Friday, December 21, 2007

Da Count - Oral Storytelling

Last night, Francine and I went to see Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. It has become a tradition to go see Stuart's Christmas show, as I think this is our fifth one. Stuart used to do a Hamilton show every second year, but these last two year's he has done one each December.

Awesome. As always.

For those who don't know Stuart McLean, he is the host of CBC Radio's Vinyl Cafe program which we usually listen to Sunday's at noon while doing housework (although I tend to skip vacuuming during the program, as, for some strange reason, I find it difficult to hear with the vacuum running - can't understand why). The show contains a variety of personal stories and travelogues from Stuart, an eclectic sampling of music, often from under heard yet brilliant new Canadian talent that Stuart helps share with Canadians, and of course the Dave and Morley stories.

It was the Dave and Morley stories that first attracted me to Stuart's show. Dave is the owner of a small fictitious record (yes, actual vinyl albums) shop in downtown Toronto called The Vinyl Cafe. The stories involve Dave, his wife Morley (who works in theatre), their daughter Stephanie, son Sam, their dog Arthur, and a slew of neighbours and friends. The stories are delightful and hilarious and often touching and poignant. Stuart has a naturally wonderful oral storytelling ability -- and although the musical talent on last night's live show was phenomenal, the highlight was hearing two completely brand new Dave and Morley Christmas stories.

There is a relatively new Vinyl Cafe podcast available here. For those of you outside of CBC's broadcast area, I urge you to check out the podcast. You won't be disappointed. In fact, I'm pretty sure you'll be delighted and continue to listen to the ongoing brilliant stories by one of Canada's finest storytellers and be tempted to seek out the various wonderful Vinyl Cafe CD's and books. Seriously, go listen now, seek out any of the wonderful Christmas episodes (including the now legendary "Dave Cooks The Turkey" story. You can thank me for it later.

So in any case, this week I'm counting Stuart McLean and the continual treat of the oral storytelling tradition that he infuses into our world. The art of oral storytelling is a special thing, one I am very proud to be able to enjoy, and the man certainly has refined the art of it. So, thanks Stuart. You have given Francine and I a great tradition (both our weekly listens to the show as well as the annual Christmas Concert performance) that we are looking forward to passing along to our son.

And to quote Mr McLean: "So long for now."



lime said...

what a wonderful thing indeed. i will definitely have to give him a looksee when i have more time.

storytelling seems to be a dying art. glad to knos one capable is breathing life back into it.

lecram sinun said...

Aye... the storyteller (especially a good one) is a pretty priceless experience. Cheers! Oh, yeah... I'm finally up.