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Changes: Charlotte Church

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Annie [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to Changes. It's Annie Macmanus here and my guest today has experienced SUCH a huge amount of change in her life. Charlotte Church became famous at 11, had a number one album in the classical charts at 12, she has sung for the Pope, the Queen, presidents, including at George Bush's inauguration, she even sat one of her GCSEs at the White House. She sold over 10 million albums in the first ten years of her singing career alone, since then she has gone through so much change, experimenting with her music, hosting her own chat show on Channel Four, hosting her famous club night, Charlotte Church's Late Night Pop Dungeon, as well as being a political activist, and all of this under the scrutiny of the press and the public eye. Today, Charlotte and her family live in rural Wales where she runs a new wellness retreat called The Dreaming. There is so much to talk about when it comes to change, Charlotte Church welcome to the podcast! 

Charlotte [00:00:59] Hey Annie, how's it going? 

Annie [00:01:01] It's going really good. I'm so chuffed to meet you first of all, thank you for your time. 

Charlotte [00:01:05] Oh my gosh, it's a pleasure. 

Annie [00:01:07] We asked you to have a think about the biggest change in your childhood. Tell me what you thought of for that, please. 

Charlotte [00:01:13] I think the biggest change in my childhood has to be when I got famous. 

Annie [00:01:18] What was the time period from when you rang in on This Morning and sang that song down the phone to actually feeling like, 'fuck, I'm famous'? 

Charlotte [00:01:27] I think that I sang down the phone to This Morning, but I was just about to turn 11, it was in the January before my birthday. I recorded my first album, Voice Of An Angel, in August when I was 12, and then it came out in maybe October, November. Yeah, and I remember going down to the bus depot with my mum, and we went there on purpose because I knew I'd be on the side of the buses *laughs* and yeah, just seeing all, yeah, all of the sort of advertising for Voice Of An Angel on the side of all the buses and it was just like wooow, this is, this is interesting. 

Annie [00:02:09] So talk about maybe a year from that moment. And so, just to get a bit granular about that time you rang in, for people who don't know, on This Morning and you sang. What was the context of that? Whose idea was that? What are your memories of it? 

Charlotte [00:02:24] My memories of it was I was down my nana's house *Annie laughs* because at the time I was going to a private school because I got a scholarship as a girl chorister. 

Annie [00:02:37] Right. 

Charlotte [00:02:38] And so we had longer holidays over Christmas. 

Annie [00:02:41] Sure. 

Charlotte [00:02:42] And so on This Morning there was a talented children phone in and I was off school and I was watching This Morning, anyway and my nana, bless her soul she's gone now but she was an absolute telly fiend, so the telly was always on. 

Annie [00:02:57] Sure. 

Charlotte [00:02:58] Yeah, it was Richard and Judy and they were asking people, you know, who had talented children or children themselves to call in. And so I just rang. I didn't ask my nan. I didn't- my Aunty Caroline was there at the time too, I didn't ask my Aunty Caroline. I don't know why I didn't, I just didn't. I just rang them and like, I got through and I spoke to a researcher on the phone and then they said, oh, you're going to have to get an adult on the phone to *laughs* to sort of allow you to- we we'd love you to, you know, talk about this and maybe even sing. And so then I went to tell my Aunty Caroline, I was like *laughing* 'oh, I'm on the phone to This Morning, I phoned for the talented children phone in'. So it was totally of my own volition, which is quite interesting again. 

Annie [00:03:41] Oh my god I love it. I love it. 

Charlotte [00:03:43] And yeah, so then she was like- She was partly annoyed with me because she was like, 'it's probably costing a fortune!'. 

Annie [00:03:49] Yeah. 

Charlotte [00:03:52] *Laughs loudly* And then when she spoke to them and she was like, oh okay, this is a bit of an opportunity. 

Annie [00:03:56] And you sang Pie Jesu down the phone. What happened next? 

