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Old 12-08-2005, 05:39 AM   #1
Gord H
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Default TORONTO SUN article-Char-fans-Lightfoot;Char makes the news!

Yes our very own Char is in the Toronto Sun today...

http://www.torontosun.com/
The link no longer works-here's the text: see link under pic for PDF file with text from article.

Mike Strobel
Thu, December 8, 2005
Fans happy to see Gordon Lightfoot

By MIKE STROBEL

On that awful night, Char Westbrook has a ticket for GG-23 in the right balcony of the Orillia Opera House.
But it will be three years before she takes her seat.
She and other Lightheads mill about in the warm dusk of Saturday, Sept. 7, 2002, waiting for the doors to open.
When they do, it is a concert hall staffer.
"Mr. Lightfoot is ill," he says.
Soon, TVs have shots of medivac choppers and stretchers and doctors saying dire things.
And the Land of the Lightheads topples into shock.

First, let's go back to 1971.
Charlene Westbrook, 15, is in her room in Etobicoke. She has the blues. Boyfriend troubles.
She tunes her transistor to CHUM.

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell

"I was hooked," Char Westbrook, 50, tells me in the study of her Whitby home.
Photos, autographs, mags, ticket stubs, all 20 albums. Even the 45 rpm she rushed out to buy in 1971. Lightfoot signed it on her 45th birthday backstage at Mariposa.

Back to that dreadful September night in '02. When Char gets home from Orillia, the Lightheads were waiting by their computers for her usual concert report.
She is moderator of corfid.com, where some of Gordon Lightfoot's most loyal fans hang out.
That night, her report is all bad news.

Any real Canadian knows the story:
Lightfoot stricken as he gets ouf of his car for a sound check at the opera house. Stomach aneurysm. Evac to Hamilton. Surgery. Six weeks of coma.
Stunning comeback. Rehab. New album, Harmony.
Benefit concert for the hospital that saved him, McMaster. Return to Massey Hall, the Church of Gord, Char calls it.
One helluva ride for the Lightheads. Worse than the booze years.
The Net People, Gordie calls them.
Charlene is their queen.
They hold conventions for every Massey Hall gig and come from around the world. They tour Orillia, where Lightfoot once sang soprano in the church choir. One year, they barbecued at Char's place, jammed with guitars in her basement.

Some have found love. A fan from Britain wed a Jersey gal. The Lightheads gave them a quilt with Lightfoot themes. Gord signed the middle square.
Some Lightheads remember what they wore for their first concert. Some can tell what song is next just by how Lightfoot rests his fingers on the strings.
"I keep old CHUM charts with his songs on them," Char says. "How pathetic is that?"
Pathetic? No. Passionate.

And I know that you will never stray
Cause ya been that way from day to day
For such a long, long time

Char sends him cards for his birthday (67 last month) and Christmas. No more Get Well cards, thank goodness.
Last Saturday, this one icy, she finally takes her seat, GG-23 in the right balcony, for Lightfoot's make-good concert.
"Sorry I'm late," says Gordie, and sashes into Spanish Moss.

Let go darlin'
I can feel the night wind call

Later, Rainy Day People, for the local docs and nurses. Triangle, Cotton Jenny, Carefree Highway. Is there a greater folk playlist in Canada than Lightfoot's? Or in the world?
Sundown gets Char's attention. Sexier, sultrier than usual.
"It's the music of our lives," says Char.
And as Canadian as wind on a lonely lake.
"Gord didn't go Hollywood. He didn't take the money and run. He stayed true to being a Canadian."
The illness scared all Lightheads.
"I used to think he'd always be there. That I could keep driving down the Don Valley to Massey Hall, buy his CDs, enjoy his songs.
"Now I know how important it is."

In the dark of the Orillia Opera House, Char scribbles pages of notes as the old man sings, for her report to the world's Lightheads.

She puts down her pen for If You Could Read My Mind. Older, wiser and more gravelly than when she first heard it. But note-perfect.

"You're back," she says. "You're home."

________________________________________
• You can call Mike Strobel at (416) 947-2265 or e-mail at mike.strobel@tor.sunpub.com
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:07 AM   #2
BILLW
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OMG - what a great article. We'll probably be overrun with new members now that 'our queen' has been in the newspapaper. Thanks for posting GordH ! Nice mention of John & Susan. We are the Net People and Charlene is our queen. Long live the queen ! How do we get copies of this ? I've gotta have it.

