Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tales from the Vinyl Cafe

So here's something most people don't know about me: while most people guess I was born in Pittsburgh and gather I'm Hungarian after hearing me speak with my parents, most people do not know that I am half Canadian. Really! My dad grew up around Windsor, Ontario along the Detroit River, and went to graduate school at McGill University in Montreal, and most of my family on that side lives in the Toronto area. The one exception is my dad's brother and his family, though oddly enough my uncle never bothered to get his US citizenship until just last year.

My Canadian-ness doesn't show up very often since I've never lived there (though if you pay attention I do use some Canadian English, even the occasional "eh?"), but I've always liked the country and really wouldn't mind living there someday. There is one thing odd about me and Canada though: I am in complete love with several Canadian radio shows. This odd little fetish comes from high school when I used to listen to shortwave radio obsessively, and Saturday morning the best thing on the dial was Radio Canada International because they played "The Vinyl Cafe" and "Quirks and Quarks" between 10am and noon. The Vinyl Cafe was a variety show and Quirks and Quarks is the best science radio show you would ever listen, so I spent most Saturday mornings in high school waking up around 10 and listening to the radio before crawling out of bed. Arguably weird, but I'm still an arguably weird person so you reap what you sow.

My hands-down favorite out of all this, by the way, was getting up to hear Tales from The Vinyl Cafe, whose revolves around stories from the world's smallest record store with the motto "we might not be big but we're small." The music was pretty good and the host Stuart McLean was a riot, but what I hands-down loved most about it were the featured (fictional) stories about Dave, his wife Morley, and their two children Sam and Stephanie. These stories are incredibly funny and sort of like "A Prairie Home Companion," but I never really thought there was a comparison to be made, as The Vinyl Cafe was always way better. I can't tell you how many times during high school I spent those Saturday mornings laughing under the covers so I wouldn't wake up my sister next door, or how much I looked forward to that one story a week.

Anyway, the sad thing about this is that I moved to college and no longer wake up in time to hear The Vinyl Cafe, even assuming I could get the reception in my dorm room. I missed it terribly. But then recently I discovered something I'd been waiting for ages to hear: there is finally a Vinyl Cafe podcast! Hooray! So now I can revel in tales of class trips to Quebec City and Remembrance Day and all sorts of wonderful things people in the US never seem to fully appreciate. You should take a listen too, and subscribe to the podcast.

In case you just want a taste though, my favorite story, by far is the one posted last week called Dream Bunnies. It's a beautiful tale about a stuffed animal bunny Stephanie had that she took everywhere as a child, and her father trying to come to grips with the year she finally didn't take Bunny to college with her. The reason I love it so is because I had a stuffed animal bunny just like that as a kid (called "Honey Bunny" because she was yellow), and I cannot tell you how many times Stuart McLean was describing something straight out of my life during this particular story. I suppose that's why the best stories end up touching our hearts.

It's also worth noting, btw, that The Vinyl Cafe does broadcast in Cleveland now Sundays at 3pm on WCPN 90.3 FM if you want to hear the whole show. I always feel terrible about this though because I've yet to actually listen to it here because for whatever reason I always have something incredibly pressing to do Sunday afternoons and miss out...

Anyway, go listen to The Vinyl Cafe. You won't regret it, and it's always fun to take a moment and enjoy tales from the Great White North.


Anonymous said...

Well, Yvette, I certainly am surprised to find you here, but it is a pleasant surprise. You do get around!
73 from NV8L, sam