Charlie Phillips – Let’s Talk Part 1 -

Charlie Phillips – Let’s Talk Part 1


lets talk blog

This is part one of Let’s Talk with Charlie Phillips. This engaging bite-size audio chat is enlightening, warm and highly entertaining. I could see the world though Charlie’s eyes and understood how he experienced his hardships without feeling bitter. With the knack for telling a story, I was drawn in by Charlie’s experiences and the sense of community, which alas, I feel we might be losing. This is living history and has given me a real sense of what it meant to black in 1960’s Britain.

Charlie is a man who has really experienced life. Charlie’s energy and determination has seen him tour Europe. Possessed of a fine singing voice Charlie pursued his dream to be an opera singer and during all that time he photographed the world about him and life in the black community.

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  • I met Charlie Phillips in the early 1970s through Grassroots Bookshop. He asked me to type a novel he had written. Your interview says nothing about his writing. I typed and bound his novel, and told him that if I was a publisher (I wasn’t) I would publish it immediately, no questions asked; it was that good. It was written in Jamaican patois and I couldn’t understand half of it. He wanted me to put it into ‘good’ English as well, but I absolutely refused. Since then I haven’t seen Charlie, but he did contact me for advice on where to go in Ghana.

    I would suggest that you talk to him about his novel and GET IT PUBLISHED!

    Best to Oracle

    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your comments. I am a bit of a Charlie fan and this is just part one of the interview with him. There is more to come so stayed tuned.

      I know that Charlie had a few published books but I believe they are photo-journals, I will chase him about the novel and mention you.
      I appreciate the heads up.

      • Thanks Roz. I know Charlie has published photos of Notting Hill in the 50s. My own Notting Hill photos from when I lived there in the 70s remain unpublished, though I am planning to incorporate some into one of the future volumes of my Philosophical Thoughts. None of my photos of black people were posed. I gathered you are an admirer of Charlie’s work- so am I (somewhat minus his photos)!

        Keep up your splendid critical work.


        • Hi Eric,

          Whilst at the Brixton Cultural Archives and sporting my camera, I was approached about my photographs being used. After discussion I was given a card, If I find the information I will pass onto you. In the meanwhile it might be worth you giving them a call. If you do, let me know how it goes.


          • Roz


            The last time I was at the Archives was just before it opened years ago. I was interviewed for the post of Director by Paul Boateng. That is another story. I wondered why a white man would be considered for such a post, though in view of the law of the land I expect that the appointments committee would have had to be careful not to run foul of it.

            With regard to your photos I am interested. My own ones, taken in dribs and drabs over the past half century or more, are mostly ordinary and candid, and very varied. I try to emulate Henri Cartier- Bresson. I have yet to manage to capture ‘the moment’ as he did. What really annoys me is the ‘Cecil Beaton’ brigade, and posed photos (generally), though I recognise that sometimes that is the only way to do things and I have had to become a ‘poser’ occasionally.

            I don’t think I could release any of my shots of black people or The Grove at present for various reasons, though I am grateful for your suggestion. I am being ripped off left, right and centre and though I am a relatively strong personality I think I have to start more determinedly going down the road of self- interest, and this includes putting (some of ) my photos into my books before releasing them elsewhere so that they could (possibly) do some good for me -for a change! My next volume in the series due out late this year or early next will have 30 or more photos taken in various countries.

            I rather like your criticism of that American white woman who passed herself off as black and lied in order to do so. Your arguments about taking away jobs for black people are cogent and convincing (to me at least).

            I am concerned that most black people in U.K. are not in a position to go splashing out what for them will be large sums of money on books, so I have kept my eBooks off Amazon and on Google Play and at below the Amazon ebook price. As a result of this, and the Google facility for browsing them, my ebook sales of the two ebooks are vying with each other for near zero sales.

            This has turned into a long reply. Apologies.

            I am sorry to learn about your having to take medicine. I do recall your saying on one Galaxy broadcast that you have had two major operations. Very sad. A long term (black) friend of mine is recovering from a major prostate cancer operation. I rregret that I did not have the opportunity to suggest to him that he try taking two simple preventative methods. These are not, of course, guaranteed to work for men of afro- Caribbean ancestry who are statistically at higher risk of this cancer, but worth a try. I refer to pumpkin seeds (obtainable at health food shops (I get mine from the excellent Brixton Wholefoods) and also ingesting LYCOPENE (an ingredient in tomatoes). The lycopene content is enhanced by (surprisingly) cooking. The Mediterraneans cook with tomatoes and olive oil almost daily. I use not only fresh tomatoes but also tomato puree. So far, at age 76 ½ I am free of cancer. In fact I have not had a serious disease since a few days after I was born (beginners luck). Have you considered mentioning these two preventative measures on Galaxy? I doubt whether doing so with impress either Dr. Ferguson or Dr. Walcott.



          • Hello Eric,

            Je suis Henri Cartier- Bresson. He remains the master of candid photography, perhaps you will challenge? I look forward to reviewing your latest work when it is ready for publication. Don’t worry about the economics, people find the money to spend on what they choose.

            As for my photography, it is just a hobby that I have not indulged for an age and I need to practise.

            Thank you for your compliments on the Rachel Dolezal blogs.

            I have had nothing but positive experiences of the NHS and I glad it is a system that we have, that I would not like us to lose. I also agree that we need to be mindful of our food.



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