I'm doing this today in support of my son's effort to help send deserving kids to summer camp. Please take a moment to contribute and I'll try to answer what I can: http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?SID=3741904&LangPref=en-CA

Edit: Here is a link to the Vinyl Café free podcast for anyone unaware of who I am and is interested in finding out

Edit#2 Stuart's son here: Thank you very much for generous support (especially Susan - PM me with your lastname (to verify who you are) and address and I will arrange a more personal thank you from us both for your generosity!)

Edit #3: Hey Everyone I have a dinner thing tonight and I should go and ... well shave to start with ...so I am going to bow out now ... that was fun. Thanks for the questions. And if you haven't already go checkout my son's charity .. he made this happen. Send a kid to camp.

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/VinylCafe?fref=ts

Comments: 141 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

thatscorrect18 karma

What is your favorite Dave and Morley story? And btw my family loves your radio show.

VinylCafe16 karma

thanks ... i don't know if i have a favourite. I like the ones about Sam and Murphy, also the ones about Eugene, and also the ones with Dave's stepfather Smith. I love writing about those three: Eugene, Smith and especially, Sam.

burntflowers12 karma

Hello Stuart!

I've been introduced to so many amazing new musical artists through your show. Thank you for that!

My question is: which up-and-comers should we all be listening to right now?

VinylCafe7 karma

Oh geez ... Julie and Jess should answer that. David Myles has a new CD out ... I loved his last one. So does Danny Michel, his records are always great.

therep10 karma

Hi Stuart! I live in Toronto, and frequent all of the record shops in the city on a fairly regular basis, and I've always wondered which shop you used as a basis for Dave's record store? Thanks!

VinylCafe4 karma

no specific shop ... I think i was walking by the vinyl museum on bloor when i got the idea of the shows name ... but the store is part imagination, (both mine and yours) and part conglomeration of many stores. But in the early days maybe more Vinyl Museum than any others.

bgrice10 karma

Thank you for doing this, Mr. McLean. I have just donated to your son's effort.

My question is: Was there a particular moment in time or experience in your life that gave you an ah-ha moment and made you realize that you wanted a career as a storyteller?

VinylCafe9 karma

I did have one ah ha moment but it wasn't to do with writing. It was more a personal thing. A therapeutic thing. In university. In a group class which where we were all called upon to share and I had a moment of realising that I ... not sure how to put this .. could fit in .. didn't need to be so scared ... something like that that allowed me to ... get on with my life.

VinylCafe3 karma

thanks for donating to rob's fundraising efforts. it's a good cause.

wetleftcoast9 karma

Hi Stuart,

I am a long time fan. To me, you embody the best part of our country. Sharing stories that need to be told that bring us all together. Thank you for proving every week that there is more that unites our country than divides it. Thank you for giving a voice to so many young talented musical artists that need exposure.

One quick question.

How do you feel that the current PM has noticeably changed his speaking style to mimic your own? Are you collecting any royalties?

VinylCafe11 karma

people have told me this before. I don't notice it.

Lawawp9 karma

Hey! My girlfriend and I are huge fans. You are one of my favourite story-tellers.

One thing that has always struck me about your show has been your cadence when you speak. It flows so well and pauses at the perfect points. Is this completely natural to you, or did you develop it as the show has gone along? How did you manage to hone this talent?

VinylCafe11 karma

it is natural ... although I am obviously paying attention to the rhythms for the radio ... i don't speak like that off the air. I mumble off the air. All the time i am told.

oxaphosphetane7 karma

Hi Stuart!

This isn't a question, but a few years ago you were in my hometown (Sudbury, ON) as part of a tour. I was working in a Chapters store and was visiting some relatives out west at the time. You noticed that I had staff picked one of your books and ended up buying it and signing it for me. I never got the chance to thank you for it, so thanks! It'll always have a special place.

VinylCafe10 karma

Well ... thanks for remembering that. I had forgotten that. And thanks for choosing me.

microfortnight7 karma

"Dave" of the "Dave & Morley" stories runs a record store and has a past including many brushes with greatness with music personalities. Is this a fantasy alternate life for Stuart?

(by the way, I only saw this AMA because of your facebook post! Thanks!)

VinylCafe13 karma

no ... my fantasy life involves politics. In my fantasy life i am prime minister. I spend a great deal of time walking around thinking about what i would do, How i would proceed.

phantasmicwhimsy7 karma

what's on your portable listening device right now? what kind of music do you listen to when you're writing? when you're driving?

my boyfriend and I had the chance to see you and Matt Anderson last year, and you guys were amazing. thank you for everything that you do!