Charlotte [00:04:01] See not a great deal came from that This Morning thing, apart from my auntie who is also a singer, loads of people in my family are singers, like all cabaret singers, doing the pubs and clubs and that sort of stuff, my auntie auditioned to be on Jonathan Ross' Big Big Talent Show, and because on This Morning I'd introduced- my Auntie Caroline had introduced me, then they said, oh well since you've done that why doesn't your niece come on and introduce you on this Big Big Talent Show? So we went up to London and it was all super exciting and my Aunty Caroline was singing an original song called Roberta and it was all very brilliant and then, yeah, I went on the show, was sort of opposite Jonathan Ross, I sat on the couch and having a chat about Caroline and right at the end he said, oh, do you want to give us a little burst? And so I did Pie Jesu again and from that, like the head of ITV got in touch with a manager, who then phoned my mother when she was working at the council, she was a housing officer in the council, and this guy phoned my mother and said- literally his first words were, 'how would you like me to make your daughter very rich and very famous?'. 

Annie [00:05:16] Bleugh!! That's gross! 

Charlotte [00:05:18] I know, it's totally gross isn't it? 

Annie [00:05:19] And what kind of a woman is your mum? Like, would she have been wooed by that I think, or disgusted like?

Charlotte [00:05:25] I think she was just a bit like, who the fuck is this geezer? *Laughs*.

Annie [00:05:29] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

Charlotte [00:05:30] Which we wondered for a long time whilst he was my manager.

Annie [00:05:34] *Laughs* say no more. 

Charlotte [00:05:36] Absolutely. But she, you know, she absolutely loves the glitz and the glamour and the show biz. Like it turns out to absolutely be a bit of a vocation for her. But she's lacking a bit now because she was just so good at it. Really good businesswoman, really sharp, proper like, rottweiler because she was in defence of her cub, you know.

Annie [00:06:06] Of course. So she left- did she leave her job to then be on the road with you as a child? 

Charlotte [00:06:11] Yeah. And it was so hardcore because also, you know, nobody wants to spend that much time with their parents at that point, but my mother's a complicated woman. She's fabulous and she's hilarious, but she's an absolute nightmare *laughs*. 

Annie [00:06:28] Right *laughs*. 

Charlotte [00:06:30] So it was tough. And it particularly for the first year because the first year my dad didn't travel with us. 

Annie [00:06:36] Okay. 

Charlotte [00:06:37] So a lot of it was me and my mum. And that was a lot, and a lot for me. 

Annie [00:06:43] Because you are 12, so you are entering puberty here, in puberty probably. Changing a lot anyway. Physiologically, hormonally, there's lots going on. Those are kind of the times you want to spend a bit of time in your bedroom, just kind of like fi- you know what I mean? And it's very exposing. 

Charlotte [00:06:59] Totally and I was just like constantly on and it was like, you know, we were travelling to so many different countries. It was so exciting, it was so high pressured. I would be doing like showcases, like my first sort of live shows. I was recording TV specials, we were travelling so much. 

Annie [00:07:18] Did your mum have any other kids at that point? 

Charlotte [00:07:23] No. I was an only child. 

Annie [00:07:25] Right. 

Charlotte [00:07:25] And then when my dad came on board- because my dad isn't my natural father, but he's been my dad since I was three and so he's my dad. And then when he came on board a year in, it was like, such a relief. 

Annie [00:07:38] Right. 

Charlotte [00:07:39] He had done a lot of the nurturing of me growing up anyway, so when he came on board I didn't have to iron my own clothes *both laugh*. The pair of them are absolutely phenomenal people, they're really hardcore and growing up, like I had a hardcore childhood. 

Annie [00:07:59] But how do you mean by that? How do you mean by hardcore? 

Charlotte [00:08:01] I suppose it's like, errr they were pretty volatile. Everything's very out in the open with my family, like the idea of anything ever not being said is so alien to me because everything is constantly always said, no matter what environment you're in. So like, while we were travelling and it was the three of us and my mum and dad would have a barney, oh, they didn't care where we were. They were like swearing, screaming blue murder, it was like, it was intense. And they're still like it and all of them- like it's quite like that in the rest of my family as well. Like everything is- it's a bit Italian.

Annie [00:08:41] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But maybe that served you well, being around that kind of directness of communication. 

Charlotte [00:08:49] Yeah, absolutely. I mean it certainly... Yeah *laughs*. 

Annie [00:08:54] How do you think it shaped you, I suppose, as a person? 

Charlotte [00:08:57] I think that I have- I very much became a peacekeeper. 

Annie [00:09:04] Interesting. 

