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Charlie's Angle

One of those will keep you ticking over for quite a while...

"It really does, for such a small operation. Plus I'd bought a house in 1969 for so low a price that my mortgage was less than my paper bill, and I only have a paper a day... That allowed me to do all these things getting paid incredibly little. £8 for doing my Record Mirror column and another £8 for doing Radio London, only earning £25 a week, or something insane, but with a very low mortgage and a very understanding wife, you can just get away with it. Then we had a couple of Top 10 things in the late '80s, one was Carey Johnson, and we put out something called The Jack That House Built by Jack 'n' Chill. And the most recent one was Touch & Go."

I wonder if, through his experiences of how the mainstream makes hits, Charlie's approach to his role as world music DJ shows a different perspective to others. Most world music radio presenters are forever struggling to balance the deluge of material with severely restricted hours. There are so many CDs arriving, you perhaps manage to air one track off each and that's it. Charlie, unusually, will take one track off an album and play it six weeks in a row...

"Very rarely six weeks in a row. The one disadvantage that I never anticipated about making a living out of my hobby is that I don't really get a chance these days to live with and enjoy an album and get besotted by it in the way that I used to before I became professionally involved. So if there's a track I really, really like, I haven't represented that by only playing it once. It's partly my obligation to this record for pleasing me so much. It definitely is also affected by which track people respond to when they call in during the show: 'What was that?' and so on."

This feature first appeared in fRoots 218-219, Aug/Sep 2001


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