So – it’s been a while!

To be honest I’d forgotten about this place. I’m guessing everyone else has too! I haven’t watched the show this season and I’ve been very out of the loop with the radio show. So do tell (if anyone’s out there) how are things in the land of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight? Are the guests still gripping? Are the chairs still red? Does it still have the punch it did when it was The Hour? Who’s been the best guest this season? The worst?

Until next time (or  possibly next year)


Best Videos of All Time

Music videos paint a story beyond those of the lyrics. I could spend a whole weekend just watching them on TV.

Here are some of my favourite videos of all time. Enjoy!

The 12 Days of Strombo Show

Thank you, George and Bob, for your 12 Gifts of Christmas. Great selections .. all of them.

I would like to point out two things to you however.

1. The 12th day of Christmas gave us John Bonham. Though I can’t say I disagree with you on this point, and realizing how hard this decision must have been to make, an honourable mention (at the very least) must go to Moonie. Remember that incredible drum solo in “The Kids Are Alright”? No one ever has and no one ever will play drums like Keith Moon of The Who. How tragic that both of them were taken by alcohol – Bonham by drinking 40 shots of vodka for breakfast and subsequently suffocating on his own vomit, and Moon overdosing on medication for alcohol withdrawal. Both climbed the “Stairway to Heaven” and “died before (they) got old” *insert bad joke drum roll here*.

2. The second point I would like to make is in regards to the selection of the Partridge Family’s song “Get Happy” as the gift for the first day. Everyone, EVERYONE, knows that the best Partridge Family song is “I Think I Love You”. Just ask anyone. 😉

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to George, Bob, Rich and all the staff of the Strombo Show. Thanks for all your hard work and may you have an amazing 2011!

Bob’s Garage

Picture them in their bell bottomed pants and desert boots … their mop-topped hair surrounding their baby faces.  Usually four of them, sporting matching jackets and ties, and bobbing up and down to their simple beats, simple bass lines, simple chord progressions and mostly simple lyrics.  The second wave saw them sporting their paisley Nehru jackets, their ruffled shirts and their little square granny glasses, but their music  shared the same raw simplicity.  Ah … The Garage Bands.

You wanted to rebel against your parents?  Then join a garage band.  My older brother did.  Shadows on the Wall they were known as, unfortunately the shadows faded quickly as they were lacking in some form of .. well .. talent.  Raw simple chords fed through a fuzzbox, garage rock is now considered the forerunner of punk music.

Bob introduced a few of the more popular garage rock bands of the 60s, including the Beau Brummels and the Hombres.  Other tunes of note of the era include Louie Louie (the Kingsmen),  Wooly Bully (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs). I have listed for you some of my favourite garage rock tunes for your listening pleasure.

Though this song was not made famous by the Sonics, their cover is well worth a listen.

Though the garage band is still a part of growing up, the days of the early garage rock bands are gone. Their influence on the many bands that followed, however, cannot be denied. So sit back, turn it up .. and enjoy.

My Blood Runs Cold

Okay Mr Terfry – you win. You were right. Your choice for scariest Hallowe’en song chilled me to the bone. Was it the pulsing drum beat? The ear-piercing shrieks? The unspeakable acts committed by Frankie Teardrop? The sinister character who weaves in and out of the darkness (in the video that like a bad car crash I had to go watch!)? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I am scarred for life.
You can watch Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop” here.

There are only a handful of songs that have managed to do this to me. “Careful with that Axe Eugene”, an early Pink Floyd masterpiece, also manages to make your heart race. The song title is the only words spoken out loud, another small handful being whispered during the 9 minute song. This tune uses its tempo to build to an exploding crescendo which is accompanied with an ear piercing shriek. We can only imagine what happens to poor Eugene. If you aren’t familiar with this classic, someone has dared to set it to a scene in the movie “The Shining”. This film doesn’t need any help.

I would also like to add another two songs to this list. It is not so much the music that frightens, but the fact that both songs are based on two of history most horrifying killers, Armin Meiwes and Ed Gein.

Rammstein’s Mein Teil is based on the story of Germany’s Armin Meiwes. Armin posted a classified ad on the internet looking for a willing victim to be killed and eaten. Even more shocking, his ad was responded to by Bernd Jürgen Brandes. I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but Armin was convicted of manslaughter, for which he received a sentence of a mere 8 years.

Mudvayne’s “Nothing to Gein”  is based on the story of Ed Gein, the American serial killer notorious for transforming body parts of his victims into a variety of household items. Officers who were dispatched to Gein’s house were forever changed.   A scene in the video portrays Ed sewing with what  is supposedly human skin.  Enough said.

There are certainly more songs out there that will make one’s blood run cold.  What are yours?

