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Master storyteller McLean delivers profound, hilarious truths

He is a master raconteur, and his own story is not unlike that of Dave, the anti-hero Stuart McLean created for the Vinyl Café, the beloved CBC radio program now in its 18th season.

Dave is the owner of a tiny, second-hand record store. Its motto: “We may not be big, but we’re small.” He’s a guy with a huge heart. He loves his family and country. His efforts to do good deeds, like cook a turkey for the family, will often end in near-disaster, much to the amusement of his wife, Morley, and their kids, Stephanie and Sam.

Dave’s stories start simple and become funny and poignant: Dave gets stuck in an elevator with Mary’s special cake; Dave offers to walk a neighbour’s dog and ends up with six mutts, all with their own peccadilloes; Dave’s old electric razor sets off alarms as he passes through airport
security.

Those who have followed Dave since McLean first imagined him in 1994 will get the chance to hear yet another side of the character—McLean’s alter ego—when the Vinyl Café brings its annual Christmas show here. It will be recorded before a live audience at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts December 19 at 7 p.m. Musical guest for the cross-Canada tour is Canadian singer-songwriter Hawksley Workman.

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There’s no rocking chair, no knitting in Irish Rovers’ future

It was the 1970s and many households got just the one channel—CBC. And that was just fine with one folk band, because it meant a captive audience for The Irish Rovers Show, which ran for six seasons.

But the truth is that, channel-surfing be damned, Canadians love these Irish boys and have for nearly 46 years.

“I thought by now I’d be sitting in my rocking chair, knitting,” George Millar told The Senior Times by phone during a break from filming a Christmas DVD. “I’m wondering when I’m going to get retired. But with Celtic music, the belly can hang out and the hair can recede. It’s okay.”

Millar was freshly arrived from Ireland and only 16 when he founded the Rovers in 1963 with 23-year-old Jim Ferguson. Joe Millar was recruited as he stepped off the plane soon after.

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