When I first met him he must have been 20 or 21, we were road crewing for a local band and he turned up as part of the baggage, receding hairline, black leather jacket and immense nose, spouting off about being backstage with Rush “loadsa times, don’t talk to me about bloody Rush” and generally talking out of his arse. Of course we hit it off straight away!
The thing about Charlie is that he was like a puppy; lovable, faithful, dopey and a pain in the butt ….and those were his good points. His cooking was best left to the imagination or even better just left. I am not saying Charlie was a bad cook, he wasn't good enough to be a bad cook, he wasn’t good enough to be a terrible cook, in fact the words cook and Charlie should never be seen in the same sentence together. This is also the man who phoned up my mum to ask how to boil an egg. He is the man who burnt blancmange and the man who did the amazing by serving a simultaneously burnt and yet still frozen pork chop! Most famously this is also the man who managed to have us break into his house to rescue him from a fire only to find him wallowing in the bath whilst his Pizza burnt under the grill.
I laugh about the time he annoyed me so much we started fighting and I nearly bit off his finger…..
Charlie - ”hey man you nearly bit my finger off”,
Me - “you shouldn’t have put it in my mouth then!!”
Charlie also had a dream, a nightmare for those who knew him but a dream to him , this dream had two wheels and an engine. We of course had to help…many many times. My bike makes a horrible sound and won’t move…maybe you should tighten the chain Charlie? The day came when he decided to buy a write off and renovate it, a cheap way of getting a big bike. After we picked ourselves up off the floor and stopped pissing ourselves the full implication of this mindboggling decision hit us. Mechanically he had the aptitude of a crab with both its claws taped up so we all took it in turns to supervise this misguided undertaking. I‘ve got to say though he could polish things, everything was gleaming and by the time it was up and running it truly was better than new. This bike would take him to parties all over England, Holland and Belgium and the legend of Charlie grew.
Charlie died today....well 25 years ago today, taking a corner too fast and into the front of a bus, it was quick but it should never have happened. The mates who were together then are still together now, still Piston Broke (pissed and broke ) and still on bikes, just as he would be if he was still here and just as he is in our hearts and thoughts.
25 years ago today English cooking improved, thanks to Charlie….I miss that guy