Charlotte [00:09:05] You know, in part. And it did make me very much develop my intuition and my spidey senses. I think it made me a good listener in the way that I was often- and not just with my parents now this is back into the sort of fame and stuff, I was often dealing with very complex situations and emotions and ideas and thoughts and motives and ethics, and it made me quite a good listener, I suppose, and really able then to quickly compute and synthesise and understand things because it was a very high pressured situation all the time. 

[00:09:46] *Short musical interlude*

Annie [00:09:56] We're talking about this through the prism of change and just the huuuge amount, like on every level change. Geographical change, you're moving all the time. You're not at school full time anymore. You're doing tutors on the road. You're performing. Your body's changing. Physiological change. So much change. If you strip it all away and it's just you and your voice in a room, how does that act of singing change you? 

Charlotte [00:10:17] I find it very, very soothing. I feel like there is a physiological effect that it has on my nervous system. I also feel like it's very soothing in terms of any existential angst. I find it joyful the majority of the time, but then also sometimes it really helps me to move to tears if I need to move towards- 

Annie [00:10:38] Right. 

Charlotte [00:10:39] Just moving through emotions, really. I really think that a big part of the reason why I was able to get through it all as well is that was my absolute root, you know? 

Annie [00:10:48] Yeah. When did you want to steer away from the classical music that had made you so successful? Like at what point did you want to start deviating from that? 

Charlotte [00:11:00] You know, through my teenage years I was always into a lot of different music. You know, from like Jill Scott, D'Angelo, Manic Street Preachers, I mean, all sorts. Loads and loads of different types of genres and styles. I suppose it was when I got to about 14 that I was like, this is really uncool *laughs*. I don't want to sing Panis Angelicus anymore! Yeah, and I wanted to be relevant to my peers rather than just loved by everybody's nans *Annie laughs* which now, looking back, I'm like ahh, what are you on about? I love to be loved by the nans *laughs*.

Annie [00:11:39] Yeah, it's great. 

Charlotte [00:11:39] But of course, at the time, it's just like, you know, that relevance to your peers is so important. But also like, to be honest, what I was most into was black music. Like just all of the music coming out of Philadelphia and Atlanta and yeah, Erykah Badu, India Arie, and that's just all I wanted to do, really. But at the time, the record label were just like, you cannot go from being like this classical crossover star to hardcore new soul *laughs* and I was like whyyy?! *Annie laughs*. And I don't think, you know, I never quite got there. My music has been really experimental since, but again, I don't think I've ever actually done- I've never really given my full soul, my full voice. 

Annie [00:12:35] I've watched you on stage, a video of you on stage during the Pop Dungeon singing En Vogue, *sings* 'what you gonna be cause-' that one. 

Charlotte [00:12:45] Yes. 

Annie [00:12:45] But you did it there, trust me. It was like, I was like, wooow. I hadn't, like, never heard you sing like that before. I felt like that was soulful. 

Charlotte [00:12:55] Yes. Yeah. Thank you *laughs*. Yeah, I think for a long time I've been hiding, I've had to be so contained over the years, to be constantly watched, constantly observed, and I fought to protect a lot of people, including myself. And so, like, my ability to be vulnerable and to really write my soul, it just was completely inaccessible for me but I think I'm almost there. So I'm very excited about what's going to come next. 

Annie [00:13:27] I feel like you have such an active, creative brain, and you have so many ideas that are wildly different from each other, and there's a lot of courage there and fearlessness in pursuing those. I mean, you say that you've had to be contained but to me I feel like you've been so courageous. I've seen you doing John Peel lectures on misogyny in music. I've seen you on Newsnight talking about fucking nuclear warfare. Like there's a real fearlessness there too. A thick skin, I think. 

Charlotte [00:13:57] Yes. 

Annie [00:13:58] Because you really, you've stuck yourself out there a lot. Where does that come from? That kind of, I suppose, the courage to push on through the criticism. 

Charlotte [00:14:09] I definitely think that that's my, that's my parents and my family in general, like my granddad, all of them, really. But particularly my mother, I would say, she is absolutely unafraid to say exactly what she thinks all the time, which is very difficult for a lot of people *Annie laughs*. But she just gives no fucks and calls out hypocrisy and stuff whenever she sees it. I think my capacity for risk is high. Which is interesting actually, because I definitely do suffer with a lot of anxiety as well. 

Annie [00:14:50] Really? 

Charlotte [00:14:51] Absolutely. But for me, it manifests in- this is what I mean, like I had to be quite swan like, I suppose. 