Wow,

Bill
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:25 AM   #3
charlene
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Mike Strobel of The Toronto Sun and Veronica Henri a photographer there came out yesterday to have a little chat about Lightfoot and the "Net People."
Mike is my age and a fan of Lightfoot so it didn't take much to indoctrinate him to "Lighthead" status.
lol
When he saw all my "stuff" and the mantle with photos and autographed memorabilia he said to Veronica in a slightly stunned and almost scared tone "she's the Queen of the Lightheads." I told him there many others with many more things than me. He didn't run screaming from the house so we chatted and laughed and talked about Lightfoot, the man, his music and his fans...specifically "The Net People."
I had a great time and I think Mike did too. Veronica succeeded in taking a pic that hides my double chin so she's my new hero!
lol
It certainly wakes a tired old gal up at 6:30 a.m. to open the paper to page six and see herself staring back in a very large picture! It's about 6 x 8 !! And colour!
Lordy I need a coffee now...
Mike did an excellent job of telling the tale and stringing my non-stop stories together....that's why The Sun pays him the big bucks I bet! I've enjoyed reading his columns for years but never dreamt I'd be part of one of his stories. It was a great experience and I'm thrilled with it. Of course if he were to write about everything I talked about and what I had to leave out because of time the article would just turn into a huge book!!
hmmm.......maybe one day......we could all submit a story to Mike.....he could tart them up a bit....it could work!
Or even better...he could write an authorized biography of The Man himself.....
well, gotta go get that coffee.....
ta,
Char
I'll scan the pic and see if I can post it...if not Sir John will have to rescue me...again...
picture, picture with text and link to PDF of text:
Mike Strobel
Thu, December 8, 2005
Fans happy to see Gordon Lightfoot
By MIKE STROBEL
On that awful night, Char Westbrook has a ticket for GG-23 in the right balcony of the Orillia Opera House.
But it will be three years before she takes her seat.
She and other Lightheads mill about in the warm dusk of Saturday, Sept. 7, 2002, waiting for the doors to open.
When they do, it is a concert hall staffer.
"Mr. Lightfoot is ill," he says.
Soon, TVs have shots of medivac choppers and stretchers and doctors saying dire things.
And the Land of the Lightheads topples into shock.
First, let's go back to 1971.
Charlene Westbrook, 15, is in her room in Etobicoke. She has the blues. Boyfriend troubles.
She tunes her transistor to CHUM.
If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
"I was hooked," Char Westbrook, 50, tells me in the study of her Whitby home.
Photos, autographs, mags, ticket stubs, all 20 albums. Even the 45 rpm she rushed out to buy in 1971. Lightfoot signed it on her 45th birthday backstage at Mariposa.
Back to that dreadful September night in '02. When Char gets home from Orillia, the Lightheads were waiting by their computers for her usual concert report.
She is moderator of corfid.com, where some of Gordon Lightfoot's most loyal fans hang out.
That night, her report is all bad news.
Any real Canadian knows the story:
Lightfoot stricken as he gets ouf of his car for a sound check at the opera house. Stomach aneurysm. Evac to Hamilton. Surgery. Six weeks of coma.
Stunning comeback. Rehab. New album, Harmony.
Benefit concert for the hospital that saved him, McMaster. Return to Massey Hall, the Church of Gord, Char calls it.
One helluva ride for the Lightheads. Worse than the booze years.
The Net People, Gordie calls them.
Charlene is their queen.
They hold conventions for every Massey Hall gig and come from around the world. They tour Orillia, where Lightfoot once sang soprano in the church choir. One year, they barbecued at Char's place, jammed with guitars in her basement.
Some have found love. A fan from Britain wed a Jersey gal. The Lightheads gave them a quilt with Lightfoot themes. Gord signed the middle square.
Some Lightheads remember what they wore for their first concert. Some can tell what song is next just by how Lightfoot rests his fingers on the strings.
"I keep old CHUM charts with his songs on them," Char says. "How pathetic is that?"
Pathetic? No. Passionate.
And I know that you will never stray
Cause ya been that way from day to day
For such a long, long time
Char sends him cards for his birthday (67 last month) and Christmas. No more Get Well cards, thank goodness.
Last Saturday, this one icy, she finally takes her seat, GG-23 in the right balcony, for Lightfoot's make-good concert.
"Sorry I'm late," says Gordie, and sashes into Spanish Moss.
Let go darlin'
I can feel the night wind call
Later, Rainy Day People, for the local docs and nurses. Triangle, Cotton Jenny, Carefree Highway. Is there a greater folk playlist in Canada than Lightfoot's? Or in the world?
Sundown gets Char's attention. Sexier, sultrier than usual.
"It's the music of our lives," says Char.
And as Canadian as wind on a lonely lake.
"Gord didn't go Hollywood. He didn't take the money and run. He stayed true to being a Canadian."
The illness scared all Lightheads.
"I used to think he'd always be there. That I could keep driving down the Don Valley to Massey Hall, buy his CDs, enjoy his songs.
"Now I know how important it is."
In the dark of the Orillia Opera House, Char scribbles pages of notes as the old man sings, for her report to the world's Lightheads.
She puts down her pen for If You Could Read My Mind. Older, wiser and more gravelly than when she first heard it. But note-perfect.
"You're back," she says. "You're home."
________________________________________
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	Char's Lightfoot In Toronto Sun.jpg
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:09 AM   #4
Gord H
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no problem BillW ... and to think I was laughed at as a kid for even admitting I listened to his music...
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:27 AM   #5
BILLW
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gord H:
no problem BillW ... and to think I was laughed at as a kid for even admitting I listened to his music...
Nobody is laughing anymore. Especially now that we have international recognition for our role as 'net people'. I've already shown the article to the 'work people' and believe it or not no one laughed here either. Here's hoping GordL keeps performing well into his 90s and beyond.

