Only a few more days until Live 8 – it’s going to be an insane (yet amazing) day. The Tokyo concert, which is first up on the bill, starting at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, has Bjork (nice!) and the Philadelphia concert has added the Black Eyed Peas, Def Leppard, et al.

MAGAZINES: I’m a huge magazine reader, as some of you may know. So for what it’s worth, I’m going to offer some suggestions on some magazines that have really influenced me and my general approach to journalism. By no means is this a definitive list, nor should it be for everyone, but I think these magazines are important reminders of why current affairs reporting is so essential to put the 24-hour news cycle in proper perspective and context.

The Atlantic – why is this magazine so good? Because it takes issues that are really important – North Korea, economic sustainability to name a few – and puts them into an interesting, creative format that is entertaining and informative. The articles are incredibly well-written and compelling. Politics – the substantive, intellectual, idea-driven kind – is still very much alive at The Atlantic.

Harper’s Magazine – a liberal publication that is unashamed to be so, this magazine is essential reading for anyone who cares about American politics (and the broader world). Lewis Lapham, the magazine’s editor, always writes some scathing, well-reasoned anti-Bush commentary.

The Walrus – an excellent Canadian magazine that’s got ideas, politics and culture on the brain. A terrific, fresh read every month. Allan Gregg, formerly of Decima Research, a founder of the YTV network, manager of the Tragically Hip and TVOntario host, has a fantastic piece this month on why issues have become secondary to politics in Canada.

Vanity Fair – I know, this doesn’t sound like a typical magazine I’d read. Yes, it does indulge in celebrity journalism. And yes, it is full of fashion and people that are so far removed from ordinary folks that it seems like a parallel universe where everyone is gorgeously fabulously amazingly everything. But the journalism – where else can you get one issue that features Deep Throat, an excerpt from the new Clinton book, scathingly well-written editorials and a kind of world smart attitude?

The New Yorker – If you haven’t read an issue of The New Yorker, you’ve missed out. David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, has crafted a really good read that lives and breathes New York City. But there’s more to it than that – Seymour Hersh, the venerable American journalist, broke Abu Ghraib in the New Yorker.

This Magazine – Left-wing journalism in Canada at its finest. Rarely gets the credit it deserves, but it’s got a distinctly non-mainstream viewpoint.

Wired Magazine
– I only really got interested in Wired this year, but I’m glad I did. Yes, it can be fanboy-ish when it comes to the latest-and-greatest gadgets, but there are some great stories about technology, culture and politics.

Esquire – Men’s magazine that’s smart enough not to take itself overly seriously, but still willing to write about stuff that matters. Plus, the suits and fashion are cool (too bad I’m still a few years away for that Brooks Brothers suit).

Toro – Canadian men’s mag that’s more tongue-in-cheek in some respects but features some great writing and interesting columns (Mark Kingwell’s drinks column? So worth it).

iTUNES: apparently, iTunes was bombarded with podcast requests yesterday after version 4.9 was released. Had some trouble downloading yesterday, but it seems to have been resolved. The podcast feature is awesome!

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: It’s finally done. Now please Stephen Harper, move on! You’re not doing yourself or your party any favours by prolonging this debate any further. Canadians accept this by and large, so why shouldn’t you?


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You know things aren’t going well for President Bush when he has to go on national television to address the American people (and, ostensibly, the world) about the ongoings in Iraq. Being as this administration routinely ignores opposition, trivializes the media’s criticism as part of the “liberal elite” position against the Presidency’s neo-con bent and is completely against accepting blame (lord knows admitting weakness will be the downfall of the Bush administration as opposed to everything else it has done) for Iraq, it’s virtually certain he’ll go to the American people tonight asking for patience.

He’s asking a lot. President Bush’s approval rating is the lowest second-term Presidential approval rating since Richard Nixon. Things aren’t going well for him. The Economist puts it best: that whole talk about reaching out to Democrats in the wake of his re-election last November? Didn’t happen. Reforming Social Security? Probably going to be mothballed, or at the very least, dragged out for as long as possible by Democrats (good idea).

ITUNES: The newest version of Apple’s iTunes came out today – it’s loaded with a new feature, a podcast directory. It’s decent right now, but it could use a few more podcasts. I’m tempted to post mine up there, but I think I’ll wait until my show is refined a bit.

FILE SHARING: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck a major blow against free file sharing online. The court ruled that file sharing services, like Grokster or LimeWire, are indeed liable for the copyright breaches such programs support. This will effectively bring a chill to free file-sharing.

It’s also a major shock, given that Grokster was counting on the precedent ruling back in 1984 on Betamax videotapes, that recording television and movies was not illegal. This will set back technology and innovation, unfortunately, and we’re all worse for it because of the U.S. Supreme Court.

SHAVED! My head has been shaved once again. No particular reason why, just felt like it. It’s very streamlined and it has cooled off my head.


Gone With The Wind… I still haven’t managed to sit down and watch the film from beginning to end.  Posted by Hello


Here’s my new CBC column on the relationship between technology and journalism. I’m fascinated by the power of blogs to affect the MSM (Mainstream Media) and how citizen journalism is altering contemporary practices of reporting. I got a really unique taste for this relationship at King’s last year; in order to be a good reporter, you really have to be good with technology now. Some technology, like podcasting (my first podcast link is here, in case you missed it below), is still a few years away from being mass market, but good reporting means being comfortable with the tools of the trade.