Annie [00:14:58] Okay. I see what you mean. 

Charlotte [00:15:00] And actuallly, yeah, there's a shitload going on *laughs*. 

Annie [00:15:03] Because even, just even, like, starting a school, you know, like if you take away all the public shit, right, all the public eye stuff, just starting a school from scratch alone is anxiety inducing right? 

Charlotte [00:15:15] It was so hardcore. 

Annie [00:15:15] Let alone having the judgement of the public upon you on doing that. And then, you know, The Dreaming, like you have a sense of adventure about you as well where you're kind of, there's a willingness to kind of jump off the edge of things. 

Charlotte [00:15:26] Yeah. 

Annie [00:15:27] And not know where you're going to land, like. 

Charlotte [00:15:28] Yeah. There's a really lovely phrase that I like that's in The Artist's Way, which is a book by Julia Cameron, which is great. 

Annie [00:15:35] I've heard of that book, yeah. 

Charlotte [00:15:36] Called erm- and she says, 'jump and the net will appear'. 

Annie [00:15:41] Hmm! 

Charlotte [00:15:42] And I quite like that because truly, that is the way that all of life is. I mean, sure, there's probabilities and you can make calculated risks and such, but, you know, life is like a big old pot of uncertainty. There are lots of chaotic things going on, chaotic principles of just existence and the way that particles organise themselves and so I suppose it's just embracing that, really. And then also I think that the reason I have the courage to do these things is because I really give a shit. I love humans. I love humans, I love the planet, I love nature and I feel so passionate about us not fucking it all up. I really think that, you know, a utopia or a, you know, a version of utopia is possible, is palpable. I can feel it. 

[00:16:42] *Short musical interlude*

Annie [00:16:53] Charlotte, let me get onto the next change, please. You kind of talked about being more in the world. 

Charlotte [00:16:57] Yeah. I just think that probably, that it was the start of me being more of an activist, really starting to understand the way that society works. And not just understand but care about, because before I didn't really care about it. I didn't care about politics. I didn't think it had anything to do with me. I didn't even vote. 

Annie [00:17:17] What was the point, do you think? Was there a moment, an event, an experience that made you realise you did care? 

Charlotte [00:17:22] It was my husband. He was so politically alive and really understood the nuances of it, like really kept himself completely abreast of everything that was going on, had just like a super deep understanding about it. And so when I met him, I fell madly in love with him because he's so, his brain is absolutely brilliant. He was talking about stuff that I just didn't understand, like I just had no context for, but it definitely stirred something within me. And also, you know, I wanted to match him. I didn't want to be, I didn't want to be a basic *both laugh* and so yeah, I just, I learnt a lot from him. He's also an incredible teacher, to be fair, which used to really piss me off at the time, I'd be like *funny voice* God you're so patronising!  

Annie [00:18:16] *Laughs* but tell me about it anyway! 

Charlotte [00:18:17] *Laughs* so now I really appreciate it. So I think it was that and it was also that we were going through the Leveson inquiry at the time. We got deep into the whole phone hacking thing and trying to collect evidence and build a case. And then the more I started to understand the corruption there between sort of police, press, state, the more I was like oh gosh, this is really grisly. And I think that I've always been very motivated about injustice from when I was a little kid, from when I was in primary school, and I remember my best friend was mixed race and there was one boy that used to racially abuse her all the time and I used to just lose my mind and fight with this book *laughs*. So yeah, I think that injustice actually has always been like a huge motivator for me. But maybe through my adolescence then when everything became like all about me and, you know, just very different, I sort of lost, I lost that sense. But he brought it back, really. So, yeah, I think that the second big change was that real deepening into life where I just started to think, I really care about the people who are my people, which is the working classes essentially, and how corrupt this system is, how blatant- and it's become even more blatant. 

Annie [00:19:43] And did you find that you had detractors at the time? Did you have people in the public being like 'who are you to talk about that?'. 

Charlotte [00:19:49] Constantly. 

Annie [00:19:50] 'You've made millions of quid', you know, and how did you, I suppose, move through that to carry on being an activist in the public eye? 

Charlotte [00:19:59] Um, I actually think that that sort of criticism pushes me further. I almost need that to fan my flames. 

Annie [00:20:10] *Surprisingly* right. 

