Writer, Broadcaster

Tag: CBC Radio (Page 1 of 7)

Stuart McLean

One of a series of posts about working in radio back in the day.

(Here’s some more).

Stuart McLean with a Neumann U-87
Stuart McLean

The Vinyl Café with Stuart McLean may not have been big, but it was small.

That was the show’s motto.

The Vinyl Café debuted in 1994. I was a fan from the beginning. It was a great show. How do I know it was a great show? Because it would trap me in my car long after I’d reached my destination. I just couldn’t stop listening. That was always happening to me with The Vinyl Café. Stuart McLean was one of the biggest celebrities CBC Radio had to offer, and The Vinyl Café one of the best shows. I never let Stuart know I felt that way. Maybe I should have.

 Stuart had been a long-time journalist with CBC Radio. He came to fame with his seven-year stint contributing to Morningside. He created radio magic with Peter Gzowski. Before that he’d contributed documentaries to Sunday Morning. He won an ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for contributing to that show’s coverage of the Jonestown massacre. Over time he became a best-selling author and the celebrity host of The Vinyl Cafe. He won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times, was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, was a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto and well, you get the idea. But I knew him as the host of The Vinyl Café, both from listening to the show on the air and by working with him in the studio, at least when he wasn’t touring the show around Canada and the United States. 

Our first day working together I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Although I liked his show, I knew nothing about the man. Would he be full of himself? Have a bad temper? Treat me like a piece of the equipment? I was optimistic but prepared for the worst.

Stuart arrived in SFX 3, we greeted one another, and I directed him to the announce booth. He took a seat before the mic. I’d set up a vintage Neumann U-87 microphone for him, one of the best you can get, they go for about $3500 new. Stuart started talking. Then he stopped. He got a funny look on his face. He picked up a pencil and dropped it. The mic picked up the sound of the pencil dropping with exceptional clarity. It was an especially good mic.

U-87 Microphone

I got a bad feeling.

“It sounds weird,” Stuart said. “There’s something wrong with the sound.”

I thought, oh here we go. This guy has a hit show. He’s famous. Famous enough to be a pain in the ass.

Stuart messed with the mic some more, having fun with the sound, dropping pencils, making funny noises, just generally being playful, having a good time. Finally, he accepted the sound of the microphone, and we got down to the business of recording an episode of The Vinyl Cafe. He wasn’t a pain in the ass, and he never turned into one.

The producer of The Vinyl Cafe at this time was David Amer. Stuart had created The Vinyl Café with David. David worked on the show ten years before handing the reins over to Jess Milton. Stuart continued to credit David as the Founding Producer of The Vinyl Cafe for the rest of the show’s run.

David and I often chatted while editing the show. During one such chat he asked me, “How would you like to go out on the road with us? To record the show and do our music pickups?”

“You’d be better off with Greg DeClute for that,” I told him.

That was probably pretty stupid of me. I lacked confidence in my ability to record music at the time. Later, as the recording engineer for Q, I would record on average three bands a week. Still, I don’t regret telling David that. He did approach Greg. Recording music was Greg’s passion. He’d been properly trained for it. He had tons of experience and he was good at it. Greg was the right choice. He accompanied The Vinyl Café on the road for years. I think we can all agree that his music pickups sounded terrific. Greg told me afterward that going on the road with The Vinyl Café had been one of highlights of his career.

But I still got to package the show in the studio.

When David Amer retired, and it became necessary to appoint a new producer to the show, I believed that it should be either me, Greg, or Wayne Richards. We’d been champing at the bit to become producers. Why not save time, money and bother by just getting us to both record and produce the shows we worked on? When I found out that someone by the name of Jess Milton would become the new producer of The Vinyl Café, I was disappointed. Here we go again, I thought. Probably have to teach her everything from the ground up.

I met Jess one evening during a studio taping session. To my dismay, I liked her immediately. Nobody had to teach her anything. She was smart and capable and a perfect production partner for Stuart. She became an instrumental part of the show. For example, on the road, Stuart performed the same live show over and over in multiple towns and cities. This provided Stuart and Jess ample opportunity to refine the show before it was taped for broadcast. Each performance, Jess sat in the audience to track the audience’s responses, noting which of Stuart’s lines elicited the best laughs and which didn’t. Afterward they tweaked the show accordingly and record the refined version for broadcast. 

