F is for… Funk (and Soul!)

Craig Charles was pretty damn brilliant as Lister in Red Dwarf, as most people who like their sci-fi funny would agree. He is also rather brilliant in his alternative career as a DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music’s Craig Charles’ Funk and Soul Show, which airs on Saturday nights between 6 and 9pm. If I’m at home on a Saturday night I like to tune in and dance like crazy, creating my own little funky kitchen disco whilst I’m cooking dinner.

I’ve always loved this genre of music. My mum used to play motown in the car when I was young so I’ve sung along to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sam & Dave and Aretha Franklin for as long as I can remember. There’s this Diana Ross song called Livin’ in Shame which never fails to make me cry and Otis Redding’s voice has always given me goosebumps.

I got into funk in a big way when I was in uni at Reading. There was an overcrowded live funk night in a bar called JW’s on a Thursday, which my friends and I loved. Stuart Zender (former bassist for Jamiroquai) would sometimes play double bass there. Not only was the music incredible, there was also a Belgian regular there who wore a beret and smoked cherry tobacco in a pipe. He always stood at the front dancing, doing the weirdest clapping I’ve ever seen. Brilliant.

I recently saw Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul Show live for the first time, when he came to the Globe in Cardiff last November. It was a surreal experience, like a huge party of friends had come to watch him singing and dancing crazily along to his favourite tracks on a stage. I doubt there are many people that could do this as successfully – he didn’t seem to use turntables, it looked like he simply mixed CDs into each other – but the crowd adored him. I remember him playing Michael Jackson’s Rock With Me first and everyone went nuts; three songs later and the atmosphere was electric, the venue full of the love he and everyone else in it had for the music.

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I enjoyed it so much that I went to see his show again last Friday when he came back to the Globe and it was even better than last time, the stand-out moment being when he played The Apples’ version of Killing in the Name and the crowd went wild.

I’ve just booked tickets for his next show at the Globe, in October, as the last three shows sold out quickly. If you’re in the Cardiff area and you like funk, soul, or just an amazing night of nonstop dancing, the details for the next party can be found here. I promise you won’t regret it.


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