Don’t Forget the Lyrics!

It’s been a long and rainy Sunday so listening to tonight’s episode of the Strombo Show curled up in my big chair seems even more cozy than usual.  The weekend’s gone by too fast as always and the work week lurks around the corner – UGH!   At least we have Battle of the Blades and the Strombo Show to look forward to on Sunday nights!

Songwriters write songs to convey a message to their listeners, the melody tagging along to set the mood and the tone.  The true masters  are those that can marry the two.  How many times have we listened mindlessly to a song without really listening to the lyrics?  Yet when we finally take the time to listen to the lyrics, we are blown away. Try it sometime – you might be amazed at what you hear.

Bob Mackowycz and George put forward a list of their favourite songwriters.  Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Gil Scott Heron and of course Bob Dylan.  I have a few names that I would like to add to this list however.  Here they are in random order:

1.  Neil Young

2.  Eddie Vedder

3.  Eminem

4.  John Lennon

5.  Lauryn Hill

6.  Morrissey

7.  Gord Downie

8.  Roger Watters

9.  Patti Smyth

10.  Chrissy Hynde

Agree?  Disagree?  What are your thoughts?  I’m sure you can add to this list.


If you missed the show tonight, here is a list of the G12 as well as links to the artists’ MySpace pages if you would like to hear the songs.

12.  Duck Sauce – Barbara Streisand

11. Chromeo – Don’t Turn the Lights On

10. Chk Chk Chk (!!!) – AM FM

9.  Local Natives – White Eyes

8.  Deerhunter –Revival

7.  Tired Pony – Dead American Writers

6.  Fistful of Mercy – Father’s Son

5.  War Paint – Undertow

4.  Small Sins – Déjà Vu

3.  Unkle – The Answer

2.  Black Mountain – The Space in Your Mind

1.  Arcade Fire – Modern Man

Well .. off to have a listen to the album side and the Big Lie-Down.  This week – Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. Ninites!  🙂



His Master’s Voice

The black vinyl disc spun round and round, the single groove spiraling inwards at 33 and 1/3 rotations per minute, the groove leading the needle to its final destination, the label.  On this label sat the puppy, the overgrown puppy who could never again enter his house, but listened instead through the giant cone shaped tower on the roof.  He listened sadly to “His Master’s Voice”.

This is one of my earliest recollections of my passion for music.  My sister had been given a record player for her fifteenth birthday – it was the best gift ever – maybe not to her, but to me it was.  I spent more time spinning vinyl than both my sister and brother combined.  The Beatles, the Supremes, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, not exactly what you would expect a seven year old to be listening to.  At that point I was hooked and there was no turning back.

Many years later, that passion for music still burns.  I know now that the dog was just an advertising idea – looking into the speaker of an old record player, the recording of his master’s voice was so clear that even he couldn’t tell the difference.   Now I tune in weekly to the Strombo Show to help feed this passion.  It is the perfect mix of “the new, the old and the in the middle” as George once said.  Discovering some of the best new bands, savouring the old classics, and being entertained by a vast array of musical guests and interesting discussion.  All of that is delivered in four hours of radio.  Now that fall is finally here I look forward to a brand new season.  I can’t wait!

I am honoured to be a contributor to this site and look forward to sharing the passion of music with all of you!


I would love to hear what were some of the influences in your life that sparked your love of music.  Anyone?

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

***I have to admit to a bit of a faux pas here as I wrote this after episode one and unfortunately forgot to hit publish.  Apologies to you and to my editor.  चुम्बन Cordie ***

A quick note on my impression of the new season, and as usual I think it’s a mixed bag of great, and we’ll just have to get used to its! 

I found the opening to the new version of the show a little weak; too little Sloan to rev it up and get us going.  I also miss George chatting more to get the conversational feel to the show in tune.  Even the audience seemed low key!  I am hoping that George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight does not lose that conversational let’s slide out of this day and into comfort with an edge feel that we are all so used to.

The desk idea at this point is only okay in my books, but we’ll eventually get used to seeing him stand again as he did on Much and seeing less of the laid back George draped over the chair chatting.  Speaking of the red chairs, they are still there 🙂 They add an accent of energy to the new cosy set that is warm and den like with its blue hues and dimmer lighting.  Gone is the black, white and red set that emitted movement and energy and in its place is the warmth of the blue and wood tones.  Congratulations to ex Strombo Show sidekick and Gemini nominated Moneen Producer Alex Liu on the design of the new set.

