Junos, Weather, Great Big Sea and Monty Python?

Enjoying two nights off from work, so I’m posting this now.  It is officially Wednesday morning. Longer mid week post, covering a few topics.  I’ll divide it up a bit today.  First is a chat about the previous Junos in St. John’s, which is returning to town in 2010.

Thanks to Brent from The Lever Pulled for this comment on the MySpace page.  [I assume Brent was the one from the band who posted it.]

“Toni is only young but she’s already a legend in Newfoundland media and a big part of Newfoundland culture. That’s not an exaggeration. Mention the name Toni-Marie to ANYONE in this province and they know who you are talking about.”

Which shows how down to earth she is with the red carpet story she had at the last Junos.

—-
ROB:    One of the big events years ago was the Junos in St. John’s, which are coming back next year. From what I’ve heard that week there was a lot of partying going.

TONI:   What happens at the Junos in St. John’s, stays at the Junos in St. John’s. I’m kidding.

It was great fun. We got to meet a lot of people. In Newfoundland people aren’t afraid to say hello to you. When you go live on location in Newfoundland you kind of expect the unexpected. It was just before the live telecast show, the red carpet walk.

Before that started happening for the mother network [CTV], I was doing some live remotes for our newscast that was happening. And there were reporters from across the country. Some of the top entertainment reporters from all the major stations.

And a young guy came out to vacuum the red carpet while I was speaking. And I didn’t flinch, because it was his job.

When I stopped that particular live remote, which was probably thirty seconds to a minute, all the reporters basically jumped on this poor young fellow.

‘How could you do that? She was live.’

And I kind of had to get in there and say,

‘Listen, it’s his job. He has to make sure that red carpet is clean before the live telecast. What I’m doing isn’t necessarily as important as what he is doing.’

They just kind of looked at me like, ‘What? What?’

I said, ‘Well, his job was that he was sent out here to vacuum that carpet.’

But they couldn’t understand how I was able to keep focus while a vacuum cleaner was running.
—-

The TV people from the big cities can learn something from her.  Then we talked about the weather hits.  Don’t be surprised if you see her lugging around equipment if you see her around town.

Onto a memory of talking to Great Big Sea when they started out.  Which leads into talking about Alan Doyle/Russell Crowe and the Robin Hood movie they’re in.  Which left an opening for me to bring up that we both are big Monty Python fans.

—-

TONI:    When I do my live remotes a lot of people are surprised that it’s only myself and usually Dan Lake. Dan the camera man as we affectionately call him.

We don’t have a lighting person or a makeup person or a sound person. We don’t have someone to carry the equipment for us. I’m on the ground duct taping cables as well as Dan is. We’re used to having to do everything.

Being on our own, very little will throw us at this point. And if it does we just make it part of the show, because it’s live television. I think the viewers at home like to see that. I’m sure when I was reading and the guy came out to vacuum the carpet, everyone watching TV at that point thought that was the neatest thing they’d seen. Here is this young guy about seventeen years old out with his little vacuum cleaner.

ROB:    Talking about the live hits sometimes you community ones and other times they just stick you outside in the snowstorm. I read you thought the people stayed tuned to the weather on bad nights just to see you outside in the storm?

TONI:   Yes, and see the Tammy Faye Baker eyes. It can be really uncomfortable.

But it’s funny, when I first started doing the live remotes I was in my twenties. And all I cared about in my twenties as most of us women do when we’re in our twenties. Not all, but many. We want to look pretty.

We’re not going to wear a big bulky jacket to make us look heavier. We’re going to wear the teeniest little jacket we can get away with. And we’re going to try to have the hair perfect and everything, and I couldn’t possibly wear a hat.

Well, now that I’m considerably older than twenty, I wear a full snow-suit now. I just want to be warm and dry and comfortable. And when I’m warm and dry I perform better too.

ROB:    Was this winter a bad one, worse or better than usual?

TONI:   It was a lot colder than usual. So, I had to deal with that quite a bit. I started wearing the ear muffs along with the snowsuit. But we didn’t have as much snow as we had in previous years. I mean one year we had about six, seven feet of snow. In one snow fall we had seventy-four centimeters.

ROB:    That’s a lot.

TONI:   That’s a lot.

[Not a typo we said the same thing]

TONI:   This year you know our worst month might have been thirty. This was a good winter, but very cold.

ROB:    I did notice some storms where the snow is swirling around and blowing in your face.

