Paul Charles

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Countdown with ...

Paul Charles

Paul Charles is a key player in the UK music industry. He managed his first group, The Blues by Five, when he was 15 years old and his business card listed the number of the local telephone box in his native Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.

Paul moved to London when he was 17 and studied to be a civil engineer, but the music business was his real distraction and he was more interested in writing about the London scene for Irish music papers than surveying, planning and drawing.

His real education began when he took on the multiple role of manager, lyricist, roadie, sound engineer and agent for the Belfast band FRUUPP in the mid 1970s. Before long he was responsible for breaking acts like the Undertones, the Human League and Ultravox, and over the last four decades he has been an agent for the likes of Ray Davies, Christy Moore, Don McLean, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Van Morrison. He has also programmed the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury Festival for more than 25 years.

But as well as all of that he’s also a committed book reader – and collector – particularly of British detective fiction. Paul has always loved dabbling in writing, lyrics, sleeve notes and short stories, and in 1996 he attempted his first Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy Mystery, I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, which was published the following year. As well as writing crime fiction, he is also the author of a number of music books.

Interviewed 23 May 2020

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...


Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

Kennedy for President poster
Mickey Mouse clock
Alf Tupper – the Tough of the Track print
Dark blue trilby hat
Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Titan bass drum
Arborist – A Northern View CD
Traveling Wilburys’ Gretsch Guitar (unplayed)
Waterboys very live, jumping, singing, playing, full colour photo
Kinks, classic, vintage 1960s signed photo

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Same as it’s been since my teenage years. Omelette with Psychedelic Potatoes – mashed (not smashed) potatoes with butter, peas, beans, yellow peppers, red peppers, onions and scallions. I’d have to cheat a wee bit by having the potatoes prepared ‘earlier.’ But that approach seems to work OK for Jamie Oliver.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

Alan Bennett
Marcus Rashford
Michael Connelly
Max Verstappen
Paul McCartney
Christy Kennedy

Six things you can't live without ...


Five favourite words ...


Four places you'd run away to ...

Santa Monica
San Francisco

Three books you've bought recently ...

Me - Elton John
The Night Fire - Michael Connelly
Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow

Two things that make you rant ...

Cyclists on the footpaths of Camden Town
How record companies shot themselves in the foot and the artists in the heart.

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Your love of music will see you through everything life will throw at you.