storyteller, broadcaster

The calendar has turned into the month of May and all is well, despite a ‘slugger’ of a thunderstorm in the Queen City.
The movers emptied my apartment last Saturday, and the benches are actually quite comfortable in Victoria Park, and it’s a short walk to the bar in my favourite hotel in the entire world….lol  

I should not even joke about such things because, as I described in my last post, I have never been anywhere near being homeless, or having no fixed address. That was the phrase I first heard 42 years ago, used by police to describe someone charged with a crime.

In war, when a soldier is captured, they are obligated under the Geneva Convention (?) to provide their captor with name, rank and serial number.

Do soldiers still wear dogtags, the little metal disc that Steve McQueen’s character held up after crashing his motorcycle into a maze of barbed wire in The Great Escape ? That has to be the greatest war movie of the 1960’s and one of the greatest ever, even if it was a bit ‘fanciful’ to say the least.

In truth there were no Americans held prisoner at Stalag Luft III, yet the 1963 movie, produced by the Mirisch brothers and directed by John Sturges, focussed the story on Steve McQueen and James Garner. In reality several dozen of the POW’s in that camp were Canadian. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a couple of them. They didn’t mind that substantial ‘liberty’ with the truth that Hollywood has been fond of taking. They were just grateful that the story was well told, and that honour was paid to 50 who were murdered by their German captors.

I digress. It happens when you have no fixed address, and you’re up too early using a borrowed computer.

Among the treasures I unearthed when I was assembling my worldly goods in prepartion for moving was a beautiful framed tribute from the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. It was given to me when I left Winnipeg in 2000, and it’s a photo of actress Seana McKenna from her performance as Blanche Dubois in the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche says “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”, as she lives as a guest of her sister and her hubby Stanley Kowalski.

Half a dozen years after receiving that lovely gift from the folks at MTC, I had the honour of telling the story of that great Canadian theatre in MTC 50, my first book.

If Winnipeggers reading this are interested, the book will enjoy a brief revival on Wednesday May 9th at McNally Robinson’s Grant Park store.

http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/event-11385/A-Celebration-of-École-secondaire-Kelvin-High-School

In honour of the school’s upcoming 100th anniversary reunion, I will be one of several alumni of Kelvin High School signing books at a special event. I graduated from Kelvin in 1965, and my co-host on May 9th, and again at the Reunion’s Gala dinner on May 26th will Fiona Odlum of the Class of 1990. She patrols the sky over Winnipeg every weekday morning, reporting to CJOB and Global TV.

April 30th is a day that is dreaded by many in this land. It’s the day we must pay the price for living in this blessed land called Canada. It’s tax deadline day. Early on in my working life, I had a few deadline days when I dropped my return through the Revenue Canada mailslot, just an hour or two before midnight. In more recent times, I’ve been much better organized, even managing to use online banking to pay my outstanding balance.

Even though the politicians and bureaucrats give us a neverending list of reasons to questin how our precious tax dollars are spent, it’s still a great investment in my view. 

My final week at Access Communications in Regina. What a wonderful and all too brief stop this has been on the journey.

Driving there as the sign rises on a beautiful prairie morn, I’m blessed by the joy of another rediscovery that happens when your sift through belongings, preparing to move. One of the almost forgotten CDs I came across was a live recording that Stan Rogers did 33 years ago this month.

I crank up the volume until the windows rattle on my almost new HHR.

My greatest lament about Stan Rogers will always be that I never knew he existed, until the day he died. In June of 1983, Stan had been performing at a music festival in Texas.
He was flying home aboard an Air Canada jet that was forced to make an emergency landing in Cincinnatti after fire broke out in a washroom. There were 46 passengers aboard the plane. Stan Rogers was one of 23 who died.

Why had I never heard of him until that terrible day? Because I was a news guy who worked in the private side of radio in Canada, and I didn’t attend events like the Winnipeg Folk Festival often enough. Commercial radio in Canada didn’t play artists like Stan Rogers, or if they did it was in strange time periods when they thought no one important would be listening. Don’t get me started.

Was there ever a more distinctive sound that his raspy baritone doing a rousing ballad like Barrett’s Privateers ?

Life is hugely unfair sometimes.

—————————————————

Roger Currie is a writer, broadcaster and blogger.

For the past seven months he has been hosting Talk of the Town on Access channel 7.

He is relocating to Winnipeg later this week, but he promises to visit on more than just Labour Day weekend. On that occasion, he promises to wear a Roughrider jersey. He father Andy ‘Red’ Currie wore the Rider’s red and black colours in two Grey Cups, in 1928 and 1930.

Roger can be reached at rogerc@mymts.net

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