The Man Behind the Punk:
Interview with George Stroumboulopoulos...
- Don't trip.
- Try not to smile too often, as you've been told you have a goofy smile.
- Don't be sarcastic. As your lovely sister pointed out, you have a habit of doing that, and it can get annoying.
These are the guidelines I set out for myself as I prepared to do the George interview. I'm not usually self-conscious, but I was literally a bundle of nerves before the interview, and for many reasons. George is someone I have admired for a long time, especially for his work on "The New Music." Unfortunately, I was only able to fulfill one of the guidelines from my list.
As the days passed and I spoke to more people about the upcoming interview, I received a mixed bag of opinions on the Much Music VJ. Good or bad, I realized, everyone has an opinion about him. And that's the beauty of George. The person he is on camera is the person he is off-camera. It's kind of like a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and you just know that George doesn't really care either way. I think that's the most attractive thing about him.
The first thing you notice about George, besides his bedroom eyes and the permanent circles under them, is his enthusiasm, and how affecting it can be. Maybe enthusiasm is the wrong word; with George, it's just too hard to sum him up with one word. It's even harder to try to set up an interview with the popular MuchMusic VJ, who kindly rescheduled the meeting with me after being booked for our original time.
After 45 minutes of waiting, George finally makes his grand entrance into the 102.1 Edge Studios in downtown Toronto. He pulls up in his motorcycle and parks it inside. He's like the bad boy your mother never let you date in high school, the kind of man that makes girls swoon, if girls were to still swoon nowadays. After apologizing profusely for his tardiness, we begin the interview, but are soon interrupted when he has to start his radio broadcast.
Watching George work is invigorating. If you didn't know any better, you might think he has ADD. He's literally bouncing around the room, programming songs, chatting up the various groups of people milling around, and occasionally playing the air drums. I notice the way he electrifies the room. His presence is known, and somehow it is comforting. Later, though, the 17-hour workday will catch up to him, but I suspect that these are the kinds of days he thrives on.
As we wrap up the interview, I realize that no matter how many people I may end up interviewing, George is probably going to be the only one that will stay with me for a long time. I guess he just has that effect on you.
[ George on music, George on Much, George on being naked. ]