Friday, April 22, 2005

Four hours with George Stroumboulopoulos

Warning: The following contains scenes of nudity, sexuality and coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.

No, I’m kidding. Honestly, the following post is so free of sin it would make the Pope proud.

I’ve just spent four hours with (okay, in the general proximity of) George Stroumboulopoulos, who has been in Vancouver all week taping The Hour. I scored tickets to tonight’s show and invited my friend Annelle to come with me. But first I made her promise to not look better than I did and make a point of flashing her wedding ring if we got the chance to meet George.

When we arrived at the theatre, it was as if we had stumbled into a casting call for Canada’s Next Top Model. The competition was fierce. There were gorgeous, young girls everywhere. Dammit! Don’t these chicks know that George is the thinking woman’s pin-up boy? Why can’t they lust after Ben Mulroney?

The theatre was almost full and we picked seats about four rows up from the front on the left side. George and the production crew were glued to the TV sets flanking the stage. It was just after 4 p.m. and the prime minister was live on Newsworld addressing the nation.

As soon as Martin’s speech was over, there was a lot of running back and forth by people wearing headsets and carrying sheets of paper. They would run over to George and say something while he bent his head and listened. The room was crackling with excitement and energy.

Then George made an announcement of his own.

"Hey everyone. We’re going to do things a little differently today. Before we do the show, Newsworld wants to break in live in about 15 minutes from now to get some reaction from you guys on what the prime minister just said. So who here has something to say?"

One guy raised his hand and said he wanted to say something about how Martin didn’t speak French. A girl raised her hand and said she wanted to say something about how we need more government accountability. No one else spoke.

George seemed a little frazzled. "Anyone? Anyone? C’mon, I know you guys have strong opinions."

Before I knew what was happening or what I was doing, my arm shot up in the air and I blurted out, "I’ll do it!"

"Okay, cool," George said. "What do you want to say?"

I told him I wanted to say that this whole thing was ridiculous. That the prime minister should have made this announcement in the House of Commons. That this is a Liberal crisis, not a national crisis. If Paul Martin wants to get an unfiltered message out he can buy an ad.

What was I thinking? I’m still cringing about what happened when the cameras started rolling. I haven’t seen the footage and I don’t ever want to see it. It’s too horrifying.

At 4:30 p.m., George faced the camera as Newsworld went live to Vancouver for reaction. He ran up and down the aisles and posed questions to those who volunteered to comment. Somehow he remembered what every single person wanted to say and framed his questions based on the answers we had given him earlier.

As he made his way over to me, I was getting more and more nervous. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t remember what I was going to say. Suddenly, George was looming above me and a camera was thrust in my face. He asked me a question and I started talking into the camera. Then I remembered you’re supposed to look at the person interviewing you, not the camera. But I had to crane my neck to see George.

I butchered my answer. I spoke too quickly. I was too nervous. I was too distracted by his dimples and beautiful, dark brown eyes. I tried to repeat what I had said earlier but it came out all wrong. And then he asked me a follow-up question. A follow-up question! Shit shit shit! It was a hard question, something about the opposition. I don’t even want to remember what I said. It’s too mortifying to think about.

And then he moved on to the next person. I was left sitting there feeling like I had been dropped from the eye of a tornado. I had just made the worst possible first impression on George and, oh yeah, millions of other people too. Idiot!

After the show, the audience was invited to hang out in the lobby to schmooze with George and get their pictures taken with him.

As soon as he walked in the room, he was swarmed by a gaggle of girls. He was very gracious and chatted with them as they giggled and fluffed their hair. I inched closer and closer to their circle but before I could introduce myself a pushy woman elbowed her way in and thrust her teenage daughter in front of George.

She then demanded to know where the coolest place in Vancouver was. George seemed a little confused by her question but told her he liked Zulu Records. She pulled out a pen and paper and asked how to spell it.

"What street is it on? Robson Street?" she asked. This was it! This was my entry!

"It’s on West 4th," I said. George turned to look at me and as soon as he made eye contact, I put my hand on his forearm and introduced myself.

"Hey, George. I just want to say thanks for the tickets. I’m Sarah? From the David Suzuki Foundation?"

"Hi," he said warmly. He then turned his back on the pushy mom and her teenage daughter and the four hot chicks. We talked for a little while. He ordered a .5 beer ("I don’t drink"). He talked about hockey and how he just learned to skate. I told him he should take up swimming. He told me he read my blog the other day but neglected to mention whether that was a good or bad thing.

My mind flashed to all the gushing posts I had written about him and I felt exposed and embarrassed. Shit shit shit!

The conversation ended almost as quickly as it began when a loud woman with a group of teenagers from the YMCA pulled him onto the patio for a group photo.

"You’re not in a rush to go anywhere are you?" he asked me. "Don’t go anywhere. I mean it. I’ll be back."