Stuart and Jess were an unbeatable combination. They were fun to work with and generous to a fault. One night my mother flew up from Prince Edward Island to visit me for a few days. I couldn’t pick her up at the airport because I had to work. I had to voice track Stuart for The Vinyl Cafe. My mother was a big fan of the show. I mentioned all this to Jess as we began to work. She got on the talkback and told Stuart.

“What’s your phone number?” Stuart asked me.

Later, when we were pretty sure my mother had arrived at my place, Stuart called my number. Mom answered.

“Hi Mrs. Mahoney? It’s Stuart McLean. I just wanted to thank you for loaning us your son tonight.”

They had a great chat. My mother was tickled pink.

She got to meet Stuart in person, too, when The Vinyl Café played Summerside, PEI. Jess arranged tickets for my folks. Jess and Stuart were generous with their tickets. They always offered my wife and I (and Greg and Wayne and Anton and their families) tickets for the live Christmas shows in Toronto.  

So yes, Stuart was a nice guy. He wasn’t without sass, though.

One day he arrived in the studio dressed to the nines.

I checked out his sharp new suit, looked down at my ragged jeans with holes in the knees, and said, “Gee, I didn’t know I was supposed to dress up for this gig.”

“Well, you were, asshole,” he told me.

(He was joking, of course.)

Stuart passed away February 15th, 2017, at age 68. It was a blow not just to those of us who knew him, but to everyone who had ever listened to Stuart’s special brand of radio whimsy. It was a privilege to have been able to work with such a man.

Worms for Sale

One of a series of posts about working in radio back in the day.

(Here’s some more).

St. John’s, NFLD (photo credit Bigstock)

Set on the rock five years after Newfoundland’s Ocean Ranger disaster, Stacy Gardner’s Worms for Sale is a moving and amusing story of a mother still reeling from loss after the Ocean Ranger disaster and dealing with a daughter wanting to leave her small newfoundland town for Toronto.

“The title came first,” Stacy told me about writing it. “And then the characters just started popping up.”

A colleague at Covenant House in Toronto, where Stacy worked, had told her about a recent CBC Radio Drama submission call for which we ultimately received four hundred submissions. Stacy submitted Worms for Sale. I selected Worms for Sale because it exhibited a fresh charm and a clear originality of voice that appealed to me. Stacy hadn’t expected anything to come of her submission, but felt fortunate to have been short-listed, then finally commissioned.

“All of it was just beautiful, an unexpected gift,” she said.

As Stacy got Worms for Sale in shape for production, with the support of script editor Bev Cooper, it didn’t take long to complete. But no sooner had we got the script finalized did I found myself locked out of the CBC, along with most of my colleagues in yet another labour dispute, the infamous 2005 lockout

Back inside after two months of pounding the pavement, we decided to produce Stacy’s play in St. John’s Newfoundland, with the help of regional producer Glen Tilley. I had great admiration for Glen Tilley’s work (and his terrific moustache). He radiated Newfoundland charm and had produced the renowned satirical radio drama The Great Eastern (hosted by Paul Moth, aka Mack Furlong). Tilley was also responsible for influencing the build of their first proper radio drama studio in St. John’s, Studio F, which over the years hosted The Wonderful Grand Band, Great Big Sea, and more. It was in Studio F that we proposed to record Worms for Sale.

One day producer James Roy sidled up to my workstation. “You’d probably better get going on Worms for Sale,” he said. He didn’t explain why but it was clear that something was up.

Alarmed, I phoned Tilley to expedite dates and other arrangements. Stacy, excited about the impending recording, would be coming with us. I was looking forward to my first trip to Newfoundland, as well as the opportunity to direct another radio play.

And then it all came crashing down.

Before we could board the plane to Newfoundland, The Powers That Be cancelled most of the radio drama projects from our submission call that had not already been produced. That included our half-finished project Worms for Sale. I never learned exactly why, though no doubt it was a financial decision.

I was left wondering, if only I had moved the project along faster, booked the tickets to Newfoundland earlier … but probably it wouldn’t have mattered. I felt terrible for Stacy.

