The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Monday, November 06, 2006

A night at The Hour

If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at The Hour.
Let me tell you a bit about my experiences tonight in the studios of the CBC building in Toronto.

I am Barbara W., a confessed blogger for The Hour and for George Stroumboulopoulos.
I invited along a 4th year journalism student from Ryerson University to come with me to see The Hour tonight. Joe Rayment writes for Ryerson Review Of Journalism . he is doing a story for the magazine about The Hour and George S. and contacted our blog to get some background for his story.

He had been to two tapings just last week, and was kind enough to come to this one with me to get the story from a stroumboulopouli blogger. All seven 'stroumbi' across Canada are answering his questions to us about blogging for The Hour, and how we see the changes that The Hour has been going through.

We met in the lobby and chatted before being admitted upstairs via elevator into the maze that is that is The Hour's studio. We were chatting at the studio doors when George wandered into the small group. He said hi to everyone, posed for pictures, answered questions, accepted compliments and thanked people for coming. The perfect host.

If you followed the MySpace drama this past Sunday re: The Strombo Show.... I had a conversation with George all about that at that point in the evening. Not to bore the rest of you, I will blog about that on MySpace.

George had to leave us and go into the studio to rehearse and we were soon admitted.

Joe and I sat on the left hand side second row. Too far left to see in the audience shots. Don't bother looking for us.
Before the show started taping, George was talking to us all and taking questions.
I had a few for him.
Re: that Gemini skit, I told him how funny I thought it was and how I think The Hour could do one skit like that a week.
He said they were kicking around that idea this morning.
George talked about how wearing that pink shirt made him feel dirty...
We all laughed. One other question I had was about why they rolled no credits. He said, there was no time for credits. It's not something a news show on CBC Newsworld usually runs in any case, and most of the crews family knew they were working at The Hour.
We laughed again, and throughout the hour of The Hour, had a very entertaining time.
When he had time to talk to us Mr. Stroumboulopoulos opened up about his love of his job as Host of The Hour.
He also talked about his days at Much Music. How he would interview bands he loved and bands he hated. Some of the bands he hated made the best interviews. He interviewed musicians at the start of their Career, after the first record contract, when they started to go down hill with drugs and hopefully interviewed them after rehab.... words to that effect.
Speaking of effective words, George would be very good at doing those 'don't do drugs' talks with High School students.

The Show tonight featured an interview with Tom Cochrane. It was wonderful to see Tom in the lobby before the show just standing there like any other Canadian guy. It was great to hear him in conversation, talking about his music, his daughter, and Saddam Hussein of all things.
The other treat we witnessed tonight was George taking Rick Mercer to the Newsstand.
Of course we watched it on tape like you did. But that's our laughter you hear added for your viewing experience. I blame Rick Mercer for my laughter lines!

The audience, as always, got a change to get more pictures, ask more questions, and get an autograph with the man himself after the show was finished taping. I waited for George to finish with the people after he said 'wait' and gave me a wink.
When he was done with the last few fans, I talked with him for a bit and at one point asked him where Bob was. He asked his 'God' Correction his Producer(in this case David) over his microphone. Where Bob was? Bob was busy...
He was getting instructions from David in his ear piece about stuff they were preparing to shoot in a few moments time. That's all the time we had. I gave George un petit cadeau for Bob (Strombo Show related) and I got a high five and I left the studio.

As I was waiting for escort to the Elevator

I spotted the piano that George was playing in the Fear Episode.
Doh! I did not get a picture with George.
Mostly because there was no one left
to take a picture, but a nice woman
(CBC employee?) was willing to take
a picture of me and the piano....

I did get to talk to our friend Siobhan, who takes all the reservations for The Hour, and I chatted with Amanda, a long time fan of Georges.

That's all I can process at this point about my evening at The Hour.
Some of it stays unsaid, some things I will recall at 4am I'm sure...
All I can do is recommend you try this experience for yourself.

Barbara W.
Yes that is me wearing a Canadiens sweatshirt. It was the sexiest thing I could think of to wear to The Hour.
George liked it.


J said...

The sexiest thing!!! You rock B!!!

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i am glad you asked about the credits, that has bugged me since day one.

