Stuart McLean

Host of the CBC radio’s Vinyl Café answers nine questions.

What is your current obsession?
Cooking. Having spent 187 days away from home on various Vinyl Café tours last year I have been seized by an unfamiliar spasm of domesticity. I have been cooking up a storm, mostly from Bonnie Stern’s wonderful “The Best of Heartsmart Cooking” I am enjoying it and at the same time wondering if it will last. I hope so. I am eating massive amounts of food and seem to be loosing weight. How great is that? You should see the my refrigerator … obsessively organized and full of left-overs neatly lined up in matching plastic containers. Very weird.

What would you like to be when you grow up?
I have enormous respect for people (of all parties) who stand for public office. I often think about serving in the house of commons. I probably spend hours every day thinking about this. Mostly I walk around giving stirring political speeches to myself or conducting interviews where I am amazing. I seldom do boring committee work.

Who is your favourite hero?
I have had any number of heroes. You can’t have too many. Too many is not enough. Davy Crockett was my first when I was maybe five years old. And then I guess various members of the Montreal Canadian hockey team. And then musicians, too many to count. Many many musicians, starting, geesh, I don’t know where to start, but I guess if we are talking about favourite heroes instead of, say, plain old heroes, we would be talking about people like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and the guy from Texas… uh, you know who I mean… Lyle Lovett. The writerly ones, the ones who care about the words. I have political heroes: Lester Pearson, Tommy Douglas, the usual suspects. But my default hero these days is EB White­—the great American journalist (and children’s author—Charlotte’s Web.) He was such an elegant and easy writer. I admire his writing so much. If I could write as well as anyone it would be as well as White.

What is your principal defect?
Oh gosh. Too many to count. And why would I do that? I’ll let others add up my defects.

What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of Halyards clinking against the masts of a marina full of sailboats. Or the sound of birds singing on an early spring morning and you step outside to get the paper and can feel the sun on your skin for the first time for months. The pop of a cork in a nice bottle of red wine is a nice sound.

What sound or noise do you despise?
Anything so loud it hurts. A siren when it is too loud and too close.

Who is your favourite poet?
That’s easy. Billy Collins. He was named poet laureate of America in 2001. His mother, however was born in Canada and Billy spent his boyhood summers on Lake Couchiching north of Toronto. Billy Collins is my favourite poet. If you don’t know his work you should pick up one of his books and he will be your favourite poet too.

Where (other than Canada) would you like to live?

Maybe Ireland. Maybe Italy. But I would have to be allowed to bring my friends with me.

How would you like to die?
How would I like to die? What kind of question is that? Who wants to die? That being said I think I would like to be around for my death. I don’t want it to happen without my knowledge. I am a writer. I want to know how the story ends. But not for a long time. As far as dying is concerned, I am a patient man.

The Vinyl Café will be holding live tapings at the Arts & Culture Centre on Tuesday, April 24 & Wednesday, April 25. Featuring Ron Hynes and Hey Rosetta! Tickets are $ 39.50 ($25 students under 18) and available at the Arts & Culture Centre box-office. 729-3900.

To win a pair of tickets to the April 25 show, send an email with the subject line “VINYL CAFE” to contests@­


  1. The Scope · April 15, 2012

    Congratulations to the winner of the tickets, Marguerite Stacey!

    Have fun Marguerite!