In 2013, my son Sebastian, who was then 13, challenged me to write a novel in a month during National November Novel Writing Month AKA Nanowrimo. In a flurry of activity, we both managed to finish our first novel, and do a daily video blog about our experience.
Fresh off my experience as a CNE blogger, which involved going to the fair a dozen times, at least once with most members of my family, I wrote a time travel fantasy about a boy who is trapped on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, travelling through time through the entire century of its history. for me is the author, it was a romp through my childhood, and pop culture, seen through the eyes of my inner 13 year old, and the experiences of my own 13 year old.
In 2014 and 2015, I produced a podcast version of the story, here. Looking at the worldwide situation in 2020, with everyone hunkering down at home, I think it is time to revisit my light YA fantasy. I might re-podcast the story with new audio introductions, or just post links to the original podcast. In 2015, I also prepared files for a full audiobook version to upload to the now defunct Podiobooks.com. Would anybody be interested in downloading a full audiobook version from Bandcamp or is the podcast version sufficient?
Here is the first episode of the podcast as first published in November 2014.
For this final episode of Time for the Fair, I did a live recording of the introduction and Story So Far with my friend, Heather James. We have known each other for about 15 years through the Good Vibes Coffeehouse, a weekly open stage that meets every Thursday night at Mt. St. Louis Hall. Heather has proven to be a very enthusiastic fan of the story sending me weekly emails with her responses to each episode. I was pleased to have her record the last story so far in my living room, then read her the final chapters. The musical interlude is My New Guitar, by Heather’s husband, classical guitarist Gerald Boy. You can find his music on CDBaby and itunes.
Thanks to everybody who has contributed to this podcast and to everyone who has listened along. I am considering posting the audiobook on podiobooks.com and on Bandcamp. I may also self-publish as an ebook and paperback. I will post any further news about the story on this website.
We are down to the second last episode of Time for the Fair. At the end of the chapter, I discuss some of my upcoming musical events.
March 21: 7:30-9:00: I will be attending and playing a couple tunes at the annual Music at the Merril Filk Concert at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy 239 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R5
March 24: I’ll be playing again at the Ladybug Cafe on King Street in Midland, Ontario from 5 – 8 along with Adrien Robitaille.
April 11, I will be performing and participating on panels at the Ad Astra Fan Con in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
April 17-19, you can find my family at the 25th annual FilkOntario in Toronto.
The story so far this week is read by friend, singer-songwriter Scott Cooper I begin the episode by playing his apropo song, Tilt a Whirl from his 2007 album, Tiny Increments.
In this week’s penultimate episode, Robert takes a wild ride, and he and Sue revisit their youth at the fair while frantically searching for Billy.
In this week’s episode, Aunt Sue, aka Sister Mary Anna searches the CNE grounds trying to meet up with Billy. The Story So Far is read by my friend Carol Nichols, who was an early beta reader of the book.
For nearly 30 years, the CHUM chart, published weekly by 1050 CHUM AM in Toronto was THE way that young Canadians discovered popular music. The amazing Chum Tribute site has an online archive of every CHUM CHART.
In 1962 and 1963, American Bandstand host Dick Clark was a DJ on 1050 Chum (sort of). He would tape his segments of the show (including his half of banter with Toronto DJs) in Los Angeles, mail the tapes to Toronto where the show would be completed and edited together. You can find out more about this process on the Torontoist blog.
Although the live/broadcast and concert with Al Boliska, Dick Clark and Franki Valli is completely ficitionalized in the Episode 14 of Time for the Fair, Dick Clark and Franki Valli were indeed at the CNE on August 21, 1963 according to the CHUM CHART for August 19, 1963.
I found a medley of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons songs from the Mid 1960s on youtube.
On Tuesday February 24, from 5-8 pm I’ll be joining Adrien Robitaille at his weekly acoustic stage at the Ladybug Cafe on King Street in Midland, Ontario. I’ll be playing my new songs, and a bunch of my older ones too. If you are in the area come on down for a cup of tea or coffee, one of Elaine’s award winning buttertarts, and some music and stories from yours truly.
The story so far this week
is read by Tim Chesterton, an Edmonton based pastor, blogger, songwriter and novelist. He has posted two novels, A Time to Mend and Meadowvale, chapter by chapter as he wrote them to his blog Faith, Folk and Charity.
In Episode 13, Billy encounters Pops and his new bride in 1949. They dance to the music of Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians. Guy Lombardo was Canada’s most famous bandleader. He and his siblings had an orchestra that was popular for almost 50 years, from the 1920s until his death in 1977.
The SS Noronic was great lakes cruise ship that burned and sank in Toronto Harbour on September 4, 1949. 139 people died in the fire and its aftermath. It was one of the greatest marine disasters in the world. In life, as in the story, the remains of the Noronic victims were taken to a makeshift morgue on the CNE grounds.
The Story so Far is read by Phil Mills, a filk musician and songwriter from Toronto who I met through February Album Writing Month. I play Phil’s song, Talk to Strangers from his album Mix Until Absurd which is available on Bandcamp.
In Episode 12 of Time for the Fair, Billy enjoys a day at the CNE in 1969 which includes a Monkees concert. Although Time for the fair is a fictional fantasy story, The Monkees did perform at the CNE on August 25, 1969– two days after the events in the story. It’s great writing historical fantasy– you can tweak the dates a bit.
Here are some silent clips from the Monkee’s performance at the CNE in 1969, and a couple musical numbers that they may have played at the show as Billy and family watched on. Stay tuned for chapter 13 of Time for the Fair this weekend.