Wednesday, January 26, 2011

[FanAcct] Rain @ MCM Store in London


I arrived at the MCM store at Knightsbridge (London) at around half one, straight after I'd finished uni, and considering how last minute the announcement was, the group parked outside the entrance was fairly big. What I was surprised at was how the majority of the crowd were students - I'd gotten the impression that Rain had a mostly ajhumma fanbase, so it was nice to see that he still appealed to other generations. Most people were asian (and when I say asian I mean oriental), but there were still a few white people, more black girls and a bigger group of (south) asians. There were also a few boys there who were pretty hardcore Rain fans.

It was kinda cold and started to drizzle, but because the other fans were so easy to talk to, I didn't mind waiting so much. There were a few crazy people who kept screaming for no apparent reason, and the front of the crowd kept breaking out into chants of 'Bi, Rain, sarangheyo!' or something like that, but I'm thinking that was more for the sake of the cameraman. I don't know what network he was covering or where he was from, but since he was British maybe we'll finally get some Rain news in the UK? Praying, praying for Rain! There was also a Korean guy at the front who kept taking pictures of the queue which I tried very hard to avoid ^_^

Rain was supposed to be at the store from 2-3, but the traffic was pretty bad and he arrived at around half two. By that time the queue had doubled and I was in the middle rather than the end. It took a while for the white limo to pull up, so even before he'd gotten a chance to get out people were screaming lol.

He was really polite, quickly walking down the line to bow and wave at everybody, and then went inside. Because everyone had rushed towards him, I didn’t get a very good view, but what I saw I definitely liked =D I wasn’t a fan of his haircut before, but in real life it looks so good on him. You know how you always get those fan accounts saying 'he's gorgeous, he really looks like a star, his skin's so nice' etc etc? I always thought they were just exaggerations by besotted fans – I mean the shots of him on that MTV Hustler page didn't look so hot – but he genuinely *is* that good-looking in person. Even if you didn't know who he was, you'd be like: phwoar... that dude is hawwwwwwwt. And yep, he really is that tall.

In case you're wondering what he was wearing, he had a white t-shirt on (with some design on it – I didn't get a close look since I was more focused on his face lol) and a black & gold jacket (the collar was gold, and the jacket was snug around his arms like always ^^). His trousers were dark and he wore shades the entire time. Did I mention he looked hot?

Anyway, they took him downstairs into the basement so we couldn't stare at him through the window (stupid MCM people), and then a guy came out to say 10 people at a time would be allowed in. Only people who bought something would then be allowed to go downstairs to get his autograph and have a picture taken together by an official photographer – no one was allowed to take pictures of him inside the store. I heard people got other stuff signed, but that's only because they also bought some MCM merchandise.

The cheapest product they had was an iphone case that cost around £85 (about $135) and at first everyone was like O_O 'no way am I spending that much to meet Rain!', but within minutes the store was crowded. Almost everyone eventually relented and bought something, usually the ipod case – the staff even had to replace some of the products in the window. The thing is, the chances of Rain coming to the UK are so slim that people are absolutely desperate to see him. I'm still surprised that he actually chose the UK as a holiday destination, even if it was only for a few days what with our permanently miserable weather, but that's probably just because he was already in Europe. Anyway, the MCM staff were pretty smart with their marketing techniques, making a small fortune whilst also attracting attention to their tiny store >.< They must have made several thousand pounds in that single hour! Ah, the power of Rain...

Much as I would have loved to see Rain, quite honestly I don't have that much money to spend, and so I had to settle on waiting outside in the rain. But it was still pretty cute watching all the fans coming up the stairs with huge grins on their faces, screaming the second they stepped out the door. Even after buying merchandise, they only had a few minutes with him, but they were content with that, gushing about how he put his arm around them and how he was so nice and polite, paying close attention, asking what their names were and so on. And Rain's autograph looked surprisingly good on the ipod covers and bags – he was using a silver pen, so it looked better than those black pen autographs he often gives.

I managed to find a spot near the window where you could see the stairs, and because of the mirrors down there I occasionally caught a glimpse of Rain's reflection – mostly his arm, which is why I could tell you he had a HUGE shiny watch on lol, but sometimes he also bent down so I saw his face =D

At around ten past three, people started to say he would be going soon because he had to go to the airport straight after the event, and we could see his staff and agents looking anxiously out the window for the limo. There was a lady in a blue dress who looked particularly annoyed, but if the traffic was as bad as it was before I guess you can't really blame the driver. Plus a limo must be hela hard to manoeuvre.

Because of my position by the window, I could see when things were starting to wrap up. Rain drank some water (mind you, I only saw his hand pick up the bottle and put it down almost empty, so perhaps I infer lol) the way he always does when he's done with events and one of his staff came up the stairs. The limo also appeared a little way down the street (before it had stopped at the entrance and Rain had walked back down to greet us). I was trying unsuccessfully to make my stupid camera work, so when Rain came up at about twenty past three, I was still by the window while the quicker-thinking fangirls rushed at him.

Even though he was running late, he still stopped to shake hands and sign people's things – which, by the way, shows that he was willing to greet all his fans, not just the ones who bought MCM stuff, it's just that he was instructed not to. A lot of people got really close to him, and there was a lot of physical contact so I'm guessing there'll be many happy fangirls tonight lol. I was too far back, so I got neither a handshake nor an autograph, but I suppose just seeing him in person must count for something.

The staff were a little edgy, the lady in blue saying Rain really did need to go, but because nobody wanted to let him go so easily, a bodyguard had to push in between him and the fangirls to let him escape back to the limo. It was a bit crazy, but don't misunderstand – there was no violent shoving like that Back To The Basic fanmeet in Korea! It really was sweet of him to stay longer than he had to, and it's a shame he had to go so soon.

I sometimes feel European clouds are neglected since they love and promote him as much as any other fan, but they rarely get the chance to see him. I mean, all my friends, family and workplace now know who Rain is (one greeting I always get from a workmate is 'So how's Rain?' lol) and the amount of time I spent on the Time 100 poll, Green Planet Movie Awards, MTV Biggest Badass Award and so on whilst trying to balance uni work and a job is ridiculous. I remember voting like crazy in the World Cup Of Rock during my break-times at work, and when I was allocated desk time, I spent much of it doing the same! Rain merchandise is also non-existent here, aside from Speedracer and NA, so we have to rely on online purchases which are naturally more expensive.

Rain's only been to England twice, the first time for the Speedracer premiere at which point I wasn't even aware of him, and because this event was so last minute I almost missed the chance to see him here today too. Don't get me wrong, I am so so grateful that he even showed up, especially considering he was supposed to be on holiday and had to leave the country soon after – he's a sweetheart. And I also understand he can't visit every country in the world – he has fans in places he's probably never even heard of. But it would mean so much if he could hold just one fanmeeting, not even a concert, even if it was only every few years. You don't know how jealous I am of Asian and American clouds!

Anyhu, I've rambled on enough, especially considering how little I saw him (okay so I did spend like half an hour staring at his hand – his fingers are really long by the way – but that hardly counts), so I'll stop now and leave you instead with a blurry fancam of him leaving. See what I mean when I say he’s a sweetheart? I lost him around the 55 second mark.

Source: JCAlex27@yt /

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