As George worked the room, I met Kathryn for the first time. I started reading her blog after she left a few comments on mine. She confessed that she found my blog by googling George’s name. She somehow picked me out of the crowd when I was making an ass of myself on national television earlier. She’s officially the first internet friend I have met in person and it was a lot of fun speaking face to face.

After about 45 minutes, I was getting tired of waiting around, watching beautiful girls flirt with George. Someone from CBC was taking Polaroid pictures of George and his fans so I marched over to where he was standing and said, "Can I get one of those?"

He laughed and we chatted a bit more. He asked if I was freaked out by his phone call. I told him to call any time he wanted. We talked about cars and David Suzuki and work and stuff. He was funny and charming and down-to-earth.

We posed for a quick picture. Afterwards he asked if I ever came out to Toronto. I told I was actually from Toronto and that my parents still lived there. I also mentioned that I’d be there for almost two weeks next month.

"Well give me a call when you’re in town," he said. "We don’t have a studio audience in Toronto but you can come down and hang out."

What I wanted to say, but didn’t, was "Why wait until Toronto? What about tonight?" But I chickened out. Besides, it was pushing 7:30 at this point and he was on his way out the door. I thanked him again and wished him well.

On the drive home, Annelle and I were both giddy. "That was so exciting!" she said.

In summary:
1. George is even more gorgeous in person.
2. That McBain guy who reads the emails on the show is really short. He looks tall on camera but is quite small in real life. George, who looks short on camera, isn’t short at all.
3. George needs tighter jeans. His baggy jeans do not flatter his ass.
4. George has a razor sharp wit. He is charismatic, charming and genuinely nice.
5. George makes his job look easy. It’s not. It’s bloody hard work to think on your feet and come off sounding smart at the same time. I’m impressed. And smitten.


Anonymous said...

What a week for you. I really should start reading your blog daily.

I just saw you on the late rerun of the show in one of the audience shots! From the sounds of it, we'll be reading about George & Sarah's Excellent Adventures in a couple of weeks. Congratulations! As for chickening out, take a cue from show business: Always leave them wanting more. -K

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah,
Did you tape the show? If so, bring it with you when you come to Toronto. I want to watch it!
p.s. thanks for the letter

Marni said...


Anonymous said...

sounds like he's smitten with you too! ;) Congratulations!! Keep us posted on the continuation of the romance and sparks in Toronto...!!!

Callie said...

Very cool! You know, I can't imagine after reading your blog that GS would be anything other than flattered. And in regards to sounding like a dork on TV, I'm sure what you said to him the first time sounded intelligent and informed. The nervous camera reaction probably didn't record in his mind.

Just think of what a funny and interesting story it would be for your kids! haha.

thestraightpoop said...

Sarah, you had me on the edge of my seat. I laughed, I cried (well okay, I didn't cry) but I certainly pictured you, like I know you, all nervous and flustered. I am sure, adorable as always.

Thank you for sharing - this is about as exciting as my (romantic) life gets these days!!

Congrats on making your television debut. I am sorry to say, I missed it so if you have a taped copy, please let me know!


Kathryn said...

You didn't butcher your answer nor did you sound nervous (and you looked great).

It was tres fun and I am still periodically grinning and giggling to myself.


Kathryn said...

oh, and Karen and I agree with you about the jeans

Sarah said...

Ah, it was fun while it lasted. Now back to reality. Fighting over the washer and dryer. Lugging groceries home. Renting movies.

George was super nice and it was pretty impressive that he took the time to talk to everyone when he must have been exhausted. A total professional.

I recorded the show but I haven't watched it yet. Thankfully I didn't know I'd be on Newsworld beforehand so I didn't record that and I'll never have to see it. Next time I see a camera, I will run.


Sarah said...

Oh and for the record, there is no romance :) He has a girlfriend!!!

Besides, I don't think I could handle being the girlfriend of someone like him. I like my men a little less physically attractive :)

I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who has girls falling all over him. Too much work to keep him.


Anonymous said...

Who's George?

Bill Doskoch said...

"Oh and for the record, there is no romance"

Ahhh, but is George saying the same thing? :)

Maybe even as I'm writing this (2:15 a.m. EDT), his girlfriend has given him a sharp elbow in the ribs because he keeps softly moaning "Sarah, Sarah" in his sleep -- that is, if he can sleep. :^)

As to your point 5, I was once one guest of three on a Morningside panel with Peter Gzowski (way back when, obviously). After the segment was over, I thought to myself, "I just did the radio equivalent of skating with Gretzky!"

The great ones (no pun intended in Gretzky's case) make it look easy.

Who's Peter Gzowski? Who's Gretzky?, What's Morningside?, some of your faithful readers might ask?

To them, I would say, "that's why Google was invented, folks!"

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Sarah. You're a good writer. Could you post the picture that you had taken with George? That would be the cherry on the cake...
Take care.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bill Doskoch said...