Charlotte [00:20:11] Because I'm like, well I'll fucking show you! *Both laughing*.

Annie [00:20:17] I love it. 

Charlotte [00:20:18] So it's sort of helpful! 

Annie [00:20:20] Can I ask you about erm, is it right that you left home when you were 16? 

Charlotte [00:20:23] Yes. Yep, I did. 

Annie [00:20:25] What was the context around that and I suppose how did that feel at the time? Because that's young. I mean, if you think about your kid now, you know, it's an interesting thing to look back on, I suppose. 

Charlotte [00:20:35] Absolutely. I think that at the time, you know, as I said, travelling constantly with your parents throughout your adolescence is hard. We were living in each other's pockets. We had no space. They had so much control and say over my life and my choices that I just needed to break free. And they would- they were trying to be fair to them like they were. But also, I was really famous and I had stalkers, I had kidnap threats. So they were trying to give me freedom, but they were also terrified. And so in the end I just *blows air* cut those ties, which I think a lot of young people do if they feel stifled. And, you know, my mother still hasn't forgiven me for it to this day. You know, like it was super tough for her to be so involved in my life and for all everything to be centred around me and my life, all of her life to be about my life, and then for me to just sort of like cut that dead was really very difficult for them both, but mainly my mother. But I, I honestly feel like I couldn't have done anything else. You know, I was just so chomping at the bit for the world and my freedom. And I wasn't that naughty, but it was, you know, like I went out with the boy from the docks who was a drug dealer *both laugh*. And so they were tearing their hair out just like, 'oh my gosh, you can't do this, we were thinking that maybe you'd go like, be with Prince William or something' *Annie bursts out laughing*. And I'm like, mate, we're all peasant stock from Cardiff, clearly not. 

Annie [00:22:25] But that is quite symbolic of the choices you've made, it seems, across your life. Like choosing to stay in Wales and not move to London, you know, pushing back on all of the things that could manipulate you into being someone that you're not. 

Charlotte [00:22:40] Yeah. 

Annie [00:22:40] It's like you've protected yourself very well. You've managed to stay sane and grounded. Your life's been fucking mental, how have you done that?! Like, how are you so normal?! 

Charlotte [00:22:51] I think the perspective, the word perspective is really important here. And I think even before, even before, you know, as exciting as those first couple of years were, I just had this sense that it wasn't that important. I just had this sense that it was just like, you know, with a pinch of salt, you know, the good and the bad. My parents were pretty wise because they were street wise, you know? And so they were always telling me stuff like, 'you've got to be nice to the people on the way up because they'll be the people on the way down and there will be a way down, and so you just be kind and- and so, yeah, they were full of like, you know, a lot of wisdom for that sort of stuff, as was the rest of my family being from like- we're a big, big Irish Catholic, welsh, working class family and yeah, I mean, just coming back and coming to family parties because we have loads of family parties like, you know, funerals, weddings, birthdays, and it would always be in a pub in Cardiff called The Duke Of Clarence which was a shit hole. They've knocked it down now because it's a SHIT hole *both laugh*. And all the family would sing, everybody would bring like their mini disks because there's loads of singers in the family so we wouldn't have any sort of disco or anything like that, everybody would sing. And everybody would just be like, ahh, they'd just have a ball and they'd get rat arsed and all the kids, there'd be millions of cousins just about playing, and it was just like, it was so rooted, it was so grounded. It's just so unpretentious and delightful, but hard, there's a lot of pain there, there's a lot of hardship, there's, you know. 

Annie [00:24:41] Mhmm, mhmm. 

Charlotte [00:24:42] And so I felt like I was just so rooted in, in my family and my upbringing, the rest of it was just like, you know this is sort of fleeting and just like, I could just see it for what it was, I suppose. And then I think because I saw such extremes, like when I did go out with the boy from the docks, I lived with him and his mum and his sisters for a time in like a bloody two bedroom tiny council house, and we lived- there was a crackhead who lived opposite who was always coming over for fags. 

Annie [00:25:14] You'd been living in five star hotels. 

Charlotte [00:25:16] Absolutely. 

Annie [00:25:17] Hanging out with world leaders. 

Charlotte [00:25:19] Yeah, with world leaders. 

Annie [00:25:19] Like, it's so extreme! 

