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Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to the Stroumboulopouli!

Happy birthday Stroumboulopouli!
You are two now? My goodness, how you have changed!
The first two pictures are from the set of the season finale of The Hour {season two}, mid June 2006. The other one is of George and Janna when he was visiting Calgary a year later.
I want to share my personal perspective about this blog with you.
Why did I help start a blog about The Hour in the first place?
Life is a short journey. You may not have time to examine all the entertainment highlights, news events or politics that happen in the world as you speed through your week. It goes by in a snap or an HOUR
In December 2005, I was thirsty for the Canadian perspective and switched from watching CNN for ‘world’ news to watching Newsworld, which was back better than ever from that strike that turned us to CNN in the first place… So it was then that I first noticed The Hour.
The Hour is described as a factual entertainment show. To me it’s much more than that. When a Canadian program explores issues, music, arts, politics, great ideas with so much humour and charm it wakes you up to what is out there and what you are missing by not paying attention.

In January 2006 I started a blog just to explore what blogging was and to work through my personal grief about loosing my boyfriend to lung cancer… It had been a year and a half since his death and I needed to try to move ahead with my life. I was looking for a focus.
In my personal blog I wrote about a lot of things, and I would occasionally touch upon some topics The Hour had featured and, through The Hour own website’s ‘blogtracker’, I found other bloggers that blogged about The Hour on occasion as well.

We became a small but growing community of fans that were linked by The Hour. With blessings from The Hour a group of us started the Stroumboulopouli on May 30 th 2006.

The name Stroumboulopouli is the plural of Georges last name, and
should you wish to know it's created source, the credit goes to "Jeremy at The Hour and Deana at Sunday".
Incidentally, did you know about this spelling rule for George's name: "U after O, except after L." It's like "I before E, except after C," but better....
The Hour was in season two and was experimental in style and form. It appealed to the bloggers that like to discover the indi groups before anyone else had. It appealed to all ages. It appealed to women and men, but only women seemed to want to join the blog (so far).
When I first started watching, George used to start the show with “Hi, I am your buddy George and this is The Hour.” That invite made the show sweetly personal. Not sure why he changed it to “Your Boyfriend George”. Should I ask him? Maybe that's why women are more comfortable expressing their regard...

In seasons one and two, the show was live, and writing an email to The Hour at the beginning of the show could get your email read on air before the show ended. It was like watching an amazing performance in a small club where you can shout out a song request when you know the artist should be playing stadiums. He is singing to you now but you want him to have that success that will sadly reduce that interactive personal element so more people can be reached. Well, less live and interactive coast to coast, with the exception of the now live studio audience.

Going to a taping can be a more personal experience. If you are Toronto when the show is taping or can be there when it's on the road by all means book a seat or two. Or like many people do, have a conversation with George when he is talking to you from the other side of that glass. (I do not!)
Another show we feature on this blog is a Strombo production and worthy of frequent mention. The Strombo Show is a radio show George and Bob Mackowycz Jr. host. The radio show tries to bring back that live interactive element that can no longer be offered on The Hour. It's where you can still shout out those requests. I think George needs that as much as the audience does...
The original members of The Stroumboulopouli were Barbara B, Jas, Alana, Allison, Becky Evelyne and myself (Barbara W.) With schedules changing, school, work and life getting in the way plus disappointment from some that The Hour had become mainstream and was no longer available in that smaller venue where it was so much more personal… people moved on. New bloggers came along, Heather, Angie, Brooksie but for various reasons could not stay.
Many times I find friends and new blog contributors through commenter on the blog or on George’s MySpace page. Tracy, Mich, Steph A., Janna and Jen make up the Stroumboulopouli now and have been helping me celebrate a wonderful show and two years that have gone by in a snap, or an Hour. I have many people to thank for contributing to this blog, the readers, the bloggers, former bloggers, guest contributers, friends, and family for understanding and sometimes sharing this obsession.

I also want to thank George Stroumboulopoulos and the crew and former crew of The Hour and the Strombo Show for making it personal. They inspired the path that lead me from standing still in Montreal to getting back into life and moving (literally to Toronto) but metaphorically forward. I have discovered and rediscovered friendships, music, comedy, movies, creative writing, photography, geography, books, ideas… not conceived by The Hour but for me, the spark was reborn there.