“It was just shitty,” she described the experience of having Worms for Sale cancelled. “Like being in love with someone and then breaking up unexpectedly.”           

The decision was, of course, entirely the CBC’s prerogative. Still, it was embarrassing for me personally. We set all these writers up, only to pull the rug out from under them.

Stacy didn’t give up, though. “I stayed with the script,” she said. “I got a Toronto Arts grant for the script to adapt it into a stage play.”

In the summer of 2012, Stacy produced Worms for Sale for The Alumnae Theatre in Toronto, featuring actors Tajanna Penney, Jennifer Neales, William MacGregor, Deborah Perry, and Bruce Williamson. Janina Kowalski directed it.

“It was a seed,” Stacy said. “It didn’t grow in the original garden, so I took it and grew it in a different one.”

It ran for seven sold out nights at The Alumnae Theatre. I made sure I was there to see it. It was great on stage.

It would have been great on the radio, too.  

A Short History of Radio in This Fine Country of Ours

One of a series of posts about working in radio back in the day.

(Here’s some more).


Iconic CBC Logo

Radio is a tiny, white, battery-operated device I snuck into my bed at night at the age of eleven to hear static and people and music from distant lands.

It’s also a clock radio I got for Christmas when I was twelve.

It’s the shortwave radio my grandfather listened to after a hard day’s work in the fields. It’s the one that kept my father company in northern New Brunswick during the long cold winters of the forties. It’s the radio my parents kept on our kitchen counter when I was growing up, that played our local radio station before school, that played top forty music and told us the news and the weather and the ferry schedule and that regretted to make the following announcement (“in lieu of flowers a donation to a society of your choice would be appreciated”). 

Radio is all the stations that ever broadcast my voice, or anyone’s voice, via radio waves that are now up to two hundred light years away from the Earth the last we checked, and that surely some alien race has heard by now (and who, I like to think, are busy crafting a polite response). 

Radio is communicating with sound via radio waves, a type of electromagnetic radiation, but don’t worry because it’s non-ionizing radiation, meaning that it doesn’t turn atoms into ions, and it isn’t sufficiently powerful to cause the molecules in human cells to break apart and burn us and give us cancer. No, radio employs benign electromagnetic radiation, the friendly kind, the non-ionizing kind, the kind that our radios, televisions, and mobile phones (and microwaves) use in the comfort of our homes. Radio wields sound like a sorcerer, displacing invisible particles of air that tickle the diaphragms of microphones, converting energy into electrical currents that, amplified, become radio waves that antennas fling to receivers that transmute them back into electricity that vibrate speakers to create sound waves to journey once more through the air to our ears.

We know all this because Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell began figuring it out back in the 1870s, proving that electric and magnetic fields, properly choreographed, make excellent dance partners, performing sophisticated pas de deux in electromagnetic ballets.

We know it because German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who lived a tragically short life, a mere thirty-six years, made good use of his abbreviated time on this earth, applying Maxwell’s theories in 1886 to successfully transmit and receive radio waves for the first time in human history, though to what end, he could not say: “Nichts denke ich,” he replied, when asked what good it all was. (Translation: “Nothing, I guess.”)

In 1893, Nikolai Tesla demonstrated a wireless radio to the fine people of St. Louis, Missouri. Three years later Guglielmo Marconi patented wireless telegraphy technology. Four years after that, in 1900, Canadian Reginald Fessenden spoke over the radio for the first time, over a distance of fifty miles. The following year, not to be outdone, Marconi sent radio waves all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, from Cornwall in the United Kingdom to Signal Hill, overlooking St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the form of Morse Code. (That’s not why it’s called Signal Hill, though. It’s actually been called that since 1762, when Lt. Colonel William Amherst changed its name to “Signal Hill” from “The Lookout” after the role the hill played in signaling the forces under his command during the defeat of the French during the final battle of the Seven Years’ War.)

Six years after Marconi’s transatlantic Morse Code feat, Reginald Fessenden topped it by making the first ever two-way radio broadcast using the human voice across the Atlantic Ocean, from Boston to Scotland. Still, it was a while before radio really caught on. Darby Coates worked for the Canadian Marconi Company in 1920. He gave public demonstrations of radio and telephone radio equipment that had been built for troops in France for the First World War.

