Shelfie with Charly Cox


Hello, my name is Charly Cox and I am
the author of Validate Me, my second collection of poetry and prose all about
how I had a mental breakdown over my constant search for validation online. I
promise it’s a bit funnier than it sounds. I’m here in Waterstones Piccadilly, my favourite Waterstones and in my favourite
section, which obviously is the poetry section. And I’m going to tell you
three books that have both inspired me personally, helped me through a lot of
really difficult times, and also in my career as a writer.
The first one is Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest. I picked this up in a
bookstore in New York and it was when I was going through a really confused time
with my career and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be, what was
tangible, and where I could put my passion. And I sat cross-legged on the
floor for about an hour in this book shop until they told me to leave and buy
the book and thought oh my god I want to do this. I want to be Kate Tempest. Alas,
I’ve not quite made it yet. But, it was all because of this poem that I’m going
to read to you now, called Down The Pub. It was something about the shape of his
face the size of him. I couldn’t take my eyes
off him. I just wanted him to know without me saying that I needed him to
put me in my place. We were joking all together, shooting pool.
I was standing, legs apart, smoking fags and swearing. Beside me with their
slender waists and shipwreck eyes the girls were dancing. And I was dying to be
like them. Until one put her breasts against my body and my feelings changed. The next book I have picked is Pour Me A Life by A. A. Gill, which… I don’t even know
really where to begin with this. I read A. A. Gill’s columns as a kid in The
Times and I felt very naughty that I was getting to pick through them and it
was ultimately what made me want to become a writer. His use of language,
the way that it’s so poetic and it feels a bit mischievous and just,
it’s just brilliant. And this book is about his grapples with alcoholism
and how he forgot a huge period of his life. But he paints the perfect portrait
of what I think I always imagined a real writer to be. Which was in dodgy, dirty
pubs in Soho and painting people and stealing like legs of lamb and cooking
and just everything that he details is a life I think now lost, in an artistic
sense. And I have a very strong feeling that one day we’ll study this
book the same way we’re given Orwell. And then to finish off I’ve picked Franny
and Zooey by Salinger. This was given to me by a friend whose mum had read it and
said oh my god you’ve got to call Charly and you’ve got to get her a copy of this
book because she’s gonna love it. I’m admittedly not very good at reading
novels, I can never quite make my way all the way through. But this I read in an
evening and I just felt so heartbroken that I’d never get to read it again for
the first time. Am I Franny? Is Franny me? I will never know but I really found
myself in the pages of this book. And it’s just the perfect length and it’s
like a lovely, sad short story which speaks to my soul in many, many,
simplistic ways. But yeah, fabulous book.

1 thought on “Shelfie with Charly Cox

  1. Holy crap, is the book her elbow is leaning on 'Glaring Through Oblivion' by Serj Tankian?! 😱💖

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