Extreme Vinyl Cafe

Extreme Vinyl Cafe (Photo: Penguin)Without a doubt, my very favourite thing about the CBC is Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe.

When I lived in Melbourne and had bouts of homesickness, I used to go on long walks by myself under the guise of going to Woolworths. The actual business of going to Woolworths only took about ten minutes, but because I lived in St. Kilda and the beach was right there, I’d head out in the direction of Elwood for a bit first, before rounding back and picking up my groceries. The whole meander took about an hour, which was the perfect time to listen to my little slice of home – the Vinyl Cafe podcasts. I loved those hours.

What I love about the Vinyl Cafe is that it makes me completely rethink my usual stance on short stories. You see, I don’t normally love short stories. I think it’s because I read so quickly that I’d rather savour the pleasure of a novel than start and stop in bits and bites. But I’ve always had a soft spot for Dave, Morley, Sam and Stephanie – especially Stephanie, who I consider a literary friend of sorts. And Stuart McLean himself, who used to be a professor at Ryerson when I was in first-year journalism in 2003 and let me make a complete ass of myself the day I met him in the hallway of the Rogers Communication Centre and attempted to tell him how much my family had always loved his stories.

If you’re a Vinyl Cafe fan, this is more of the same good stuff. My highlight was ‘Dave’s Funeral (Dave Buys A Coffin)’ – it made me think about my own dad and the ending made me cry in a happy kind of way. Really, there’s not a bad story in there, but that one is my absolute favourite.

Friends reading from outside of Canada, please try out the Vinyl Cafe podcasts, which are available through iTunes and through the CBC. I promise you that listening to the Vinyl Cafe is one of the nicest ways to spend an hour on Sundays that I can think of, especially when you’re far away from home.

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