“People were skeptical,” he recalled later. “They could accept the idea of sound waves but couldn’t see how they could come through the walls of buildings.”

Coates went on to become the manager and announcer for the first publicly owned radio station in Canada, CKY, set up by the Government of Manitoba in 1923, and run by the Manitoba Telephone System. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was still a few years away.

Graham Spry was a journalist and Rhodes Scholar from St. Thomas, Ontario. He was also the national secretary of something called the Association of Canadian Clubs, which had been formed in 1897 by a journalist from Hamilton to “to foster interest in matters affecting the welfare of Canada.” In 1927, at twenty-seven years of age, Spry, in his capacity as Secretary of the aforementioned association, made a bold proposal. He suggested a Diamond Jubilee broadcast originating from Parliament Hill in Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s fiftieth anniversary. It would be broadcast from coast to coast using telegraph and telephone lines to hook up many of the fifty-seven private radio stations operating in Canada at that time.  

 Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King participated in the broadcast, which was a huge success. Impressed, King wrote, “On the morning and evening of July 1st all Canada became for the time being a single assemblage, swayed by a common emotion, within the sound of a single voice… Hitherto for most Canadians, Ottawa had seemed far off but henceforth all Canadians will stand within the sound of the carillon and within the hearing of the speakers of Parliament Hill.”

The bit about the carillon was made possible by the intrepid engineers who comprised the recording team, such as Jack Carlyle. In 1986, the CBC Radio show Ideas interviewed Jack for an episode celebrating the network’s own fiftieth anniversary:

“I remember going up in that tower and the clock struck, just when I got near the bells,” he recalled. “And of course, it was carbon mikes in those days, and you couldn’t put it on the ground and pick up the sound. So Charlie Findlay, the chief engineer, he climbed out among the gargoyles, you know, the gargoyles on the clock and the Peace Tower. He climbed up and sat out there for an hour with the microphone in his hand. He was never allowed to do it again, of course.”

By 1929 religions had discovered that independent radio stations were really handy for publicly bashing one another over the airwaves. Jehovah’s Witnesses were particularly fond of hammering Roman Catholics via their independent stations. The federal minister responsible for broadcasting revoked the Jehovah’s Witnesses broadcasting license, making religious censorship a hot button political issue.

With this in mind, along with warm memories of the Diamond Jubilee national broadcast, Prime Minister King asked John Aird to set up a Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting. And you might think, of course! That makes complete sense. It’s Canada. That’s what we do. We set up Royal Commissions to figure out this sort of thing. But the Aird Commission was actually the first ever public consultation of its kind in this country; we only started doing cultural governance this way after the Aird Commission.  

A banker by trade, Aird set up his commission with Augustin Frigon, an electrical engineer, and Charles Bowman, editor of the Ottawa Citizen. They were asked whether a public broadcasting entity should be a private enterprise with a government subsidy, a federally owned and operated system, or provincially owned and operated. The Aird Commission delivered a nine-page report to King. In it, they shared King’s concerns about religious radio. They were also worried about US radio stations gobbling up radio frequencies before Canadians could get their paws on them. And like King, they were especially interested in the ability of a national radio broadcasting network to foster Canadian unity. They recommended a federally owned and operated national public broadcasting system. This at a time when fewer than forty percent of Canadians outside Toronto and Montreal could hear any Canadian radio station at all.

Six weeks after the Aird Commission delivered its report, the stock market crashed, plunging the world into the Great Depression. The creation of a national radio network became less of a priority for Prime Minister King. On July 28, 1930, he was booted out of office. Richard Bedford Bennett, known as R. B. Bennett, replaced him. Bennett led a majority Conservative government, one not interested in the Aird Commission’s recommendations, at least not right away.

In 1930, Graham Spry and fellow broadcasting pioneer Alan Plaunt created the Canadian Radio League. Its goal? Pressure Bennett’s government into implementing the Aird Commission’s recommendations. Spry believed that “Radio broadcasting is no more a business than the public school system, the religious organization or the varied literary, musical and scientific endeavours of the Canadian people. It is a public service.”

