City Life Magazine turns the tables on award-winning broadcaster and host of CBS Radio One’s talk program.
CL: Do you believe that someone in your position has a responsibility to give back?
JG: I’ve always been eager to do what I could to create social change; it didn’t come from any sort of ego-driven way. When I was a kid it was more so from the big questions that I had about the world that I couldn’t reconcile and that would really bother me: Why do we live in such an inegalitarian world, why does a woman make 70 per cent of what I make, why does this person get born into poverty and I’m in a middle class suburb? Those are just philosophical questions, something about the way I was brought up and the way I understood the world; it bothered me in the pit of my stomach … that’s why I became politically active. Then I realized that everyone has their place and for some people the place to be is building a well in Nicaragua and getting their hands dirty in a real hands-on way, and for others, it’s being a broadcaster that can bring attention or interest to things I think are really important in the world and that should be addressed. But yes, the short answer would be, yeah, those of us who have the means in this world and who have resources – given that we’re a selected, chosen few – should do what we can to share that with others, and if that means social action, that’s a good way to start.
CL: Do you find that your work and personal life go hand-in-hand, or do you separate the two?
JG: I very much do feel like in my case, everything I do is integrated, partly because I’m a workaholic and I don’t know how to relax and take enough time off, but also because – I can say this honestly – I’ve very rarely done anything simply to make money. I’ve always pursued what I’m passionate about, what I’m interested in, and then worked at it hard enough to thankfully make enough to survive and thrive … There’s very little distinction in any given 24 hours between my work and my personal life.
CL: Would you say that you’re the type of person who schedules his life on paper, or do you keep everything up in your head?
JG: I’m a very detail-oriented person and it’s very, very important to have my world and my life organized. Some people would call that OCD, others would call that neat freak, but part of that is that I really feel like I’ve got to have my world organized for me to be able to multi-task and do all the things that I do. I’m a … very highly organized person, maybe to a fault; I have everything scheduled throughout my day.
CL: Do you miss the days when you used to tour with your band, Moxy Früvous?
JG: I love what I’m doing now but there is something about being able to travel and perform in front of audiences around the world that is very difficult, and also to emote and express oneself through art and music that you can’t necessarily replace with being a broadcaster or a writer. But I do feel to a certain extent that’s an experience that I had, that’s an adventure that I had. I may return to it, but I’m also interested in continuing to explore new territories.
CL: If you were a tourist, how would you spend your day in Toronto?
JG: I’m a big fan of some of the communities in Toronto that exist outside of any particular tourist destination. I’d take somebody to the Distillery [District], to the art galleries and the theatre there, then I would take somebody up to the Danforth for the mix of communities and the organic nature of the Carrot Common versus all the Greek restaurants. I would take somebody to Little India on Gerrard Street East, and I would take somebody to a concert at Massey Hall, because I think it still continues to be one of the best sounding venues in North America, and it’s a precious one that we have got to keep in our hot little hands.
Q airs weekdays at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on CBC Radio One, and on CBC Television on Sundays at 1 p.m.