Act one of the show still held a good balance of cynical, humorous look at the world in politics, sports, global events, and the environment.  I must admit to being a little curious as to what George was going to do with my favourite bit of the show; Mile-A-Minute.  I like the new title ‘de-briefing’, although I cringe at what the stalker like 40-ish going on pre-pubescent troll-women will do with that term 😦

He has left himself open to more than a few jokes when it comes to titles though already.  The title of the show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (GST) is both an homage to his ego/pride and part of a smart new marketing package.  Strombo is the brand, George Stroumboulopoulos is the man that IS that brand.  Now with a new 30 minute show named after him and a radio show named after the brand, the name is out there even more than before.  The decreased air time also means people that want more George/Strombo content will be forced to go online to find it and with any spare moment that might be freed up producing 5 1/2 hour shows as compared to 4 full hour ones, can now be put into his writing, producing and racing; a nice way to pave the new path in his career.  🙂

I found little changed in the rest of the show.  The interviews had the usual bio, once again being voiced over by George himself (thankfully) and the usual bits of the guests past, motivations to do what you do, extra curricular causes and what’s happening now and ahead; a well rounded interview style that George is well known for.



New season, new look, new name.. same old host!

Welcome back boys and girls!  Even though it’s been far too long since any of us have posted we’re still here.   Nice to see you again and we promise we’ll be around more this season. 

The new season is a whole week old now and if you’ve caught any of it you know there’s been some big changes. First up the name – The Hour  is no more.  The show is now called George Stroumboulopoulos TonightI haven’t made up my mind how I feel about this particular change.  I kind of liked the short and sweet (and much easier to spell) old name.  I sort of always knew though that eventually it would morph into something different. Over the past few seasons there have been many shifts and changes – some more subtle than others – that would suggest a more “all about George” approach was coming. As his career flourishes it only makes sense for the show to be more firmly identified as his.  There’s no arguing that no matter what they chose to call it the show simple would not be the same without him.

And on that note I’ll leave off for now. I believe my esteemed colleague Ms. Cordelia will be sharing her thoughts on the changes. Speaking of colleagues – you’ll soon be meeting our newest member Ms. Olivia. She’ll be coming on board as among other things our resident musicologist.  Please join me in welcoming her!!

Enjoy and please let us know your thoughts on the new changes!

New Season, New Changes and New Year

The first half of this season is neatly in the can and although I love the show, I do not like all of the changes this season.  I am not sure if it is due to some staffing changes in the writing department, or that the show needs to stretch out of some season six growing pains.  Either way I’ve been a die-hard fan since day one, but something seems out of sorts for me this season.

Most notably irking me is the writer(s) reading out the bios.  I know George maintains that The Hour’s a success due to the team effort that goes into it, but the name of the show is, ‘ The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos’.  The audience expects to see and hear; the host.  How often have we all heard him say that the show is a late night conversation to ease us out of our day?  The bio was George’s time to introduce his guest to us.  As if we are sitting and sharing in that chat.  George turns to us, the audience, and says, This is so-and-so and here are some facts about him/her before we get started.  It was a successful technique in helping us to get to know the other person in that conversation.  With the writers chiming in, it somehow seems incongruent with the flow between George, his guest(s) and us.  Like someone jumping in to interrupt and then disappearing again.  It is awkward and it does not work.

Another miss, in my books, are the comedic skits that replaced the cold opens.  I know that humour is a subjective thing and that what I may find funny isn’t necessarily what you will, but this seasons skits are just not hitting my funny bone, at all.  Indeed I am finding some of them just plain awkward.

I personally DO like the absence of “The News” that used to consist of Celeb factoids at the end of the show.  I am interested in the private lives of people I actually know and care about, not in the rumour and speculation of those I’ll never meet or befriend.  I am interested, or not as the case maybe, in their creative endeavours, full stop.  I never thought that segment really fit in with the uber hip “people are interesting and celebs are just people too” attitude of The Hour.

I am relieved that the Mile-a-Minute is still in the mix as is The Good News segment.  Although I do wish it was on more than once a week.  Then again that could be a production/marketing decision or it could, sadly, be a sign of the times.  I am enjoying the once a week email bit, George on his own, adlibbing with the email is charming and at times hilarious.

The new walk in intro to the show started off a bit choppy but our host seems to be easing into it in typical G fashion, making it his own and making it work.  The addition of live performances and Tomorrows Headline Today as a closer is rather enjoyable; some of them being wittier than others.

The new blue lights in studio give the set a new warmer sultry glow, but I’m not convinced they suit the tag line, “Welcome to your talk show Canada!”  Not that that line is being used much these days now that The Hour is being syndicated to other countries.

Much congrats on that BTW!  The fact that a made in Canada, for Canadians show is now being enjoyed by people globally warms my red and white maple syrup filled heart 🙂  They get to know what a treasure we have in both George and the team at The Hour and we get to keep them, for a little while longer.



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