Why I Love CBC Radio 2 – Tom Allen

It took the death of another icon, Montserrat Caballé, to remind me I had this post in my “drafts folder”…

When did I write the “intro“?  25 July, 2017!  Sheesh.  Won’t bother chastising myself.  That said, I have not so much made a resolution as made a promise to myself to finish what I started.  An issue I have.  We Aries are fabulous at starting things, but finishing them?  Not so much.  And I know, I know, I am generalising because there are plenty out there who do finish what they start…

Without further ado, my main reason for loving CBC Radio 2 is the fabulous Tom Allen –  not the English comedian Tom Allen, who was born after I graduated high school (which I discovered while Googling) – but the Canadian broadcaster/musician/writer/storyteller/et al, Tom Allen, who was born just a few years before moi.  😉  I originally got to “know” him when he was hosted the morning classical program called “Music and Company”, way back in 1998, and which he continued to host until 2008, when the program changed to “Radio 2 Morning” for about a year.

Things moved and shifted big time at CBC Radio 2, morning people got moved to afternoon, afternoon people go moved to week-ends and I thought, that’s it, I won’t be tuning in…  Nope, nope and nope.  I found there were many things to enjoy.  Tom Allen was no longer the morning guy, but we could still catch him now on Shift, a perfect programme for him (probably designed by him 😉 where he shifts from classical to contemporary rock without you even noticing…

I mentioned in my intro post how much I enjoyed Tom’s stories and, in Googling him to find recordings and whatnot to share with you, (and having to sift between the other guy’s stuff), was reminded of so many other things.

Seriously, I had always enjoyed classical music but he has brought an extra oomph to it with his stories.  Here are three to entertain you…

 

I once tweeted to him, following some comparison between musicians like Metallica and Chopin, (not really, I can’t remember who he was comparing but it was just as far-fetched), that he was the Alton Brown of Music.  Cool thing?  He tweeted me back with a “That’s good, right?”  And I responded with a “He is to cooking what you are to music…”  The man is a seemingly endless fount of musical information.  From classical to heavy metal.  He blows me away pretty much every day.

He is a musician, a storyteller, an author, a producer, a musical host… oodles of talents that I shall have to explore further.

Thank you, Tom, for making classical music so very approachable and fun.  I love to tune in from 1 till 3:30 pm… It ain’t long enough, but I’ll take what I can get!!

Oh hell… one more 😉

 

Why I Love CBC Radio 2 – Intro

I have been macerating this post for months… more like years.  Okay, for so long that much of the programming has changed!  I decided I better do it now before there are more changes!

I started listening to Canada’s CBC Stereo, as it was called at the time, some time in the late eighties.  It was a mostly classical and jazz channel at that time.  And I originally mostly tuned in during my drives into and from work.  I had grown tired of the local rock station and the endless annoying banter between the two or three morning hosts and the never-ending commercials.  I have liked classical music since grade 6 when we went to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) to watch, listen and learn.  I still remember the conductor (I thought it was Charles Dutoit but after Googling and trying to find info on these afternoon educational classical experiences, I found out he didn’t become conductor until 1977 and I finished grade school in 1976 – talk about aging myself!)  At that time, I didn’t admit to liking it, of course!  Mind you, my sister and a few friends got violin lessons from one of the violinists from the MSO which I was refused to have.  Hmph!  My mother knew me well…

At this time, Tom Allen was the morning host of the aptly named Music and Company and I loved his little snippets of information about such and such a piece of music and will never forget one morning when he said:  “And after this short commercial, we’ll listen to Freddy Mercury.”  What?  Had he lost his mind?  This was classical time!  Of course it was the Barcelona Olympic theme song with Montserrat Caballé…

Then, of course, come 3:00 p.m. we had the entertaining, and sadly, late, Jürgen Gothe

who hosted the Disc Drive show.  As soon as I heard the opening music, I knew it was 3 o’clock!

His melodious voice and love of telling stories (often made up) of food, wine, music and cats (in no particular order) removed all the seriousness that classical music is “supposed” to be.  He would mix up Mozart with Garrison Keillor.  I’ll never forget when he played the “In and Out Cat Song”…

The late Bob Kerr‘s two-hour show Off the Record from 1-3 pm was mostly interesting because he wasn’t shy about playing whole symphonies and ballets – though at times, that was a bit much for me.  And forget Thursdays.  Thursdays were “Organ Thursdays”… I  was not a fan.  One tune, maybe a second… two hours?  Non merci!  No offense to the fans!  He  did, however, close his show with Pachelbel’s Canon, and that is always a good thing.

Times changed and so did CBC Stereo.   With the changes, came new hosts and programs and suddenly, I found myself listening to CBC Radio 2 from 6 am till midnight on week-days (ok, not ALL the time!)  Always in my car, so I’ve discovered other programs.

…to be continued…