Metro School Spirit
When asked about his most coveted achievement, CBC television and radio personality, Jian Ghomeshi, earnestly says, “having children.” Then laughs and corrects himself, “no, I’m just kidding, I don’t have any children.”
The witty and affable Ghomeshi seems to always have quirky comebacks, but he can also be anecdotal and insightful. Ghomeshi just wrapped up his summer stint on Sounds Like Canada on CBC Radio One last Friday, where he not only discussed James Joyce’s Ulysses and dished out the song of the day, but also had candid conversations with influential artists, writers, politicians, commentators and people in the news.
“What I loved about it was the confluence of two things — one, getting to chat with interesting and important people who are in our society, the second thing is that I was given the freedom to try some new ideas and do some adventurous stuff.”
Ghomeshi has a long-running relationship with the national broadcaster. He hosted the Gemini award-winning program >Play, which in 2002 began as a one-hour arts and culture magazine/ talk show on CBC Newsworld, and has evolved into critically acclaimed specials, such as Screw The Vote, which exposed the voting habits of Canadian youth. More recently, >Play segments are on the prime-time program, The Hour. Ghomeshi was also host of the popular CBC Radio series, 50 Tracks — a list of the 50 greatest songs of all time — and The National Playlist.
Ghomeshi is also an acclaimed musician, once a member of the folk-rock band Moxy Früvous, which is now on hiatus. He has also produced recordings for artists like Dar Williams and Martina Sorbara.
“The most important thing to me is allowing myself to not be defined by just one side of me, one facet of my interest, and one area of who I am and what I do,” he says. “I actually believe that it was in part my university years that allowed me to feel OK about being a renaissance kind of person.”
With a political science and history degree from York University, Ghomeshi draws upon his education every day, whether it is interviewing someone about the situation in Lebanon or writing a satirical piece on Canadian politics. “Don’t undervalue taking courses and focusing on areas of study that you’re interested in, because they will always come back to you,” he says.
“That sounds like a cliché, but there are so many people who do post-secondary education because they believe it has to be a direct stepping-stone to a career; it can be that ... (but) don’t underestimate the value of simply getting an education in the areas you’re interested in.”
At university, Ghomeshi was active on and off campus. He was the president of the York Federation of Students and the co-chairperson of the Ontario Federation of Students. “One of the great things about York at the time in the ’90s is (that it was and still is) a very political campus,” he says, adding that it bred a “fertile environment for discussion and debate.
“You (will) never in your life be in an environment that is as intellectually and culturally stimulating as your university. As far as I’m concerned, if somebody’s in their teens or in the early 20s, and they’re in that environment, and not using it to somehow stir things up, they’re wasting their time ... this is the time to really explore things you’re interested in.”
Ghomeshi follows his own advice, in terms of pursuing and exploring different avenues. Just when you think he has done it all, there is always something new up his sleeve.
Stayed tuned for what’s next.
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• Winners will be announced in the paper on Friday, September 22nd.