Extreme Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean. Penguin 2009.
Extreme Vinyl Cafe is the latest in Stuart McLean’s series of books that feature Dave and Morley and their children, friends and relatives. If you are a Stuart McLean fan, that’s really all that needs to be said. You’ll want to hop down to your local library or bookstore and catch up on all the news. But if you don’t know Morley and Dave, WHOA! Are you lucky! You’ve got hours and hours of catching up to do, getting to know the funniest, warmest, most everyday, remarkable people you could want to meet. McLean’s stories will leave you feeling comforted.
In this latest entry, I was struck by how everyone in the stories, just like the rest of us out here in “real life” is aging. Stephanie, Dave and Morley’s daughter, is a young adult now, off at school, a visitor on holidays. In “London”, Stephanie learns that the dusty old family history that always seemed remote to her is truly about real people, her people. She gets in touch with some of the family roots when she visits Aunt Dorothy in London. Her twelve-year old brother, Sam, still has plenty of tricks up his boyish sleeves, and several stories follow his adventures. In “A Trip to Quebec”, Sam experiences his first kiss.
Increasingly, though, the stories look at aging and all that comes with it. Dave’s 84-year-old Mom finds new love, late in life. Dave imagines his own funeral. Dave and Morley take a cruise with a gaggle of seniors and end up having a great time with an unlikely cast of shipmates. In “Dave and the Roller Coaster”, the tables are turned and Dave finds himself taking the youngster’s role while Sam shows the way.
Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe are featured weekly on CBC radio. You can learn more at the Vinyl Cafe website. Or, better still, you can listen to some of Stuart’s stories about Dave and Morley and the gang through podcasts. Click here to drop on by. Put your feet up and stay a while.