Charlotte [00:25:20] Yeah, it was so extreme. Absolutely. Like total chalk and cheese and so- and everything in between. And so I think that that perspective just really- but it's just like how silly it all is, really. There's so much silliness to this whole thing. The fact that we're all running around and no idea about what it's all about, really, what the point of life is, is hilarious! *Annie laughs*. It's absolutely hilarious and brilliantly silly and funny and I suppose just that thought- the absurdity. of it all just sort of takes away a lot of that, a lot of the fear. 

Annie [00:26:04] What's your situation at home, you have three kids, right? 

Charlotte [00:26:07] Yeah. 15, 14 and almost 3. 

Annie [00:26:10] Okay. And what's that like, the age gap there? That's like an 11 year age gap. 

Charlotte [00:26:14] Yes. Yes. So it's great! Absolutely wonderful. I started birthing really young. I was 21 when I had my first baby. Actually, just as my two eldest were becoming teenagers and sort of starting to get like angsty and that sort of stuff, then the baby just came in and softened everything again and made everything full of love and gentleness and it's actually worked out really, really beautifully and built in babysitters. 

Annie [00:26:44] *Laughs loudly* that is such a touch! *Charlotte laughs* I never thought about that, it's ideal, wow. Does it make you look at your own life as a teenager? Like when you see your two kids at that age and think of what you were doing at that age and think, Jesus. 

Charlotte [00:27:00] Yeah, absolutely in part, of course. It makes you reflect on your relationships, you know, in order to try and truly empathise, just to be able to walk with them through the experience, then you absolutely draw on your own experience. And it's yeah, it's fascinating. Obviously, my experience was very different to the vast majority of people's adolescence. However, I also had a normal adolescence too, because I was determined to, because I was an adolescent and actually the only thing that was actually important was my friends and all the teenage stuff. You know, the rest of it, all of the sort of, you know, the flying here, there and everywhere and singing for all these important people and all of that stuff, it was secondary. 

Annie [00:27:44] Yeah. Another thing you learn upon being a parent is how much of your own upbringing you unconsciously bring into your own parenting. You know, they always say that when you're a parent you should go through a course to kind of become aware of how you were brought up and how you might want to do that differently. What have you learned about yourself and your own upbringing upon being a parent? 

Charlotte [00:28:07] I've learnt a lot and I suppose, you know, I've been doing it for quite a while now and I'm a much better parent now than I was when my two biguns were little because I hadn't done the work. And I still haven't done all of the work, you know, we're ever a work in progress, but I feel like I've got a much better handle on it now. I think my boundaries are terrible *laughs*. 

Annie [00:28:29] So how do you mean by that? 

Charlotte [00:28:31] I'm just like, I'm a bit of a rescuer and I want to sort of just sweep in and save everybody all the time, and so I tend to over give and that sort of stuff and- but also I'm deeply, deeply passionate about children's rights and the sanctity really, of young people being able to self-actualize, like start the process of really understanding who they are, to be able to be discerning, to make choices, to make good choices, to fail. I think all of that is so important and it's something that we- it's just not built into the system at all. It's not built into the system of education. It's not generally built into parenting because there's this sort of hierarchy, which generally means that the parents are really in charge. So we try, I try and work it with my children as much as possible that I'm, you know, it's their life. 

[00:29:25] *Short musical interlude*

Annie [00:29:36] Charlotte, you've cited the change you'd like to make as peacekeeping as opposed to pleasure seeking. Can you tell me a bit about that, please? 

Charlotte [00:29:46] Well I think that a lot of us are programmed towards dopamine hits, you know?

Annie [00:29:51] Yes. That's your smartphone right there. 

Charlotte [00:29:53] Yeah, absolutely. Whether it's tech, whether it's food, whether is sex, whether it's- all of it. None of these things in and of themselves are bad but like, it's just this body that we're all working with is exactly the same pretty much as our, you know, pretty ancient ancestors, even like pre-agriculture. And I think that there was probably a lot of peace. And that the pleasure stuff was, you know, in bits and bobs. And I think that we are constantly pleasure seeking. 

Annie [00:30:30] What's your pleasure seeking habits that you have to try and fight against? 

