Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe radio show

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe radio show is a weekend institution on Canada's CBC Radio, filling the love-it-or-hate-it slot occupied by The Archers on Radio 4. You can listen to it live on Saturday and Sunday afternoons GMT at www.cbc.cavinylcafe. On page or on air, the edgy humour keeps the occasional threat of schmaltz at bay. The peak of the radio show is the Vinyl Cafe soap: McLean's edgy tales of second-hand record store owner Dave and his family, pets and neighbours have filled five books (two of them, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged and Home from the Vinyl Cafe, to be published in the UK by Granta next month) and nine years of broadcasts.

The latest radio episode is typical of the way in which the comedy ambushes you: Dave attends the "awkward and inappropriate" funeral of his saxophonist friend Billy's Aunt Ginger, who died at 91 in a skiing accident ("well, snowboarding if you're gonna be technical"). What follows involves a coffin, Alice Cooper's make-up case (found in the back of the shop), a straw poll on funeral music ("Stairway to Heaven", Cat Stevens, Enya, "Leader of the Pack") and a lost customer.

For the past two years Vinyl Cafe listeners have been invited to contribute to the Story Exchange, an archive of three-minute pieces from which McLean selects one to read each week ("It has to be true and it has to be short").

Read them on the website, including last weekend's contribution from Olympic speedskater Kristina Groves, now 25, remembering her childhood bid to carry the Olympic torch in Calgary. McLean is planning a UK visit later this year, if you can't catch him in Winnipeg this weekend.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today