In 1932, Bennett’s government formed the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, at least partially because of the Canadian Radio League’s efforts. (Bennett’s government also created the Bank of Canada and helped Canada fend off the worst of the depression. Bennett himself claimed to have given away 2.3 million of his own dollars to families in need during the depression.)

In May 1933 the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) began broadcasting nationally an hour a day. This grew over time. So did the network. Eventually the CRBC came to consist of eight network-owned and operated stations and fourteen privately owned stations operating as network affiliates.

Unlike its modern-day incarnation, though, the CRBC did not operate at arm’s length from the government. Before the October 14th, 1935 federal election, the CRBC broadcast a series of fifteen-minute soap operas that the opposition Liberals were pretty sure were making fun of their boss, William Lyon MacKenzie King.

On October 14th, 1935, the Liberals trounced the Conservatives. On November 2nd, 1936, King’s government reorganized the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission as a Crown Corporation, perhaps in part to address concerns over this perceived lack of impartiality. The CRBC became the CBC, or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which promptly got on with the business of making “…the home not merely a billboard, but a theatre, a concert hall, a club, a public meeting, a school, a university,” in the words of Graham Spry.

Neil Munro and Barry Morgan

I stumbled across the following recently which had appeared on an early version of this blog (July 14th, 2009, to be precise), before the blog self-destructed shortly afterward (one of a handful of blog implosions over the years). I like to recapture this sort of thing for the modern incarnation of Assorted Nonsense so that it doesn't get lost to time and also because it keeps alive the memory of some important, interesting people in my life. 

Neil Munro

aka “Inspector Nickles” (Photo by David Cooper, Shaw Festival.)

Neil Munro has passed away at 62 years of age.

I was fortunate enough to work with Neil off and on over the course of two or three years. Although they don’t mention it in the notice at CBC.ca, one of Neil’s many accomplishments was starring as Inspector Quentin Nickles in The Investigations of Quentin Nickles , for CBC Radio’s Mystery Project.

Working on these plays I had the opportunity to observe Neil’s craft up close.

You had to be a skilled actor working on these shows. Producer/Director Barry Morgan was a one take wonder. Rarely did we ever make it up to take two. So the actors had to get it right the first time, and they almost always did. If we had to do a second take it was usually because one of us technical types had screwed something up, or one of the sound effects engineers was caught on tape snoring during a brief siesta (that actually happened once).

Neil also wrote/adapted several radio plays; I remember recording and mixing two or three wild and crazy examples of his work. The names escape me now, but I recall them as full of mirth and inventiveness.

I remember Neil Munro as not only a consummate professional but as a genuinely warm and friendly man. He deserved better than to have died at 62, it seems to me. As Truman Capote said, life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.

In Neil’s case, I’m afraid someone eliminated the third act altogether.

So long, Inspector Nickles.

My friend and colleague Barry Morgan, whom I referenced in the post, responded with a comment which I thought was gently chiding in nature. I realized that I may have irked him slightly with my remark about doing everything in one take. I hope not, because Barry was a great guy and I hate the thought that I might have annoyed him.

Anyway, here's what he wrote in response:

Barry Morgan

Writer, Producer, Director, All Round Nice Guy

 Joe, a really nice appreciation of Neil.

Perhaps I can clarify the “one take” reference.

It was because Neil brought his incredible energy and focus to the rehearsal session before we ever got to the studio floor. The work was already done. And beyond that his electricity energized his fellow cast members to the point that the performance bar was raised far above the level of `excellent`.

We have enjoyed a long history of fine radio actors from the days of John Drainie, Jane Mallet, Frank Perry and a great many others. Neil Munro was certainly among the front rank of those incredible talents.

It was a great privilege to have him around to make all of us look better.

I will always treasure his friendship.

One Leg at a Time

An excerpt from Something Technical:

Ra McGuire of Trooper

In 2006 I recorded several instances of a show called The National Playlist. The show was essentially a competition between a bunch of famous guests to choose ten songs for “the national playlist.” Compared to much of the stuff I did it was an extremely easy gig, and I enjoyed listening to the tunes and the opinions of the guests.