Who's Peter Gzowski? Who's Gretzky?, What's Morningside?, some of your faithful readers might ask?

To them, I would say, "that's why Google was invented, folks!"

Bill: While you may be right that some readers might not know who these people are, going from the comments, it looks like most of the people who read this blog are Sarah's friends or family, are Canadian and are relatively young.

In a hockey-mad country, few people don't know who Wayne Gretzky is. Anyone over 20 years old knows that the late Peter Gzowski was considered the voice of CBC Radio, even if they didn't know the name of his show was Morningside.

If any of them don't know and they are really that curious about anything you write here, I guarantee that they know how to use Google better than you and they didn't need to be prompted.

Being young doesn't mean being ignorant or stupid and it doesn't mean that they have to put up with subtle condescension.

Bill Doskoch said...

Sorry you're offended, "anonymous", but if you're going to criticize someone by name, you should sign your own name to it.

I don't make anonymous posts, especially if I want to criticize someone. I sign my real name. I take responsibility for what I say.

My apologies to anyone who was genuinely offended.

But again, "anonymous", to say "I guarantee that they know how to use Google better than you" is showing some evidence of, at the very least, presumptuousness on your part.

To not clutter up this thread, if anyone else wants to blast me, my e-mail address is bill-dot-doskoch-at-sympatico-dot-ca.

Anonymous said...

Can we get back to the point of this blog?? We're supposed to be talking about Sarah and George's blossoming romance - you know, how things will progress on her trip to Toronto, the girlfriend issue, etc...

Please post a pic of your sensational time with George!

thestraightpoop said...

Sarah, LOOK at the controversy. You've "made it" as a blogger, I think. We're hanging on your every word, there's in-fighting, this is juicy, good stuff.

Sarah said...

Geez...I don't check my blog for a whole day and I come back to a controversy!

I don't think Bill was being condescending. Some of my readers are teenagers and I'll bet my 18-year-old sister doesn't know who Peter Gzowski was. Then again, I don't even really know who is reading this blog as it was primarily intended for friends and family back East (and out West) but there are a lot of people reading and I have no idea who they are, which is fun!

Let's not talk about the "romance" as there isn't one and if George reads this, I don't want him to think I'm some crazy obsessed stalker. Which, for the record, I'm not. I know you guys are just kidding ;)

I'll post the picture after work some time next week. I'm just glad no one saw me on Newsworld.


Wendy said...

After reading this entry days ago, one, tiny aspect stuck in mind:

He ordered a .5 beer ("I don’t drink").

I'm assuming the "I don't drink." was something George said.

I can readily remember, on several occasions during The Hour, when George has made references to getting drunk. One time, he was talking about watching basketball during March Madness and said, by the second game, he was too wasted to enjoy the series.

If someone likes drinking, well, whatever. Not a big deal to me. The thing is, I keep reading everywhere how genuine and down to earth George is, yet these little things pop up to, kind of prove, maybe he's not so genuine. And this isn't the first contradiction I've come across.

Of course, if you were quoting yourself, then this comment is completely pointless. :)

Sarah said...


I certainly wasn't quoting myself! I drink. Just not very often.

I was quoting George when I wrote "I don't drink." Strange then that he would say he was wasted during March Madness. Are you sure? Maybe he was talking about his friends? Maybe he wasn't wasted on booze but on something else? I don't know. I don't think he would make a point of ordering a .5 beer and saying "I don't drink" if it wasn't true. But I don't even know the guy, so who knows?


Carrie said...

Sarah, Congratulations on not only meeting GS but being brave enough to speak on tv. I didn't want to waste time on the PM so I missed the whole thing. Even so, I'm sure you did great.

Regarding the questions about drinking - maybe GS used to drink but doesn't anymore or just not very much. A lot of people realize they're overdoing it and cut back. Or maybe he just doesn't have time for it with his schedule etc. so he limits himself. In any case, I don't think it's a big deal. GS doesn't strike me as stupid but rather as someone very in control of his life. Just my two cents here. :-)

Anonymous said...
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Lola said...

George's girlfriend knows that girls/women admire her man and have crushes on him! He's young, attractive and in the public eye - it's expected.

I'm sure if she she does come across this blog, she'll probably be flattered ;-)

Chocolate Girl said...

Sarah, I LOOOOVE your blog! I just noticed that you added some juicy tidbits to your George story...but please don't call yourself an idiot.

I simply can't wait to see your photo with George - please, please, please post it!

Sarah said...

I will post the picture of myself and George soon. By tomorrow night at the latest. I promise :)


Anonymous said...

Sarah Marchildon for Prez. Seriously. This girl has some serious cojones. George, baby - don't let this one get away!!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the photo of you and George - I'm sure there will be intense chemistry emanating from it. I'm sure he won't let Sarah and her cojones get away...he's probably counting the days and hours and minutes until he can see her again.