TONI:   And it takes your breath away.  Because the camera is such an expensive piece of equipment we can’t throw away the camera to save me. So, it’s the other way around. I’m positioned in a way that it’s not so much that I look my best. But it’s so that the camera doesn’t get blown over or damaged from all the snow.

That usually means I’m in the most uncomfortable place to be. But I guess it’s almost like an actor on a stage and you have a prop to work with. And the prop makes you do different things.

When I’m out and there isn’t a whole lot to talk about other than the fact that I’m standing in a raging blizzard. Then the blizzard is my friend, because I have plenty to talk about. And people like to see weather people in weather.

That’s what we’re supposed to do. We understand how horrible the weather is. They can feel fine when they complain about it or if I complain about it, because they know I’m in it too.

I’m not in some cozy perfect little studio with a green screen behind me, which we have done from time to time. But in the major snowstorms I’m outside. I’m outside braving the elements as everyone else will have to do when they get out and pick up that shovel.

ROB:    Wtih all the various jobs you have at the station, you must enjoy the mix. Every day is different, so to speak.

TONI:   Every day is different and the same. I meet different people every day. That’s the best part of the job. I do an entertainment report or two every week, but it’s always somebody different. It’s fun. I feel guilty sometimes, because I have so much fun doing the work that I do.

It gets back to what I was talking about earlier, a feeling of attachment to what’s happening in the arts community. That adds to the fun, I really get caught up in how people advance.

I mentioned Teresa Ennis, but the first time I had interviewed Great Big Sea, they had never won any awards before. And they had been nominated for an ECMA.

We were at Alan Doyle’s house at the time. He and Sean McCann were there. And I saw like this little ornament on a mantelpiece. I handed it to them and said, ‘Okay, pretend for me that you’ve just won your first ECMA. And what would say?’

Of course the first thing they said was, “We’d like to thank God.” Because that’s what everybody says, which was nice.

It was funny to see and I still have that tape. To remember that and be a part of that and their excitement. Now to see them as grown men with families.

Alan Doyle now starring in a movie with Russell Crowe, who’s apparently one of his good buds. And I can say that I knew them when.

ROB:    I’ve seen pictures online of Robin Hood.  Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett I believe are in that movie. Alan is over there for I think about six to nine months.

TONI:   Alan, oddly enough or maybe not that odd, he plays kind of like a minstrel does he not? Like a roving musician.  And his name in the film, I believe is Alan A’dayle.

ROB:    Kind of like the singing character from Holy Grail.

TONI:   Yes. “He is brave sir Robin.” I think it’s quite fitting.

ROB:    Slightly off topic, we’re both Monty Python fans. I guess you can’t use that in any report on NTV.

TONI:   No.

ROB:    I know The Meaning of Life is your favorite one.

TONI:   I do like the Meaning of Life. I’ve seen it so many time that usually when I watch it now, I do need to watch it alone, because I recite the entire movie. It’s not good, when there are other people in the room. And Monty Python, I think it’s brilliant humor, as I know you do.

ROB:    Yes.

TONI:   Very intelligent, but a lot of people don’t get it. They just think it’s too foolish to talk about. When I’m singing some of the songs that are in the film that we won’t sing now, on this wonderful radio station people think I’m a little crazy.

ROB:    And all the guys in Python were university educated.

TONI:   Yes.  We’ll have to watch these sometime. One of my co-workers Larry Jay, who anchors the Sunday evening news with me, is also a huge fan of Monty Python. I think he can recite even Flying Circus, the television program itself. He can recite I think everything they’ve ever done.

ROB:    I was watching a few months ago the DVD of Holy Grail with John Cleese’s commentary. He had a story about meeting an American football player in the 70’s.  The player said him and a teammate were big fans of Holy Grail.

One game they’re just getting crushed by the other team. It’s getting near the end of the game. They’re in the huddle said “What should we do?” One guy whispered to the other one, “Run away. Run away.” And they started cracking up during the next play.  John was amazed that this silly thing they wrote for this movie were being used by these players during a game.

TONI:   Maybe they could all sing the Lumberjack song. That might do well.

Yes, Toni Marie can quote Monty Python.  Imagine that.

Once in an email to me at the end she said “talk to you later, Sir Not Appearing in this film”.  Wow.  If you get that reference you know why I was impressed.  A one line joke in Holy Grail. 🙂

If you know a certain song in The Meaning of Life you understand why people might look at her funny singing it. LOL.

Last line always made me laugh, “Sorry but it has to be medical experiments for the lot of you”.

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