1. He looks after his mum.
‘When I’m on tour, I always miss mom. She’s lived with me since she saw my brother lying on the floor after he got shot. She cried so hard and I said, “From this day on, I take care of you.” Every time I go away, she asks if it’s the last time she’ll ever see me. That reaches into my heart and twists it so hard.’
2. He didn’t choose his parrot, it chose him.
‘I’ve had my macaw for 23 years. I went to a bird show one day with a friend and one of these parrots just came right across and walked onto my arm – it was so beautiful, but expensive. Then it said, “Hello,” and I knew I had to find a way to take Nicky home.’
3. Love really does make his world go round.
‘Love everybody as you want to be loved, and you will get it back in return. When you’re real and you’re honest and you’re open, everyone can see the goodness inside you. Some of the shows I do have my spirit up so high that it takes me until the next morning to come down.’
4. He’s not a fan of separation.
‘I went to the Berlin Wall when we were touring Europe. Someone showed me how it went across the city and broke it in half. I thought that was outrageous.’
5. The Eagles helped him fly.
‘Back in the late 1970s, I was going through some hard times and I was hurting so bad. I went to this Italian restaurant and just sat there wanting to escape the world. Then someone put a quarter in the jukebox and “Take It to the Limit” by The Eagles came on. I needed to hear that – to take it to the limit one more time. Lyrics can help you find the good inside the pain. That’s the power of music.’
‘Charles Bradley: Soul of America’ is out now on DVD. Buy it here.
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”