I was sitting at Starbucks, trying to answer some emails from my family (they get short shift) when Owen texted me.
I have listened to the Vinyl Cafe for oh, at least 20 years. Long before the age of podcasts or that kind of thing. I started listening to Stuart when you had to turn on the radio. Which was not hard because I grew up in a house that listened to CBC. Even so, noon on Sunday’s.
Some people probably started listened for the music. I can’t lie – I hated the music at first. Well, not hated, but it was so annoying that there was music because what I really wanted were the stories. The stories of Dave and Morley, Sam, Stephanie. Arthur the dog and Galloway the cat. Stories of being human.
It’s hard to do this well. Get it wrong it’s craven cynicism or it’s maudlin or grotesque. Stuart never got it wrong. Somehow he held us up as we are. The stories that were the best of us. The most human of us. The ways we are funny, silly, odd and so very, very human.
For those of you who have been around for years, you might remember December of 2009. I didn’t know it then, but that was when I came back to life. That was when I realized it was somehow going to be ok. I wrote Stuart that year and told him about this, about his concert and why I was there in 2009 and why I wasn’t in 2007. He wrote me back, a very kind email saying thank you. I think he knew about sadness and grief.
Stuart McLean died today. There will be no more Dave and Morley. I won’t get to laugh at Mary Turlington. No more Wong’s Scottish meat pies. Stephanie and Sam will maybe age, but there won’t be anyone to tell me about it.
I am thinking of this – of how his family became sort of my family. Of how he brought music into my house. So many of the bands I now love I heard from him.
Stuart ended his concerts the same way all the time. I know this because I went to many.
Go home to your families.
And he was part of mine.
So long for now.