One day one of the guests happened to be Ra (pronounced “Ray”) McGuire of Trooper. This is the man who wrote “We’re Here For a Good Time”, “Raise a Little Hell”, and “The Boys in the Bright White Sportscar,” to name just a few of his hits. Unfortunately Ra was in Vancouver so I didn’t get to meet him in person. We were communicating with him via something called a “Switched 56,” which was basically a high falutin’ telephone line. He was in a studio that was successfully sending his voice to us, and he could hear all of us in Toronto in his headphones, but he couldn’t hear himself in his headphones, which was odd.

One of the producers of the show phoned Vancouver master control to try figure out what the problem was, and this person reported back to me that, according to the technician in Vancouver, I would have to send Ra’s voice back to himself to make it possible for Ra to hear himself. I was highly sceptical of this, because doing so would result in an extremely distracting echo for Ra. It would be difficult for Ra to do the show with such an echo in his ears. So I phoned Vancouver Master Control myself to ask what they were smoking.

The tech there said that yeah, he knew it would result in an echo, but the Vancouver studio was wired in such a way that the only way Ra would be able to hear himself in his headphones would be if I sent him back to himself. This was a real head scratcher. Why would anybody build a studio that way? I expect there was more to the story but I don’t suppose I will ever know. Embarrassed that there seemed to be no way around this problem, I broke the news to Ra. He took it like the pro that he was.

Ra seemed like a decent fellow. During the show he came off as intelligent and well-informed. In fact, he seemed like such a nice guy that I did something I usually don’t. When the opportunity presented itself, I separated him from the mix and spoke to him down the line. I just wanted to thank him for the music. In my entire career I’ve only ever done this twice.

He thanked me for complimenting his music, and then I asked him if there was a story behind his classic song, “We’re Here For a Good Time, Not a Long Time,” which is one of my all-time favourite songs. It accompanied me when I lived in France in ‘93 and is inextricably interwoven with my memories of Aix-en-Provence.

“Absolutely there is,” he said, and told me that he was feeling quite stressed about coming up with new material for Trooper’s third album. His driver (I’m pretty sure he said it was his driver) could see that he was worked up and asked him why. When Ra told him why, his driver/friend told him that he should probably just relax, and then uttered the immortal words: “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.”

Which, happily for Ra and the rest of us, resulted in a fantastic tune, and I appreciated hearing the story behind the song from the man himself, Ra McGuire.

Ra was just one of many “sort of” famous people I met while working for CBC Radio as a tech. Sometimes the people I met were, like Ra, just a little bit famous. Niche famous. Although I’m pretty sure most people in Canada have heard Ra McGuire’s music, probably most wouldn’t recognize him on the street or even know his name. I’ve met plenty of others in this category, musicians and politicians and authors and filmmakers and so on. And a few rather more famous—we had all sorts through the door when I worked on the show Q, for example.   

Most of the time I would pretend that I didn’t know who these people were. I found it easier to deal with them that way. I found it levelled the playing field. Still, meeting certain people was sometimes undeniably neat. I could pretend that Eric Idle was an ordinary human being just like me (and he is, of course) but my God, it’s Eric Idle of Monty Python, and he just said my name on the air! When Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford of Genesis showed up one day I couldn’t help but tell them how much I loved their work (I remember them nodding at me and saying, “Thanks! Means a lot,” and I think they actually meant it, dammit.)

A weird thing about having famous people come through the door was that I didn’t really feel like I could talk about it afterward. Nobody likes name dropping (like I’m doing right now). After recording him on Q I’d have a great chat with David Cronenberg about martial arts and afterward I’d think, “hey, that was pretty cool,” and I’d want to tell people about it but I couldn’t really because it never felt right. Chatting with the likes of David Cronenberg was just a fact of my life at the time but I was pretty sure that people would think I was bringing it up just to impress them. So I would settle for savouring the experience silently. Even mentioning it here feels problematic, like broaching this entire topic was simply a sly (and ridiculously transparent) means of name dropping, akin to humble bragging.

My wife, for example, would never fail to be singularly unimpressed when I told her about some famous person I’d met that day.

“Who?” she’d ask, not necessarily because she didn’t know who they were, but because she just didn’t care. Whoever they were put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us, and if I really wanted to proceed with whatever story I was about to trot forth it had better be about more than just who this person happened to be.

Which is why I think I’ll leave my Joni Mitchell story for another time.  

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