I’m writing this from my room in the Columbia Hotel, London. It was a gruelling journey getting here. Traffic jams. Human jams. Delayed flights. Lost luggage. Packed train journeys. You name it. The gods were surely crapping on me. But a shining light came as I was checking into the Columbia and I ran into Daniel O’Donnell, who was also checking in. This wasn’t my first encounter with Daniel. For some reason he always seems to appear at the tail end of some horrid journey, catching me when I’m at my lowest ebb, to bring a little hope into an otherwise hopeless day. We posed for a selfie and went to our separate rooms.
By the time I finally threw myself on the bed I felt like a skip rat. It was odd feeling this shabby at check in. Usually I didn’t feel this bad until leaving the Columbia. This, after all, was the famous rock n roll hotel. Where every room used to be filled with bands. Whoever was in town, they were sure to be staying in the Columbia. On any given night it was likely that you’d run into Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Radiohead, or Bananarama, sprawled out at the bar. They all stayed here. Oasis even wrote a song about it. It’s the place where throwing your tv out the window was encouraged. You had a free pass.
I’ve had plenty of crazed times here myself. There was the night when Kelly Osbourne kept the bar open all night, picking up the tab. We took full advantage of this. Or there was the time when the Kings Of Leon opened othe show for my old band. After the gig we all retired to the Columbia bar and took part in a drinking competition until everyone passed out. I don’t recall who won. Or the time me and John and a couple of unknowns sat in the bath, repeatedly ordering bottles of champagne to be delivered to our room until we had no money left. Or the time one of our crew ran the halls at 3am, doing a re-enactment of the Wicker Man dance, originally made famous by the beautiful Britt Ekland. As I said, all this behaviour and more was thrived upon by the staff.
But then a shift came in 2006 when the K West hotel became the new place to be. The Columbia all of a sudden became like a ghost town. Now it is almost forgotten. The place where business men go while in town on a day trip. I wonder do the people who stay here know what happened within these walls? I recall it well. It echoes loudly as I sit here alone in my room. Clutching to a bygone era. Get out of the bathtub Mark. There’s no party. No champagne. No room service. No kings of Leon. No Kelly osbourne. Just me. And Daniel O’Donnell.