The Vinyl Cafe
is a series of stories about a fictional Canadian family from Ontario. Father Dave, who owns a small record store called 'The Vinyl Cafe' - with the motto 'we may not be big, but we're small', mother Morely, daughter Stephanie, and son Sam. There's also their dog Arthur - who's rather fond of sitting on potatoes, and the cat Gallway, as well as a cast of family and friends who come up from time to time. The stories are great fun, Dave himself has a penchant for getting into the most hilarious scrapes, and the author Stuart McLean has a very distinctive way of telling a story. It's both to the point and yet he'll wander off on tangents so smoothly, you don't even really notice you're off the path of the story until he pulls you back onto it.
But the podcast, to my utter delight when I first started listening to it, is not just short stories about the people in the world of the Vinyl Cafe. Stuart's radio show, where the Vinyl Cafe stories first started airing, is also a travelling radio show and often times podcasts will be recordings of various live shows around Canada. Someone once called Stuart the Johnny Carson of Canada and you can see the similarities in his shows. He features Canadian artists in his shows for musical interludes, some well known, others I'd never heard before his show. And the stories. Stuart always has a story about each place they're visiting. They can be heartwarming, or hilarious, or heartrending, sometimes all three, and they always make you wish you were there. And then there's the story exchange, he'll read stories from listeners, always short, but other than that, they're always different and interesting and just these little glimpses into the lives of others.
The Vinyl Cafe updates every Saturday night and you can get a few of the latest episodes over here at the CBC site
, the link at the beginning of my post leads to the Vinyl Cafe's site, which also has a link to the podcasts.