All posts by Sean McGaughey

It’s Time for the Fair… Again

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 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.

Time for the Fair Episode 18– The end


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 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.

Now… It’s Time for the Fair…


Time for the Fair Episode 17

Adapted from  Saskatoon, Canada (Tilt-A-Whirl  Uploaded by SchuminWeb By Daryl Mitchell) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Now… It’s time for the fair.


adapted from By Eric Wüstenhagen from Hamburg, Deutschland (Red Rule) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Time for the Fair Episode 15

Picture adapted from "Street Nuns (5468767745)" by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia - Street NunsUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Picture adapted from “Street Nuns (5468767745)” by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia – Street NunsUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


I’m recording this episode on February 28, the last day of February Album Writing month, so I start the podcast by playing Long, Long Ride, a song I cowrote last week with Joel Canfield.

The Story So Far is read by Captain Jeff Nielsen, the host of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast and SQPN Catholic Weekend podcast.

This week the focus of the story moves away from Billy and onto his Aunt Sue.

Now it’s Time for the Fair…





Musical Interlude 1963– Dick Clark, the Four Seasons and Chum Charts

ChumChartAugust19-1963-front via ChumChartAugust19-1963-backFor 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.

Time for the Fair Episode 14


By Kotsy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Kotsy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

February Album Writing Month is well underway. As of this writing I have 12-1/2 or so songs out of 14. In this podcast, I play Woulda Shoulda Coulda, my ninth FAWM song.

You can follow my progress through February Album writing month at .

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.

Before the Story so Far, I play Tim’s song Fire of Love from his 2013 CD: Folk Songs and Renovations.

In this week’s episode, Billy cannot believe who he meets at the CNE.

Now, it’s Time for the Fair

Musical Interlude 1949: Time for the Fair

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.

You can find out more about Guy Lombardo on wikipedia.

Here is a sampler of their music from the 1960s.

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.

By Andrew Merrilees [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Time for the Fair Episode 13

Guy_Lombardo_1944 from wikipedia


After his experiences during the Summer of Love in the last episode, Billy finds himself at the CNE 20 years earlier.

I play, Robbie the Misfit Zombie,  one of my new songs written for February Album Month.  You can follow my progress there at


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.


From Wikipedia via City of Toronto Archives

Musical Interlude 1969

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.

Silent Clips from the CNE archives

… and a little music