XFM Brand Room
Oh joy! Not a year had passed since my last trip to one of my favorite cities and here I was again. I really must be doing something right to have lucked out on another trip back to London. And, for the first time, the British Council had my me and my mom (who hasn't been here in 20 years) picked up in a swanky new Jag, complete with a chaperone! What was this all about? I had never gotten this treatment before! Anyway, the first day was filled with meetings mostly so I won't go into that, except to say that my mom and I hit the West End that night and caught Wicked
, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.
First order of the day was to visit Capital Radio
in Leicester Square
with Helen, my chaperone, for a meeting with the guys from XFM
Choice Brand Room
I used to listen to this station online for nearly ten years until the UK restricted streaming outside her borders, which really sucked eggs. In any case, it was still a thrill to have been able to visit the mothership. We were first shown around the brand rooms - guest and meeting rooms themed accordingly to the formats of the 5 radio stations under the Capital Radio belt. As I had a peep into each one of them, I could feel my skin turn an Elphaba shade of green. This was radio paradise compared to the rat hole I work at hahaha!
The first of these brand rooms was Capital
, their pop station. The wallpaper had an urban London them and I loved how they used the chairs stripped from old double decker buses! The next one was Choice
, the R&B/hiphop room all decked up like a lounge fo' yo hommies.
Classic FM Brand Room
I'm not a fan of the type of music at all, but I wouldn't have minded having a vodka in there. It just looked so cozy! The third room was the classical station room, Classic FM
, all lovely and pristine with baroque trimmings and, *ahem* a harp! The XFM
room was made out like a bar with brick walls, bar stools and a neon XFM sign (where's the beer?!). And finally was Planet Rock
which had nice velvety chairs, a glass table and wallpaper with the likes of Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osborne on them. That was just the first part and I was already drowning in my own drool.
We pressed on towards the XFM booth. Nothing too fancy, just your regular radio booth but nonetheless, it gave me a thrill being there. We had a pleasant little chit chat on what else but music.
Planet Rock Brand Room
The topic somehow turned to Ricky Gervais
, who happened to be a former colleague of theirs at the station. The guys from XFM were quite amazed when I mentioned how the guy has gained a somewhat iconic status as a MUSICIAN over here. To us Pinoys, he's the guy from Seona Dancing
. To them, however, he's The Office
guy who was in some unheard of band in the 80s. The look on their faces when I told them that he admitted in an interview just three years ago that he "still collects royalties from the Philippines" was absolutely priceless!
They were so amazed by that little bit of trivia I had just shared with them and decided to invite me to their event in a few nights' time. Whoowhee! The event was at the Brixton Academy
where the Furtureheads
and a couple of newbies were playing.
Bill Macrae & Ricky Gervais circa 1982 as Seona Dancing
I was given 4 tickets and figured this was a perfect time to get together with some London-based friends. Lovely, I couldn't wait. As I made my way out, I could've sworn I saw the Kaiser Chiefs
walk out of one of the rooms. But then, I could be wrong.
I had a couple more meetings that day before meeting my mom and catching the evening train to Liverpool
The train departs from Euston
Station at 6pm. Helen and I were already on our way when I received a text message from my mom who was already at the station with our bags. She said she needed the keys to my luggage to get her shoes. Huh? I wondered what for. I decided not to reply since I was almost there anyway.
XFM artists' interview area
When we arrived, an announcement on the PA immediately came on saying that all trains were temporarily on hold due to a "passenger incident." Hello. I had
to get to Liverpool. I had a meeting that I simply could not miss. I also didn't have the money to get another ticket or change any hotel bookings if ever the need arose. Anyway, Helen went to the info booth to look in on our options while I rushed over to where my mom said to meet. I was surprised to see her looking so forlorn instead of panic-stricken, I'm sure she'd heard what had happened. It turns out the sole of her boots had already half come off and she couldn't even get to the loo! I felt bad for her but at the same time it was pretty funny. I opened up my tiny suitcase where she had another pair of shoes.
On to the next problem at hand - getting to Liverpool tonight! Helen said she was advised to take the train at the next station.
Capital Radio London
It wasn't far, but it was more prudent to walk it, given the current situation with all these commuters "trainless" at the moment. So off we go to Kings Cross (I would've looked for Platform 9&3/4 but the place was in total bedlam) to catch the train from there. We stood by the screens waiting for the platform announcement when 5 minutes before the train was schduled to leave, another announcement comes on saying that Euston station is back in business. WTF. Elbowing our way through the chaotic crowd, we made our way back to Euston hoping that we wouldn't miss the train. I'd be totally done for if I missed it. Thankfully, due to the passenger incident (another suicide, it turned out), all the trains were delayed and we found ourselves enroute to Liverpool in about a half hours' time.
We had a simple cheese and sausage sandwiches dinner on the train, I knew we'd be too pooped to get out of the hotel in Liverpool to grab dinner. When we arrived, we loafed around the room a while, checked out the outcome of Paul
McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills on TV and crashed.