Friends, Moments, Countryside
by Peter Gzowski
published by McClelland and Stewart
1998, 274 pages
Buy it online
A Clearly Canadian Voice
Reviewed by Linda L. Richards
His is a voice Canadians recognize perhaps more than any other. A voice -- in print or over the airwaves -- that is so distinctly of his country, it's a wonder that one doesn't hear it hawking cars or soda. And love him or hate him -- and there seems to be a fair number in both camps -- when Peter Gzowski talks, you can be sure people will have an opinion. None of this is very surprising. After all, Gzowski hosted CBC's Morningside for 15 years. Longer than other important Canadian voices -- that of the political types -- are allowed to stay in office. Gzowski's voice -- in radio and print -- has been soothing us for longer than that and many of us have come to rely on him as the oasis of calm in a media sea of frantic yammering.
Well, sure, we liked Sports Illustrated; we just wanted a chance to publish our own sport stories (though in fairness we had yet to come up with a successful sports magazine of our own). We liked Seinfeld, too, just as we liked everything from Masterpiece Theatre to Beavis and Butthead -- well, maybe from Masterpiece Theatre to The Larry Sanders Show. But we also like The Newsroom, and The Nature of Things and the fifth estate and North of 60 (let alone Hockey Night in Canada, Don Cherry and all), and we wanted a chance to watch them too. Even Walt Disney and his heirs were fine -- as long as they stuck to The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. But when they took over merchandising the Mounties, wangled their version of Winnie-the-Pooh onto our postage stamps and sent Mickey and Minnie Mouse to be parade marshals of the Calgary Stampede, we were troubled. We liked Americans, all right. We just didn't want to be Americans.
It is this breezy, conversational style that has captivated Gzowski's audience no matter what medium he chooses. You might not always agree with what Peter Gzowski says, but when he says it, sometimes it just feels good to listen. | March 1999
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine.