Working in retail for the past decade, I’ve seen and dealt with many celebrities from the Montreal level through to international superstars. I’ve never understood people’s obsession with celebrities. When people would ask me if I did or seen anything interesting at work, I would usually have a story about someone who’s had their name in the newspaper more than a couple of times. Although the stories started to dry up in the last few years, it never ceased to amaze me that the biggest attitude problems came from people of relatively low notoriety (such as local politicians and community leaders). I find it kind of funny that a Olympic medalist can be more understanding when something goes wrong due to employee error but a city councillor needs to throw a hissy fit when there is an issue which they caused by them doing something wrong and/or illegal.
People like to fawn over celebrities for some unknown reason to me. A movie star only makes movies. That is their job. They just happen to be on camera while on the job. That could be one reason when it came to handling important people, I would be the go-to guy at times. I was always dedicated to making sure that events went as well as possible or that if they were just shopping that they were given the same level of customer service that any other shopper would hope to expect. Many people (not all) I would work with would make a big deal when they dealt with a celebrity and I’ve been witness to some pathetic forms of hero treatment during my time in retail. I can proudly say that I’ve never gone so far as to drool over someone. Actually, if someone boasted how much of a big shot they were or that I should give them something special because they thought they were special, I would either give a deadpan reaction to show that I didn’t care or I would pass them off to someone who would go nuts over the celebrity. To this day, I’m proud to say that I’ve only once approached someone of important significance because they were considered important.
There’s good reason for it. Peter Anthony Holder was one of the best radio announcers that Montreal has ever had.
It was a shame that CJAD released him this past summer. There was quite a bit of backlash when it happened. He was a staple to this city’s airways. I listened to his show all my life: from tot to teenager to adult. Even though his timeslot would bounce around like a yo-yo at times, his voice was a beacon of familiarity. His show was entertaining and quirky and he had a strong and comforting presence no matter who his guest was or what segment it was. He was also very nice to his listeners, especially those who actively participated in his show. I remember calling his show a couple of times when I was very young and he never treated me like a young kid nor did he try to quickly boot me off the air because I was so young. He gave all his callers a fair shake. His programming was also top notch which ranged from celebrity interviews to wacky stories to call-in periods with people offering helpful advice from topics ranging from interesting places to see throughout the city to housing and renting advice for tenants and landlords. While not as prominent as some of the morning shows on the radio dial, Holder’s show was not only and interesting show to listen to and participate in but also provided useful “stuph” that would provide entertainment and helpful knowledge to the listener.
So my Peter Anthony Holder story is not as exciting as I’m leading up to it to being because it was sort of over before it started. Years ago, I was working on the sales floor; just putting away some product. Then, I heard, the voice. It was unmistakeable. I looked up and recognized the face (the jacket with the station’s logo also gave it away too). For the first and only time, I felt the need to approach someone important. I went up to him and shook his hand telling him that I appreciated all the work he has done over the years. He thanked me and that was that. He seemed kind of surprised that I had done that but he also looked pleased that I took the time to pass along the kind words.
Some people kind of make funny faces when I tell that story when others say they really like it. Those who think it’s a stupid story usually like my Harrison Ford story better (which I think is dumb) but for the most part people seem to understand and agree with me. Those who listened to Holder’s show know that he left an indelible mark on the city. While I doubt that there’s going to be any serious campaigns to rename a street after Holder, it would be hard to find people to disagree with the fact that those who listened to his show that not only was he an important figure in Montreal’s evening/night time radio history but also an important contributor to the community.
I have actually met Holder a couple of times prior to our meeting at the place where I worked. Although, each time I met him was through a promotion through a promotion event through the radio station. Also, I was pretty young at each meeting. Despite my age, he always treated me respectfully, just like he would do on the air like I mentioned before. Holder would use the medium to his advantage to boost the community. While the voices community television and radio are disappearing, Holder was not only essential at informing the city about important things but also important causes. He was a friendly face in an industry that is all about voices.
As shocking as Holder’s departure from CJAD was, life goes on. CJAD has moved forward and despite protests and promises of boycotts, it is still widely listened to by many Montrealers (even though the only show worth listening to on the station is Andrew Carter’s show in the mornings…too bad I listen to CHOM in the mornings). In fact, I decided I wouldn’t listen to CJAD anymore if I could help it. My Dad still listens to it so I get reminded every week or so how bad the station has gotten without decent local content (infomercials and no news late at night…the hell?).
Holder has moved on too. Holder has started a weekly podcast that pretty much continues from where his radio show had left off. Although I’ve only listened to the first two shows because I only just discovered them, they sound just as good as the show he had before (actually, the sound quality is better due to CJAD being and AM station). It would be nice if he had a form of audience interaction outside of e-mails and other messages. Maybe he’ll set something up with Skype or another form that would allow him to take calls during the podcast. Or even have live broadcasts. It was tough to listen to him at midnight every night and the last couple of years; it would be tough to find time to listen to him other than turning on the radio while going to bed. At least with the podcast, I can listen to the shows at my leisure, which fits his show better in my opinion.
If I saw Peter Anthony Holder again, I wouldn’t hesitate to shake his hand and thank him for all that he has given us the last couple of decades. Harrison Ford…whatever.
There are allegations that the Italian army paid the Taliban protection money to prevent surprise attacks on their troops in Afghanistan. The Italians are dening this. I suspect that the late night shows are going to eat this up for better or worse…probably to make mafia jokes about protection money or something along those lines.
The PS3 Slim was a success (mostly due to the price cut and not because of the cosemetic change). Sony figures that they can do better by releasing a system with a larger hard drive at a $50 premium. It’s pretty dumb though because you can spend that $50 to buy and install your own hard drive (which can be far bigger than 250GB). Pretty dumb but it will probably sell.