Bill
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:34 AM   #6
johnfowles
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"Some have found love. A fan from Britain wed a Jersey gal."
Hands up! Guilty as charged
"The Lightheads gave them a quilt with Lightfoot themes. Gord signed the middle square."

the "middle" square
(actually a beautifully needleworked replica of the original signed pice of cloth by the "Queen of the Quilt" Jenney)
We treasure this quilt which was memoriably presented to us in Gord's presence in Norwalk CT in August 2000 and we were then able to display it in Toronto at the Charbecue and Massey Hall in May 2001
John Fowles
With a sign that says just Mother

Give me a sign, tell it to me She said, deedlee-dum, deedlee-dee

Is the landlord still a loser, do his signs hang in the hall

signs of a life worth living The better to forget than to be all that upset

It's the time to taste the wine
Im lost with no road signs to guide me
A slave to my whiskey and dreams
Bells of the evening

"And the applause sign was flashing on and off and it was a nightmare."
and finally not a lyric but from an old 1970 interview at:-
http://www.mjq.net/interviews/lightfoot.htm
which is also at:-
http://www.rickmcgrath.com/lightfoot.html

Scotch & Pretzels
The Gordon Lightfoot Interview...

also worth looking at if you have the time:-
Gord's "wiki" entry at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Lightfoot

[ December 08, 2005, 14:04: Message edited by: johnfowles ]
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:54 AM   #7
MaryO
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How wonderful! What a great article. Yep. Gordie and his music keep me goin' and will continue to do so. I'm so glad the 'Net allows this type of gathering! Char - you GO girl! m.
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:59 AM   #8
charlene
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And I laid out the details of your beautiful love story to him Sir John but after all my pic needed a BIG space on the page so editing was needed!
lol
shy char
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Old 12-08-2005, 01:28 PM   #9
Glenmark
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I can't seem to find the article on-line. Is it the Dec. 8 Toronto Sun? If so, where? I followed the link given above and checked all the sections but found nothing.
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Old 12-08-2005, 01:34 PM   #10
Auburn Annie
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When I searched the site for Strobel [who wrote the piece] +Lightfoot, I got the following message:

... Sorry! The Canoe Network is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please stand by -- we expect to be back soon! We apologize for the inconvenience. ...
http://www.canoe.ca/


Maybe they're just updating and it will be back shortly.
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:49 PM   #11
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Congradulations Charzo! Great artlicle!
Bill [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 12-08-2005, 03:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by charlene:
try this:
http://www.torontosun.com/News/Colum...8/1343394.html
Luckily when it was all there I had saved the whole page onto a floppy that Susan now has but Noticing that the fine picture of Char's chins that Al Watchman displayed earlier was not appearing now (3:41pm EST) I tried the direct link Char just posted and blow me her pic on the site is missing there too.
Could it be that Mr Harvey complained at too much publicity for "The Whitby Wonder" I wonder??
John Fowles
And if you saw them now Youd wonder why they would cry The whole day long

And you wonder just in passing Is it him or is it me

I wonder how the old folks are tonight Her name was Ann

Theyd rather stay under
And boy its no wonder
When all the rock lobsters roll on
Its a mighty fine way to be found

Sometimes i wonder why i even try
So why should i feel blue?

Well when this land was made, it was made full of wonder.
But one woman's love, I can't understand.
And I'd give it all to you if her love were true where the long river flows by my window,
where the long river flows by my window.


Golly sometimes when I google for "lightfoot lyrics keyword"
I begin to wonder if there is any word in the English language that Gord has (so far) not used in one or other if his songs!!

Incidentally on that Toronto Sun site alongside their logo is a clickable picture of the paper's front cover but today the actual cover is yesterday's. I must remember to look again tomorrow to see if today's (with the cheesy chin pic) is then available!!
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:14 PM   #13
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Okay...now maybe the world will know how much Gord is loved!!
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:06 AM   #14
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Great article, Char!!
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Old 12-12-2005, 01:57 PM   #15
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Thanks for posting the other link. It's a great article...makes ya' feel kinda, I don't know...lightheaded!
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Old 12-13-2005, 04:25 PM   #16
Bill
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What a lovely article!
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:32 PM   #17
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TOO COOL, Char!

-Gary
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:49 AM   #18
charlene
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Default Re: TORONTO SUN article-Char-fans-Lightfoot;Char makes the news!

11 years ago! good grief....
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:22 PM   #19
JohninCt.
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Default Re: TORONTO SUN article-Char-fans-Lightfoot;Char makes the news!

Ahh yes, very nice article. Thanks for reposting Char, you are still the Queen. I too was thinking yesterday, how fast the time is flying by.
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