Friday, June 6, 2008

Dishy Dogs and Cool Cats

Animals seem to like me. Feel free to insert your own joke, but it's true. Animals, even horses, like me. And this week, while I've been on the run in Toronto doing interviews, I've done a couple of set visits where I've met, respectively, the cuddliest cat and the most darling dog in showbiz – at least in this city.

Top dog is a fuzzy brown terrier called Harry, whose coat is groomed into a great mohawk, who hangs out with the gang from CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie. Dogs are smart, they know a soft touch when they see one and Harry's no exception. I love career firsts, and thanks to Harry, I can now say I remained (mostly) professional, conducting interviews with him draped across my lap. Sweet.

And the most charismatic cat ever is a big, mostly black feline called Panther, who should have has his own producer credit on Degrassi: The Next Generation. (Just kidding.) Panther, who weighs in at at least 18 pounds, is a love sponge, the kind of cat who acts like a dog, and even has the good sense to roll over and enjoy a good belly rub. And Panther has good manners. Thanks Panther for walking (following) me to the studio door to send me off so warmly.

These are the little moments that make a business trip tolerable, especially after one is idiotic enough to leave her wallet in a cab...Think Air Canada will waive its “ID required for boarding” proviso in an emergency? Me neither.

As for other cool cats, I spent yesterday visiting the set of The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos and checking out their smoothly run operation. Man, do they do a good job keeping things tight. I've visited other similarly run shows, only Craig Ferguson's late night crew matches this CBC team for keeping things fun, lively, organized and devoid of stinky show biz pretense. Maybe they could run Air Canada, instead of the computers that now operate the airline.

Strombo, as he's known elsewhere, Curious George as we call him on this site, yesterday interviewed guests comedy legend Bob Newhart and magazine legend Lewis Lapham (Harper's Magazine). If you watched, you'll know what I mean when I say that George can handle himself with heavyweights.

Part of what makes him a great interviewer is that he's able to shut up and listen...He doesn't inject himself into his guest's stories, or compete with them for the spotlight. He is, at the same time, both perfect audience member, and in-tune host. Which is why octogenarian legends like Lapham and Newhart know they're in good hands with him...or maybe they just like the piercings and his crazy-ass belt buckles. Who wouldn't?

Tonight's episode of The Hour features Curious George in an exclusive, hanging out in the studio with Chris Martin et al in advance of Coldplay's new release Vida La Vida.

The sound of this record is the sound of [my bandmates] taking back some of the glory,” Martin says, in an advance clip.

Rock band dynamics are the stuff of legend and awesome books and movies. To get some unrivalled insight into Coldplay's, check out The Hour tonight at 11 PM, CBC.

You can watch some of the fun with George and Chris Martin on the

show's you tube portal:-

(photo credit: Darby Wheeler/Ben Aylsworth, 2008)

post script: To the wondrous human being who found and returned my wallet....THANK YOU!!!

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