VinylCafe9 karma

On the turntable right now is Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" I love Wilco. Often listen to the when i write. Strangely I just got that album.

Happyhappydaysdays6 karma

Hi Stuart. Do you have any favourite Toronto restaurants, sites, shops that are relatively unknown? (Am new to the city)

Ps: took my 3 year old to your xmas show in Toronto. During the singing of Go Tell It on The Mountain she turns to me and asks "Who is Cheese Rice Crisp?"(Jesus christ, we arent religious). Guy beside me answers...its just a cracker people eat on Sundays. Maybe you should launch vinyl cafe branded snack.

VinylCafe3 karma

Here are three places in Kennsington Market to check out

~ 4 LIfe Organics (Pott's store) ~ Hooked Fresh Fish store ~ Sanagan's Meat Locker (say hi to Peter)

maxgroover5 karma

I was just in Manitou Beach and I heard you're doing a couple shows at Danceland. What's your favourite type of dance?

Also, be prepared for an exceptionally slow bartender.

VinylCafe9 karma

geesh ,,, i am going to write about that on the show ... i like dancing to 1950's rock and dub step of course.

teeerex5 karma

Hi Stuart! Thanks for visiting us at Reddit. I am a huge fan and finally had the chance to see you live in Halifax earlier this this year. You seem to have this endless supply of energy and wit, even when crowds at your show pushed their limits. What do you do to find balance in your life with all of the travelling/writing/public appearances that you do?

VinylCafe9 karma

i am not sure there is balance in my life. I love what i do. When i am at home (not enough) i love to read and cook. I live near Kennsignton market... i love wandering in the marke, buying stuff, coming home and cooking it.

2Fundy5 karma

When you were 7, what did you want to be when you grew up?

VinylCafe3 karma

Maybe a writer. Or a radio guy. I have always love radio. Though i am not sure the possibility that i actually work on radio had emerged yet. WHen i was about 7 i wrote an article for my father's company magazine. That might have been when the writer seed was planted. When i saw my author's picture.

herpberp5 karma

hi Cottage Man,

how many crokinole boards do you own?

VinylCafe7 karma

sadly, not one. Note to self, buy one before head to cottage.

stoopknuckle4 karma

Hi Stuart! I am a huge fan of your radio program and the Vinyl Café stories. Do you have any advice for a soon to be grad of Radio Broadcasting? Specifically one who would love to work with the CBC. coughletmeinternonyourshowcough Thanks!

VinylCafe7 karma

Go to one of the smaller markets. Start to freelance. Be a big fish in a little pond. Work really hard. Take any assignment. Keep knocking in their door with ideas. DOn't give up.

icantfindagoodlogin4 karma

Hello Stuart! I hope you're enjoying your reddit experience. Given Dave's past experiences with ducks, would he have preferred to have been stuck in a hotel room with a horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

VinylCafe8 karma

definitely the cute little horses ... and if they started fighting ... he could take them down.

leafsimon3 karma

Hi Stuart,

If you could pick anyone from any time to call a Hockey Night in Canada Game, OTHER THAN HOCKEY PEOPLE, who would you pick for play-by-play and colour? Ie. Who do you think has the best 'hockey voice' outside of hockey?

VinylCafe3 karma

wow ... how about pierre trudeau ,,, that would be ... interesting.

octaviusromulus3 karma

Hello from the Great State of Maine! I can't wait to see you this fall, you have more fans than you may realize in the snowy parts of the US. :-)

My question: You've traveled a great deal around Canada (and even the States), so if you were to pick the most important thing you've learned from it all, what would it be?

Answers phrased in the form of one of your introductory monologues get bonus points. :-P

VinylCafe6 karma

Pack light.

meohmy133 karma

How many of the residents of Lake Wobegon are based on your real life experiences?


  • You open every tour stop with a really amazing and in-depth ode to the local "flavor." How do you come up with that material in such a short time?

  • You've been pretty much all over the GWN...what were your favorite destinations?

  • Are you eligible for an Arthur Award?

  • I am a little worried about Jonathan Goldstein. I'm not saying you MUST do a guest spot on Wiretap, but if you at least gave Gregor a call and acted interested, perhaps he would lay off the sauce a little bit.

VinylCafe3 karma

we go to the towns i write about two or three days in advance. These days Lousie Curtis might do some research before we go so i might have an idea what i am going to write about before i arrive. Jess is sometimes with, sometimes not. I will spend a couple of days hanging out and a couple of days writing up my script.

