Bloody shitcakes! All the hype is true! George Stroumboulopoulos really is the most gracious, friendliest, and most sincerely nice guy you could ever hope to meet.
Eva and I met George last night after a lecture he gave at the library. He was classic George during the lecture - informed, intelligent, irreverent, funny as hell. The weird faux-beard-thingy is a protest to being locked out by the CBC.
Some of my favourite bits of the lecture:
- First question asked during the discussion period - my Eva!
- George: "Don't waste your time voting for the Marijuana Party, that's just what the Conservatives and Liberals want you to do to take the attention away from them. Why don't you start a "Lower My Fucking Tuition Fee Party" instead?"
- About George Bush - They used to say about Princess Di campaigning against landminds: "But who's in FAVOUR of landminds?" Well, now we know."
- The woman who blurted out "Get rid of taxes on tampons!" Which George handled very nicely, by saying "If quoted on this I will deny it, but if you have a dad or an uncle or a grandfather who owns a company which does not pay women equitably, stop talking to them. Just don't talk to them anymore and pretty soon, when their baby won't talk to them anymore, they will change that."
- That strange woman directly behind us who kept calling George out on doing something about changing the maximum decibels on ipods. "So what are you going to do about it?" George was gracious, but the rest of us rolled our eyes and smirked.
The lecture was supposed to run 1 1/2 hours, but lasted more than 3. As you can imagine there was a tonne of interactive discussion about everything from US foreign policy to Madonna (maybe too much Madonna, but Cynthia seemed to have a thing for her - and would not SHUT UP).
Afterward, about 40-50 of us stayed to meet the lad. This is where George really shone. He took the time to meet and speak personally to everyone, take "this is me" pictures, sign autographs etc. I heard him ask a number of kids wearing rock shirts "what's your shirt say?" and then talk about the band.
And the whole time, he's telling stories and looking around, making eye contact, engaging everyone in the vicinity in the moment.
And about those famous eyes. When George looks into your eyes, you had better know how to dog-paddle or you could very easily drown in those big browns.
Anyhoooo, Eva and I had a spirited chat with George. He was horrified to know that there was a documentary about Joe Strummer's last tour that he, not only had not seen, but had never heard of (and we had seen it the year before). George, of course, is a big Joe Strummer/Clash fan and told a funny story about interviewing him, and feeling like a 12-year-old at the time because he was trying to think four questions ahead the whole time, figuring out how to get Joe to say lyrics from some Clash songs. "How do I get him to say 'Clampdown'? How do I get him to say 'I live by the river'?"
George was extremely gracious to us, was a totally active listener, and seemed genuinely interested in hearing what everyone had to say. He is one of those rare people who asks a question and really wants to hear the answer. I think that's one of the reasons he is so successful in what he does. I realise he was being paid for the lecture, but he seemed be really enjoying himself and to be completely in the moment. Most people don't have that gift.
- George has a really large head.
- George is really warm. I don't mean George is HOT, although he is, and I don't mean that he is affectionate and friendly, although he definitely is. I mean he is WARM. Physically. But not in a sweaty way. No no, not at all. But when George put his arm around me and snuggled in for the "this is me" photo, it felt just like I was snuggling up with my cat after she just spent two hours lying in a sunny patch on the living room carpet. Very toasty and comforting. George must have an outrageously high metabolic rate. Maybe that's what allows him to put in those 20-hour days.