Charlotte [00:30:35] All of it, really. You know, I've just read an amaaazing book called Ultra Processed People, which has really blown my mind. You know, I've been trying to do stuff with food around being healthier for ages, but because of the way I was brought up, which is with terrible food, turkey, dinosaurs, Spam, chicken chargrills, microchips, like there wasn't a vegetable in sight unless it was completely stewed on a Sunday. So I really find the food stuff really difficult, but that book has been a real breakthrough for me and it's all come very, very easily. But yes, so I suppose I am trying to harness the practices in my life which take me to a peaceful place. I think that that's a life long seek.

Annie [00:31:25] What is the biggest change that you're going through in your life right now? 

Charlotte [00:31:31] I think the biggest change that I'm going through in my life is, I have built a fortress, and I've had to build a fortress to preserve myself, but I'm just feeling comfortable enough now, just about wild enough, rewilded to start to sort of systematically take those down and be the soft, fleshy, vulnerable love bug that I truly am *laughs*. 

Annie [00:32:01] And do you mean how you're presenting to the world or just in your house or in every aspect of what you do? 

Charlotte [00:32:07] I think in every aspect. There was a time when I didn't cry for years. I'd go years without crying and then when I met my husband I *laughs* we spent the first year, like I'd be- we'd get drunk and I'd be like laying on the kitchen floor just like *crying voice* 'play me some Radiohead on the guitar, I need to cry, I need to try and cry', trying squeezing out tears to him singing me Radiohead songs. 

Annie [00:32:33] And did you manage? 

Charlotte [00:32:34] Yeah, and that was, that has been sort of the start of these walls starting to come down. 

Annie [00:32:40] Ahhh. That's a very beautiful story- 

Charlotte [00:32:41] Awww! *Laughs*. 

Annie [00:32:41] That your husband helped you learn how to cry. That's very, very beautiful. 

Charlotte [00:32:46] And I suppose, you know, I'm still working at it because I still- that's my, the way that I would naturally deal with it is just very like, I have capacity, I am capable and I am strong and I am, you know, I don't let the emotion of it get to me. But that's the whole point of life really is to, is just to feel it all, until I become a peace seeking missile, of course *both laugh*. But until then, I need to cry my tits off in all sorts of different places and people and formats. 

Annie [00:33:20] Love it. I'm a big, big fan of crying. I cry at everything, I'm a cancer, I just cry at everything and anything. Um, okay, we have to mention- we have mentioned briefly but The Dreaming, it is your new retreat. It looks beautiful. To me that is a form of change. That is activism in itself. 

Charlotte [00:33:36] Absolutely. 

Annie [00:33:38] You trying to change people- how they see themselves, how they see the world, how they move through the world. It's a beautiful thing. What can we tell people about that? Like, they can go on the website, right? I'm sure it's all booked out but- 

Charlotte [00:33:49] No, no, no, not at all. We've got lots of spaces, so yeah please come and see us. I'm there pretty much every other week as a sound practitioner, which I love, and it's so humbling to get to hear people's stories. But I think that the way that I've designed it is so that it's for everyone. Like, no matter what's going on in your life, whether it's just that you need a bit of peace or relaxation and your job's really intense, whether you want a tech detox, whether it's that you're deeply grieving something, whether it's that you want to reconnect to fun and joy, whether you want to just go and wander in the woods and be absolutely awestruck by the beauty of it all, yeah, it's an unbelievably magical place. I cannot tell you, Annie. It's crazy. The magic is tangible and it is literally- everybody who comes there, that's just the words that keep falling out of people's mouths. 'It's so magical. Oh my God it's so magical!' *laughs*. 

Annie [00:34:45] Wowww, okay. Well, that's The Dreaming. Go look it up, go check it out. Charlotte, you're amazing. 

Charlotte [00:34:52] Ahhh. 

Annie [00:34:52] Thank you so much. I just thoroughly enjoyed that whole hour, and I thank you for your time. 

Charlotte [00:34:56] Ohh, you too! Thank you. 

Annie [00:34:56] Because you're so, so busy, so I really appreciate it. 

Charlotte [00:34:58] Ahh, no worries. Thank you so much. What a beautiful program you've got. I really enjoyed it too! 

Annie [00:35:07] Do please rate, review, and subscribe to Changes. It is so appreciated and if you fancy sharing it on social media too, that would be amazing. The more people we can get listening to these episodes, the better. We want to tell our stories far and wide. Changes is produced by Louise Mason through DIN Productions, and I'll be back next week with more! See you then.