Sunday, 21 December 2014

In the warm darkness of the solstice

As I've mentioned in this blog before, we have an annual tradition of attending the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. Some of the concerts stay with me for days, even weeks afterward; others are pleasant, but forgettable.  This year's show will probably be one I won't remember, except that I suspect that this was our tenth concert.

About ten years ago, the Resident Fan Boy and I decided to splurge on Vinyl Cafe tickets and wound up in the last row of the upper balcony where we heard the story "Christmas at the Turlingtons" for the very first time.  If it was 2004, that would be about right, because Stuart McLean published the story in a compilation the following year.  I remember rocking with laughter in the warm dark balcony.  After that, I don't think we missed a year.  Ottawa is usually one of the final stops for the tour before the musicians and crew return to their homes in Toronto, so there's an atmosphere of "almost ready for Christmas" about the whole thing.

Stuart told an abbreviated version of the story this afternoon; he often picks an old classic as a warm-up before introducing the new stories.  One of the new ones was funny, and other was longer and very sentimental.  McLean is leaning more and more towards sentimental tales, it seems.  He's getting older and they seem to be crowd-pleasers.  I nodded off.  I'm getting older too.

Here's a sampling of the original version of "Christmas at the Turlingtons".  Whoever posted it has it in three parts and you can find them all at YouTube.

However (and I've said this before too), my very favourite Vinyl Cafe Christmas story is not the classic "Dave Cooks the Turkey".  It's a fine story, but it's not my favourite.  This one is, and if you can spare 23 minutes, I don't think you'll be sorry.

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