Sunday, September 23, 2007

James on LBC

When I moved to London two years ago, quite early on I became a regular listener of James O'Brien's show on London's LBC 97.3 (talk radio), which I listened to on my white Tivoli Audio iPal radio (pictured above - it's one of my favourite possessions so had to throw it in). James is on LBC every weekday from 10am-1pm, which was around the time I would be starting my day - taking a shower, getting dressed, checking Email over coffee - before heading out of my flat either to my university or the library or to run errands. Being the perpetual student that I am I was never in a hurry to leave the flat except during my MA year during which I had an 11am class two days a week. But other than that, my mornings were my leisure hours. So I thoroughly enjoyed taking my time getting started with James on in the background. It's amazing how something/someone like that can become such a familiar part of your daily routine. I laughed out loud at least once almost every morning. I talked back to the radio regularly. I called out "Yes! Absolutely!" on many occasions. And of course I got my regular news, travel, and weather updates so by the time I left the house I felt generally up-to-date even before grabbing my Guardian from Sainsbury's around the corner. Anyway, point is, I just really enjoyed listening to James' show nearly every morning for two years. It was entertaining, interesting, informative, and fun - and he and I seem to have very similar opinions on most issues, both trivial and serious. I've been in Kuwait for a month now and suddenly today I realized that I really miss James. I miss his humour and his common sense take on controversial issues. I miss his callers - the cabbies and the old ladies, the men in echoey parking garages and the nutters with moldy jelly in the fridge.

So I've decided to subscribe to LBC Plus online so that I can download a podcast of the show everyday. I can either listen to the show live online (for free) or download the podcast to listen to on my iPod in my car throughout the rest of the day. The show is three hours long so I guess I can continue listening to it the following morning as I get ready to leave the house, as per my usual London routine. Anyway, the subscription costs £4 a month which is nothing, and I just listened to half of Friday's show and it already makes me feel so much closer to London again. Maybe this will serve as a panacea for my homesickness.

Here's a sample of the show with the now infamous Gary on James' "Quiz of the Week" for your entertainment.

Update: OK this might not have been the best idea. For the past two days now I've been listening to James in the car while stuck in inevitable Ramadan traffic going to work, while out running errands, with P when we go out at night, etc. It's been great because it's really made me feel closer to London, has kept me up-to-date on the insider Londoner news (trivial and otherwise) that I don't get in the online newspapers I read, and has made me laugh on several occasions in the car thereby distracting me from the normal frustrations of driving in Kuwait. However, the downside has been that once in a while when I'm stopped at a traffic light I'll happen to glance over at the car next to me distractedly while listening to one of James' callers and my eyes will fall on a sullen-looking cone-head with a thick layer of war paint on her face, and it's like someone has popped the balloon and I come hurtling back down to reality. Or James will mention the rain they've been getting and the fact that he has turned on the heater in his house for the first time since May, and then I'll park and open my car door and the hot, dry air will attack me and wake me up. Oh dear.


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