I’ve been a Stuart McLean fan my entire life. My family and I would listen to his shows together every Sunday and he was constantly playing his CD’s at Christmas. I have seen his show three times and I own the paper version of The Vinyl Café. Stuart McLean has easily become the newest member of our family.
However, despite listening to him for over a decade, I’ve never looked at Stuart McLean and thought “He’s a real inspiration.” Stuart McLean isn’t solving world hunger or creating a greener environment. Stuart McLean tells us stories about Dave, Morley, Stephanie and Sam. In creating this blog, I have learned exactly this: Stuart McLean is not only an inspiration, he is my inspiration. Maybe not in the way that he makes movies or is in the newest Ted Talk, but Stuart McLean is an inspiration because he warms our hearts, lifts our moods and brings our family closer together. I believe this is the best kind of inspiration, the kind that brings people together.
Stuart McLean was born and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Sir George Williams University in 1971 he began his career which eventually lead him to CBC in 1978 (CBC News). After just one year of working on the Sunday Morning CBC Radio program, Stuart was awarded an “ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for his contribution to the program’s coverage of the Jonestown massacre” (CBC News). He then moved on to become a regular columnist and guest host on CBC Morningside. Stuart wrote his first book in 1989 called The Morningside World of Stuart McLean for which he was bestowed Canadian Bestseller and a finalist in the 1990 City of Toronto Book Awards. Stuart has written 15 books; in addition, he has 16 CD’s of audio recordings of his stories. Stuart McLean as appointed Officer of the Order of Canada, he is both a professor at Ryerson University and director of broadcast television in the School of Journalism. Stuart began touring with the Vinyl Café in 1998 (CBC News).
The Vinyl Café originated on CBC Radio but is now available in the United States, Sirius Radio, via podcast and live online. The Vinyl Café is created and produced by the one and only Stuart McLean. The broadcasts about the family are an hour long (great for in the car, while cooking or just at home relaxing) and they are quite minimalist. All you need is the entrancing sound of Stuart McLean’s voice with a bit of music. No need for whistles and bells. The stories are about Dave, his wife Morley and their two kids. The Dave owns a vinyl café (hence the name) or an independent record store. Their slogan states “We may not be big, but we’re small.” Which, I believe, is a great indicator of the humble and kind attributes of the family. Dave is clumsy and always getting himself into funny situations. Morley is a stay at home mother, she is more grounded than Dave one might say. She doesn’t get into as many predicaments as Dave but she’s always there to witness the show. Now, just think of a clumsy dad and how embarrassing that would be for a teenage girl and you have Stephanie, the rebel. Finally, we have Sam. Sam is the younger brother by several years, he is often too young to play a major role. The family has Arthur the dog and Galway the cat.
The stories are for anyone between a child and an adult. They are lighthearted, never dark, they are the kind of stories that make you laugh out loud but also think about your own family and choices. What Stuart McLean does is create a world where thought is encouraged and appreciation is valued and reciprocated. Humor is always a first and families always come together.
The cover pages for the books and CD’s are always unique drawings with a vintage feel. A true one of a kind for our generation.
Recently, Stuart McLean has announced that he will not be continuing the Vinyl Café tours anymore as he has been diagnosed with Melanoma. Stuart has begun receiving treatment for his condition and keeps a positive attitude. Over the years, Stuart has taught us how to love and support each other, now it is our turn to send that love back to Stuart. Thank you Stuart McLean for your wonderful stories. I will forever keep them close to my heart.
I sincerely recommend everyone take a listen. Lay down, relax and let the soothing voice of Stuart McLean take you into the Vinyl Café.
Click the link to be connected to hear Stuart McLean’s podcast including my favorite story: Dave Cooks the Turkey. Enjoy.
Like many others believe, the best form of flattery is imitation. Therefore:
I’m Heather Davis, so long for now.
All photos owned by CBC’s Vinyl Café
“Vinyl Cafe with Stuart Mclean | CBC Radio.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2014. Web. 19 June 2016.