On another King’s-related note, I got a new assignment – writing on the traditions of King’s. It’s amazing, the schools I’ve gone to have such unique traditions onto themselves. King’s is particularly unique in this regard, what with formal meals, hymms and Matriculation ceremonies. I’m going to find out more in the coming days on traditions at King’s.

THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE: The AFI just released their top 100 film quotes. Naturally, Gone With The Wind’s Clark Gable got #1 on the list. No real surprise there – saying “damn” still has a historical resonance on screen because of that one line.


Shift Audio Podcast


Here’s the first real podcast of my new show, Shift Audio. I hope you enjoy it. It’s not perfect, I have a lot of things to work out with the show, but it’s a start.

LIVE 8 IN BARRIE: Well it kind of sucks that Live 8 won’t be in Toronto, but Barrie. I was kind of hoping for Downsview, but I guess it’s Molson Park Place after all. I won’t be going now – Highway 400 will be absolutely insane that day and it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth the ride. Instead, you can watch free live feeds of all the international shows on AOL (that’s right, AOL).


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LIVE 8 IN TORONTO!, originally uploaded by greghughes2004.


This is amazing news – Toronto is getting another Live 8 concert along with Tokyo, Johannesburg and a concert in Cornwall, England. The Cornwall concert is being set up and hosted by Peter Gabriel, with the intent of spotlighting African music. The Cornwall concert also exists to deal with the legitimate criticism of Live 8 as not being very African-friendly in terms of artists. Incidently, here’s the BBC’s site on Africa – it’s hugely extensive and really interesting, has lots of music streams.

So far, it looks like Sum 41, The Tragically Hip, Jann Arden and several others will appear at the concert – the Rolling Stones, who will already be in the area for their world tour warm-up, might even be the headliner act.

This could be a major boon for Toronto – a huge tourism boost, international exposure and an unbelievable concert. I desperately want to go to this concert already.

SUMMER CBC RADIO PROGRAMMING: A listing of CBC Radio’s summer replacement programming is available today. There are some really cool shows this summer. One of the shows that I’m really looking forward to is The Circut, which has blues, jazz and other summer concert series excerpts here in Canada. A schedule is available in .pdf format.


Artists in Live 8, clockwise from left: Madonna, U2, Sting, The Cure, Dido, Joss Stone, Maroon 5, Will Smith, Coldplay & The Scissor Sisters.  Posted by Hello


The Live 8 concert series is really starting to get exciting! I really hope they open up the concert to Ottawa or Toronto; it would be nice if all eight G-8 nations got to host at least one concert for this event.

If you take a look at the BBC’s site, the blogosphere is going off the hook at the moment with talk about how this concert series (or economic conference, what have you) is impacting Africa.

Apparently, there’s already been chatter about tickets being sold on EBay. Bob Geldof has called this “sick profiteering” which is pretty much what it is.

No word yet on the television rights here in Canada; I suspect it will be the CBC, although I have no idea.

More to come…


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MR. AND MRS. SMITH, originally uploaded by greghughes2004.


I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the weekend. I was really looking forward to this one, given how much hype has been built around it.

This was a decent movie, although not a great one. Strangely, Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie had very little kenetic energy between each other on screen. I didn’t believe they actually loved each other. The best part was actually when they first met earlier in the film in Colombia. That was pretty hot, but come on! Is it even biologically possible these two had a sexless marriage at anytime?

Other than that, the violence was incredibly over-the-top but not terribly exciting. You could have made the whole film without Vince Vaughan or Adam Brody (which is a damn shame), and I just didn’t see the point at the end. It just felt like a movie made exclusively for guns, one-liners and self-knowing winks at the audience.

All in all, good summer movie.

WHY OH WHY ALANIS? Alanis Morissette’s in a bit of hot water these days. She decided to release Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (a stripped down, 10th anniversary release of 1995’s Jagged Little Pill) exclusively with Starbucks for the disc’s first six weeks of general release, and she’s gotten major flak for it: HMV decided to pull all Alanis discs off the shelves.

Alanis says that the music industry has changed in the past 10 years; the Internet has helped fuel quick dissemnation of music and placing a disc like this in an on-demand “real world” venue like a Starbucks cafe could enable better sales.

Still, it would be nice if Alanis could product a disc of new material that’s of the quality and depth of Jagged Little Pill before tapping into nostalgia. Alanis has had a few minor hits here and there since 1995, but she hasn’t hit the monolithic level of Jagged Little Pill since.

PODCASTING MUSIC UNDER SOCAN: Tod Maffin’s been engaging in an interesting discussion on his blog about using commercial music in podcasts. Apparently, under SOCAN, the podcasting fee for commercial music is voluntary at this point, but will be retroactive to podcasts set up this year. Incidently, if you’re a blogger or podcaster, go check out the CBC discount coupon offered! 30 per cent off for everything at the store! I’m so going to grab one of those CBC Retro t-shirts; the 1970’s and 80’s Pizza-shaped CBC logo t-shirt is so cool.

JIMMY MACDONALD’S CANADA: This show is just halirious and an unabashed ode to Canadiana. Jimmy MacDonald is this 60’s era CBC host (all reactionary and full of fear towards young people and the changes coming to Canadian society) that reminds me so much of the painfully earnest broadcasters (sans irony) it’s uncanny. Everything about this show is amazingly true to the time period; This Hour Has 7 Days is an obvious influence. It’s got CBC archival footage from real interviews with celebrities and other hot topics from the 60’s.