Stuart McLean likes the inconsequential. The motto of his radio show, “The Vinyl Cafe,” is "We may not be big, but we're small." The bestselling Canadian author shares big truths hidden in the small things.
But McLean’s storytelling tours sell out to large and small theaters across North America, and the beloved “The Vinyl Cafe” radio show from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation continues to grow on public radio stations in the United States, on Sirius channel 137, on podcast, and online.
Each radio show starts with McLean’s story exchange, an opportunity for listeners to share their own short and true anecdotes. You’ll snicker at “Self Inflicted Hit and Run,” reflect on life lessons with “Meeting the Queen,” and be moved by “Vimy Ridge.”
Then McLean will share an essay about everyday life. He’ll talk about his lost to-do list, praise the sport of curling, or write an ode to the potato. In these lighthearted monologues, he includes local details, celebrating places like Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., or Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Recently, he’s selected and revised an entertaining collection in The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks (Penguin).
McLean’s eclectic taste in music is also a highlight of his shows. His musical friends join his tour, including guitar legend Randy Bachman as well as up-and-comers like The Wailin' Jennys, Dala, and Matt Andersen.
Every time “The Vinyl Cafe” goes on tour, McLean writes a new Dave and Morley story. Listeners enjoy the folksy way he reads them, and his 10 short-story collections are full of everyday mishaps. Dave, the owner of a secondhand record store, is a decent guy who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. Dave's wife, Morley, their children, Sam and Stephanie, and others show up in the stories. They might be exploring do-it-yourself water slides, toilet training their pets, or cooking the Christmas turkey.
A good radio host makes listeners feel as though they are part of an intimate conversation, no matter how big the audience. Radio and fiction are personal media. McLean brings listeners and readers to laughter, tears, and reflection. That makes Stuart McLean a friend.