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.



Cordelia Shipley

Cordelia Shipley is the newest contributor to The Red Chair Lounge.  Cordie likes sitting on a rocky ledge on a windy day, literature and music from most genres, has a word fetish and a thing for red wine and dark chocolate.  She also has an insatiable thirst for learning and will not graduate from the University of Life until they drag her wrinkled, tattooed, bohemian ass out of this world, kicking and screaming the whole way.  She has a passion for the colour red, art, music, travel, politics, the environment and The Hour and thus she has landed here!

music to drive by …

In order to put my music where my mouth is, or should I say, to follow up my words with more words, hee hee hee, I have one more thing to share tonight.  I want to comment on a question that Mr. Robert Frances Mackowycz J.R. posed to us all on the November 22, 2009 Strombo Show.  What music do you like to drive to?

Now, I learned to drive when I was 13 years old, even if I didn’t get any sort of license until I was 18.  Yes, I realize I am admitting to a technical crime here but I’m sure there is a statute of limitations on that sort of thing.  I have also driven in all sorts of terrain, in different vehicles, weather and moods and I have to tell ya Bob, the answer to that question is a never ending play list. 

Think of the variables in your mood, the weather, the type of vehicle; not to mention whether or not you have passengers, rush hour traffic or an open road and so on.  Do you, dear readers like to listen to the same song day in and day out whilst showering, driving, making love, jogging, etc?

Driving through the Rockies the echo of a truly beautiful piece of classical music can magnify that I am small and insignificant feeling; just as easily as it can allow you to feel part of the grandeur of all that you are passing through.  How? Simply by the fact that the music passes from the stereo, through you and then reverberates off the mountains back into you.  It’s truly a moving thing on more than one level.  The physicality of the vibrations coupled with the emotional and visual panorama just *sigh*.

On the prairies and through desert, however, I NEED something loud with anger or edge to it blended in with more soothing sounds.  Something to literally and figuratively drive away the frustration levels that mount for me in those areas where you have been for hours and feel as if you’ve not moved an inch in the landscape, coupled with comforting sounds that soothe and allow me to relax to enjoy the subtle changes in the scenery.  That’s when I break out The Hip   and Space Hogs and mix them up with Rob Zombie.  I suspect you get the drift.

Now since you, Mr. Mackowycz, have informed us that there is a Bob III (or Roberta) on the way, I would say stock up on BNL and Moxy Fruvous.  Young children love to sing along to those songs.  I’ve personally spent hours in a car keeping the children amused with the live versions of King of Spain.  The line, “the king a former cone head’, is especially amusing to young boys.  I’ve also had success with The Clash The Ramones and the like.  Then again I’ve also had to endure some Hannah Montana and other less digestable music nuggets.  Be prepared to have your ears assaulted by all sorts of horrid things mislabelled as music and learn to accept that it’s better than the alternative.  A screaming, crying child, grape juice flying through the air and onto your car’s interior, and a headache bigger than the Grand Canyon.  OH!  I would not recommend you attempt to actually play your trumpet whilst driving, but perhaps a CD or two from back in the day 😉

Finally, Bob, The Blues.  There is no wrong time, place, or mood.  They just fit; in rush hour, bad weather, starting a great day or ending a horrific one!  ALWAYS have some on hand and belt ’em out as you fight rush hour traffic. 

And you our red chair friends … what music do you listen to whilst in transit?  What do you belt out, windows up or down, fellow drivers be damned?  We don’t just listen to our music whilst we drive …  we sing it, breathe it, be it 😉

Cordie xox

Dear Atticus and fellow Redchair enthusiasts …

Dear Atticus and readers:

We have been naughty posters haven’t we? Let’s get back into the habit of voicing our opinion on our fave red chair interests, extending that to the basement studio now too I see.  I would like to second my hurrah at the return of our beloved Bob to the air waves, and not just to the newest incarnation of The Strombo Show, but to his own morning show as well.  (hope the link works folks!!!)

There is nothing better than Bob’s soothing voice in the nasty early morning hours especially on a cold, windy, winter’s morn. Now we can all fall asleep to George and Bob on a Sunday evening and keep that musical manwich going during the week; crawling into bed with The Hour and waking up with CBC’s Radio 2 morning drive; not a bad deal in my book.

The one thing I must admit I am missing is the banter between Alex Liu and George. Although I am not sure those antics would translate to this seemingly more mature version of The Strombo Show I do still miss Alex. He made me laugh and raised George’s blood pressure (and octave level of his voice on occasion) just enough to keep things fun.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this new show evolves, and I am hoping that The Strombo Show has found a more permanent home.

The Strombo Show returns to the airwaves tonight!

We’ve been very bad bloggers and haven’t been keeping up with our posting duties.  Tsk Tsk!  

Season 6 of  The Hour is well under way.  There have been quite a few changes to the format of the show this year – some great – some not so much. We’ll get into that later. 

Make sure to check out CBC Radio 2 tonight at 8pm. The Strombo Show debuts right after Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap – does it get any better than that?  Listen tonight for segments like – Ten With Tom (a  Tom Waits song at 10pm) and the much-anticipated, eagerly awaited return of non other than Mr. Bob Mackowycz Jr!

Totally off topic – Remembrance Day is coming up. Buy your poppy. Wear it.  Honour our soldiers – past and present by taking a few minutes to think about them.  Thank them for their work. I know I certainly couldn’t do what they do/have done.  The men and women of the Armed Forces deserve far more than they get.  This song may not musically be your thing but the lyrics pretty much say it all – A Pittance of Time.

Let us know what you think about Season 6 and the new Strombo Show hopefully we’ll be back soon with observations of our own.

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