For Charley, literature and music provide constant sources of freshness and ideas. He’s been listening to the music of Igor Stravinsky since he was 16. “I’ve had other musical phases, of course,” Charley says. “But I always go back to Stravinsky. There’s just something about it. The rhythms are very complex. The instrumentations are sparse. He does a lot with a little. There’s an economic use of the sound, and it sounds just right to me.”
More recently, Charley says he has drawn renewed energy from the work of novelist Marcel Proust. He has listened to audiobook versions of the French writer’s work over and over during the past few years, as he restored a better balance between the demands of life and his personal exploration. “Proust changed my world,” he says. “I discovered what a monumental artistic achievement Proust had accomplished. Proust’s work has been a constant reminder to be honest with myself and my work.”
Charley shares a beautifully-preserved Victorian townhouse with his partner (and husband since 2011) Mark Evans, who has his own independent artistic career. The downstairs entrance opens into the business office of Evans & Brown, a jointly-owned enterprise that is famous for creating decorative murals and wallcoverings. The middle office is Mark’s. At the rear, in a more airy studio giving onto a leafy urban garden, is Charley. You’ll possibly find him listening yet again while he works to the recording of À la recherche du temps perdu. Each volume lasts around 25 hours. There are seven volumes. “I’m getting to know it pretty well,” Charley says.