Stuart McLean on Strombo

First aired on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (11/12/12)

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Bestselling author and popular broadcaster Stuart McLean is above all a storyteller: a guy who believes that the tiniest moments often contain the largest truths. He's hosted Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio for almost 20 years, though he started out as a journalist. The show revolves around McLean's fictional family: Dave, Morley, Stephanie and Sam. They've become real for millions of fans, and for McLean, telling stories is simply the best way to make sense of the world. His new book is a collection of cautionary tales about fear, called Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe.

McLean recently dropped by George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and told a self-deprecating story about doing a show at the Place des Arts in his hometown of Montreal, which his parents attended. "Someone goes up to my mother at the end of the show and says, 'You must be very proud of him.' And she said, 'Well, more surprised, really.' And then she said, 'We really didn't expect him to amount to very much.'"

McLean said he himself didn't have high expectations. "I was intimidated by the brains and the athletes all around me, and just didn't think I measured up."

Watch the video above for McLean's perspective on what unites us as Canadians, his thoughts on the necessity of killing off members of his fictional family and why he gave Morningside host Peter Gzowski a Madagascar hissing cockroach as a retirement gift on his last show.

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