‘Lights will guide you home’: Does the BT Tower have a cult?
Houston, we have a problem
When I first came to UCL, one of the first things I learnt was that the BT Tower inspired the lyrics “lights will guide you home,” in Coldplay’s Fix You. Amused at the time, I soon forgot about that fun little fact and moved on with my life.
Not long after though the same person brought up the BT Tower again. At first, I thought that maybe this one particular friend had a fixation with communications towers. But since then the BT Tower has cropped up in so many conversations with UCL students that it would be enough to start a drinking game.
All of this has made me wonder: does the BT Tower have a cult? Like any good student preparing for their exams, I’ve decided to investigate.
Who are the leaders?
You rarely hear about the BT Tower without also hearing about Coldplay.
Coldplay’s song came out in 2005 and ever since then there have been various appreciation pages for the BT Tower on social media. Some go as far back as 2006: “The BT Tower should be converted into UCL student halls!”.
In my mind, this is strong evidence to suggest that Coldplay is sponsored by the BT Tower.
You may know that the members of @coldplay met while @ucl but did you know that they allegedly wrote the words ‘lights will guide you home’ in the song Fix You as a reference to how they found their way back to their halls using the BT Tower at night. #NationalTriviaDay pic.twitter.com/NrYhz1pORe
— UCL Alumni (@UCLAlumni) January 4, 2019
Who are the followers?
Despite the fact that the song came out more than a decade ago, the followership remains strong. For example, the Instagram page bttowerbitches frequently features submissions from UCL students.
Unsurprisingly, UCLove is also rife with mentions of the tower. In a submission about UCL traditions, comments mention the sacred rituals of using the BT Tower as a point of orientation, as well as telling everyone back home about Coldplay.
The OP of #UCLove7978 even took to writing what I can only describe as a semi-autobiographical account of life as a UCL student. Naturally, it included the tower: “Through the sunlight, you can see BT Tower, which duly wishes you a Good Morning. You smile to yourself…”
This new version of UCLove is not even a year old, so the amount of times the tower has already been referenced is certainly telling.
I can see the BT tower reflection in my comp screen. It says merry christmas. My last festive season at UCL =[ #dontwanttobeanadult
— Willo (@wizzlekicks) December 16, 2010
However, a quick search through the confessions pages of King’s, Imperial, and LSE reveals that the BT Tower is of no interest to other London uni students.
When asked if the BT Tower was a source of pride and joy amongst Imperial students, a third-year medic told me: “it has never been mentioned to me ever. It’s deffo not my favourite building but it’s alright. Would be better if it said cool stuff on it rather than BT lol.”
Still, I dug deeper and went as far as to ask a second-year King’s medic the same question. He said: “the BT Tower is hardly ever mentioned at King’s, there is a bit of myth around it because it marks where UCL is and obviously, UCL = the enemy.
“There are also some people who applied to both UCL and King’s and didn’t get into UCL so the BT Tower might serve as a reminder to them about what they missed out on but that is only a speculation.”
Perhaps, to King’s students, the BT Tower resembles The Eye of Sauron. That could explain why the tower also has some haters. Some call it an elaborate hoax. Others, such as bttowertruth (an adversary to bttowerbitches), urge the public to protect themselves from the tower and the evils of 5G.
To answer the question, I’m just going to go ahead and guess that the BT Tower “cult” is exclusive to UCL students.
Today I realised I would never be as loved as the BT Tower, and that's okay pic.twitter.com/TVeVTljuCX
— Isobel (@New__Vintage) March 17, 2021
Why is this a thing?
So, why is it that such a large amount of UCL students have a soft spot for this London landmark? When I asked, the answers had only one recurring theme: safety.
One second-year student explained this phenomenon to me, saying: “when you’re having a beer on Primrose Hill and glance up, it’s comforting to know the BT Tower is watching over you. It means there’s no way I won’t be able to find my way back to Blooms, just follow the lights.”
In conclusion, my suspicions have been confirmed. To most students, the BT Tower is nothing more than just that. But to UCL students, the tower is a beacon of hope. Whether or not that makes it a cult is up for debate.
Disclaimer: this is a joke. While the guiding lights of the BT Tower remain strong, the factual reliability of this article is not.