Allan said...

Enjoyed this piece, Barbara.
You sat in the same chair as moi, by coincidence.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Are you planning to make this a regular outing then, Barbara W? The MoHoTa (monthly Hour taping) night?

Anonymous said...

yay Barbara!!!!!! you go girl.


Barbara said...

Barbara B... I would love to. The thing is, taking 2 hours off work is not easy for a Temp like myself.
We'll see.

She's Crafty said...

Great post Barbara. I only saw half of last nights show. And since the website is down there won't be any streaming ;(
I can actually stay up tonite and watch, maybe things will be fixed soon.
I miss the live shows. I got spoilt last year. I hope they can make it out again sometime. Maybe next year.
You and your hoodie would be very welcome at my parents house. My StepDad and my brother love the Canadiens. (I am more of a Canucks fan, thankfully there really isn't a rivalry between the two I am still alive!)

Barbara said...

My niece Nicole is the biggest fan in my family, It was Jose this, and Jose that, and he was all over her walls. Until George announced live on the air in Montreal {when The Hour was on the road} that Jose was being traded....
Sure she has pictures of herself with other Canadiens (it's somewhere in the archives on my blog) and she has autographs galore on her authentic canadiens Jersey. She has even skated with the team...
Man! I should have asked George to sign my hoodie... what's wrong with me? Is there a guide to being a good fan because sometimes I really suck at it. I don't stalk, I don't find out where he lives, I get a pic of me and the piano not another pic me and George. That would be too normal.
Well don't expect the expected of me, I don't work that way.

Barbara said...

I heard from Paul the web producer about how chaotic it is with the website being down...
It's too bad. I am trying to find out from them what the heck happened.... I guess they would have the inside scoop on that on insidethecbc blog... we have link on the right.

Anonymous said...

Barbara W - your post brings to mind the 'professional' fan that was featured last season on The Hour - he was interested in obtaining baseball autographs and recall he had numerous stacks of mementos filling one room.! He sounded like he had an English accent too.


J said...


I think there is a difference between being a fan and being a fanatic... and I think being a fan is the one you want. Respect, love no stalker action... I am certain George appreciates it... it is Bob I wonder about. ;-)

Barbara said...

:-) yeah I remember that supper fan story. I would love to meet that guy and get a picture with him. Then I can say I met the supper fan.
Wonder where he lives...
I kid.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

He's a supper fan? I'm kinda partial to breakfast myself.

Barbara said...

I think super needs another p to make it that much more super...
Keep in mind I learned to spell in French and English at the same time and it mixed me up for life because I can't keep the rules straight in either language.
But since you brought up breakfast, I like that too.

Barbara said...

That one P would bring a whole new meaning to Jesus Christ 'Supper' Star.

joe said...

No sleep the night before. For the last week I’d gotten by on two and a half litres of Coca-Cola a day and three hour intervals of sleep. All of this climaxed Monday morning when I handed in the first draft of my feature at 9 a.m.

I met Barbara at 4 o’clock of a dream-like day. I wasn’t all there and neither was my memory.

We lined up and they took us to the sixth floor via the staff elevators. They used to use service elevators but there’s been something wrong with them for my last few visits. When we got up there we had to wait in the foyer while they finished filming or testing something. The room where we wait is pretty industrial: no carpet, bland colours and a great, imposing set of steel doors that lead to the studio. To my left was the piano Barbara mentions. It’s a regular. On other days I’ve seen an extra red chair, the same as the one George sits on, mounted to a chunk of grey wood on wheels.

George came in to the foyer a few minutes before we went in to the studio. He said hi to Barbara first and then chatted with everyone waiting. He does it every day. And that’s the most impressive thing about him. Every day he meets a crowd of people he doesn’t know who want to talk to him, and every day he talks to them as if they were old friends.

The great garage doors opened and we took our seats in the dark studio.

Barbara said...

Thank you Joe for accompanying me that afternoon on little or no sleep. Your story stops as we get in the door. Did the lack of sleep catch up at that point? I really like the way you write I can see why you are an award winning writer.
I was wondering why we used a different elevator from the season opener. Thanks for the background on that.

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