried he might wet himself. If you’ve never heard the story (unlikely if you’re Canadian) here’s a link. It’s nearly half an hour long and, as I said, there’s a slow build, but if you’ve got the time to spare, it really is worth a listen.

Rest in peace, Stuart. It saddens me that there will never again be a new Dave and Morley story, but I am thankful for all the enjoyment you – and they – have given me over the years.

Yes, I could have written about that yesterday, but I didn’t. Something told me I had to get in and out quickly. I wrote for my minimum fifteen minutes, then I went online to post the entry. Then I should have got the hell off the computer, but I didn’t. I went on Facebook to play my scrabble moves. All that does is tickle an itch, instead of scratching it. Maybe if there were ten games requiring moves, not three. Who knows? Probably not. So then I completed multiple archived Guardian crossword puzzles. Then, with barely a nanosecond of hesitation, I was playing stupid fucking spider solitaire. FOR EIGHT FUCKING HOURS. I stopped at 5pm to get dressed, go to the shed to bring up some wood and have the first thing I’d had to eat all day – a peanut butter sandwich. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a peanut butter sandwich. Then I just started playing again.


I am not having a bad week. Quite the opposite. As I said yesterday, the Valentine’s Day event was fun. Wednesday’s rehearsal went really well. Wednesday night I decided to treat myself to a burger and beer at the pub – and didn’t even have to pay for it in the end, so no reason to feel guilty about spending money I cannot afford. So, why, why, why would I fall so spectacularly off the wagon yesterday?

There were times when Mike fell off the wagon that I could understand. (The suicide of his youngest daughter springs to mind.) But most of the time there was no discernible trigger. It was as if he’d suddenly decided for no reason at all to completely undo all the work he’d put into his sobriety. I just couldn’t understand it.

Well, Mike, I get it now. It’s incredibly stupid if you think about it, but it just is what it is.

So, it seems I have two choices. I can either stay away from the computer altogether or I can stay the hell away from Facebook and the annoying itch that Scrabble moves starts. With apologies to the two friends with whom I play for the current games which may never be completed, adios Facebook.

Wish me luck.

One Comment
  1. krysross permalink

    So maybe Jane and I should play Wordscraper? It is Jane, right?

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