Creepella_the_second3 karma

I loved the Dave and Morley story with mangled turkey in the hotel room. Whats the worst meal you have ever cooked?

ETA: Have many people have inspired Dave and Morley?

VinylCafe10 karma

My worst meals are when i forget there is something on the stove an wander away and burn it. I once set a stainless steel kettle on fire. That takes talent.

thedogsbreakfast3 karma

Dear Stuart,

Thank you for visiting the reddit community!

It is an annual family tradition to see your Christmas concert. Your stories, and love for community is a much cherished message.

My question for you is if you have ever heard of Halifax based musician, Ben Caplan? He, like myself, is not from Halifax, but have learned to call it "home". He is an amazing person, and I hope that you one day invite him to be your special musical guest.

How do you go about selecting music for your shows?

VinylCafe4 karma

Yes we know Ben's work and I will pass on your commendation to Jess and Julie.

ubomw3 karma

I don't know who you are, but I liked that you spelled Café right.

I googled you, you're from Montréal, so it's not so strange.

VinylCafe8 karma

i have a radio show on CBC ... i tell (often funny) stories. WE play music. We have a podcast check us out.

TheReasonableCamel3 karma

Hi Stuart, thanks for doing an AMA. A few years ago you were in a Saskatchewan town and asked someone to join you on the stage. My little sister ended up going up and Singing "My Little Sunshine" with you and she thought it was the greatest thing ever. Just wanted to share.

What's your favourite part of your job?

VinylCafe7 karma

i thought your sister was the bomb

pourfarmer3 karma


VinylCafe6 karma

I loved working with Owen Pallett. And Matt Andersen. The night in Cleveland when Luke Doucet sang "Cleveland" was ... amazing. There have been so many. Randy Bachman played jazz on the show once and he was so nervous. He was outside his comfort zone and i had so much respect for him for stepping out there. OMG there have been so many wonderful moments. Dala. Cory Tetford sang Georgia. Of course every night John Sheard blows my mind. Lisa Lindo. I miss Lisa. I could go on for ever. CHris Whitlely in those early days.

wild_olive3 karma

Hi Stuart, thanks for doing this AMA!

For as long as I can remember my family has listened to the Vinyl Cafe while making Sunday lunch. I'm convinced that your program is the reason my husband has switched his radio allegiance to the CBC!

I have a few questions for you:

• What are the funniest or most embarrassing stories your family and friends tell about you?

• How has your life been different than what you imagined?

• How would you like to be remembered?

Thank you for connecting millions of people across the globe with your stories and featuring such great musical talent every week!

VinylCafe3 karma

Humour is pretty ephemeral. I don't expect to be remembered. I do try to be kind to people.

amandacs092 karma

I just started reading Sunshine Sketches on your recommendation (love it so far). Have you been inspired by Leacock as a writer, and if not, who has inspired you?

VinylCafe3 karma

biggest inspiration is EB WHITE. His essays in the New Yorker. I was concise, elegant, intelligent, understated. Favourite book on writing "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser.

meohmy132 karma

Thought of another, when The Weakerthans appeared and opened with "I Hate Winnipeg" there was an audible gasp from the crowd. Did you get many complaints about that?

VinylCafe3 karma

Not a one. That was a love song to Winnipeg.

jkrjkrjkr1112 karma

What good books have you read recently?

VinylCafe3 karma

mostly i read magazines these days. The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian newspaper, are regular reads.

drooper332 karma

Hey Stuart - thanks for all that you do. I always feel that CBC radio has a strong uniting effect on the country. Certain shows and personalities even more so. Peter Gzowski, Alan Maitland, Stuart McLean, Barbara Frum, Jian Gomeshi, etc. are the standouts for me. Welcome to the club. Do you acknowledge this and how does it make you feel when you go from town to town and coast to coast? Is there a thread that ties us all together?

VinylCafe2 karma

I think there are several threads that tie canadians together. The red thread of climate and geography. The french english first nation coming together ... our awareness and feelings for the other. Our belief in the collective.

lockerby1 karma

Hi Stuart! Thanks for doing this! I had the pleasure of catching you in Cleveland, Ohio for your show in March, it was great. My question is, how was your trip in the states, vs your Canadian leg?

VinylCafe1 karma

we love going to the states. We are very warmly welcomed there. We have a modest presence and it is growing and it is fun for us. I think we have a lot to learn from each other and am pleased to be part of some sort of public sharing.

mtbandit1 karma

Hi Stuart! We miss you in Maine! Looking forward to October! The question: I recall it mentioned that only one of Dave's stories is based on a true event. But which story of Dave and Morely do you WISH had happened to you?

VinylCafe1 karma

wow... great question ... my favourite question so far. ONe of the ones in Big Narrows i think. I would love to hang out with smith gardiner in Big Narrows.. go up the road behind Mcaullay's farm and and jump off the jumping cliff swing on the maples. I have a clear clear image of that road. I would love to visit Big Narrows for a weekend.

Codebluemamma1 karma

Stuart, thank you for introducing me to Reddit - a new learning experience today! I will take "AMA" literally and trod across unspoken boundaries with knees quaking (lol). Given your crazy travel life, how does your significant other cope (or family members if S.O. not applicable right now)? Do they get to travel with you?

VinylCafe1 karma

Yes, they travel with me from time to time, and I love that. Mostly, I miss them and they me. But this is my work and i love it and they seem to understand.

MrTemple1 karma

Hi Stuart, thanks for doing this! I have a few related questions about your writing.

How much fiction did you write growing up? Was it something you'd always had a passion for, or did it sneak up on you during your pursuits in non-fiction and journalism?

Was there a specific moment when you decided, or maybe realized, that you wanted to be a storyteller for a living?

What's your favourite part of the writing process? The blank page, revision, seeing the published work, performing it live, or something else?

Thanks again!

VinylCafe3 karma

fiction snuck up on me ... it was me trying to keep things interesting for myself... looking for the thin ice, the side of the road,,, i love the performing that is the most fun. But i wouldn't give up the writing for the performing. If i could only have one I would choose the writing.

lapsura1 karma

Hi Stuart! Some of my favourite childhood memories were of Sunday drives in rural Saskatchewan, listening to the Vinyl Cafe (about 15 years ago now!). Now I listen to the podcasts and come to your live show when you're in town. My question is: why don't the podcasts have the Vinyl Cafe theme song? I miss it!

VinylCafe1 karma

I will ask Jess ... not sure

badapl1 karma

Afternoon Stewart. Not a question so much as a comment. I'd just like to say "thank you" for keeping the art of story telling alive & vibrant. I catch the Cafe when ever possible & am continually amazed at the pictures & stories you paint in my mind. Your's is an Art & you Sir are a fine artist. Thank you

VinylCafe1 karma

thanks ...

Matuas1 karma

I interned at NPR a few years ago and Robert Krulwich told me that he often joins you and your wife on a boat trip around the Great Lakes. Are you still doing that?

Also, can you come to Brooklyn? I'm a Canadian boy living in New York and I listen to the Vinyl Cafe to remind me of home. I know there are a lot of ex-pats here that would love to see a live Vinyl Cafe show and would also give you a tour of our amazing city.

VinylCafe2 karma

Robert and I NEVER went on a boat trip around the great lakes .. however ... I recently stayed with him in NYC ... Robert is one of my best friends .. we hardly ever see each other ... but he makes me laugh and laugh when we do colide.

joesmithb1 karma

Dave is such a well-developed character. I love how you create stories that seem to be driven by his experiences and values. I'm curious - have you ever thought about what a "Bizarro Dave" or an alternate universe Dave would look like? What would he be doing? Is there maybe a decision or moment where Dave's life could have gone in that entirely different direction?

VinylCafe1 karma

great question .. i will mull that one .. it might lead to a great story.. thanks

bieberfangirl0 karma

I love your shoes and your ties. Oh and especially your socks. Where do you shop? Fabulous.

VinylCafe2 karma

Hey my son Rob buys me my socks. Donate to his charity. As for the rest of it, mostly I listen to the people around me. And sometimes i head off by myself.

cuzzard0 karma

im a huge fan and vinyl collector. any chance to flow some free comped wax to a fellow spinner? :)

VinylCafe9 karma

not a chance in the world

oldscotch0 karma

Hi Stuart,

Just wondering, where did you get the inspiration or idea for Dave and Morley? And did you intend for them to be the basis for almost all of your stories when you started out, or did you have other settings in mind with completely different characters?

VinylCafe2 karma

good question .. dave and morley were not the major characters in the beginning ... they sort of elbowed their way to the centre of the stage... not sure why or how. it just happened

Stevegap0 karma

Not a question, but Last year's BC English 12 Provinical Exam used one of your stories, and I spent the entire essay writing with your voice reading it in my head.

VinylCafe8 karma

EXCELLENT ... hope you passed. I bet the questions were bogus. There is no theme, there are no symbols. It is just me trying to write a funny story to deadline.