I’d like to introduce you to a girl called Charlie Brades and her blog ‘Recognise the spin’. Charlie writes about issues that get her hot under the collar, be it feminism, the ‘tampon tax’, mental health or politics. She’s the perfect person to talk about on Try the other guy; an independent voice that you may not have heard about, but you sure as hell should have.
I first met Charlie a few years ago when she was working on a short film I’d written. Not only was she funny and charming, she was also hugely motivated and a ball of energy. That weekend, I quickly realised that if something needed to be done, you could guarantee she was already on top of it. Over time I have seen Charlie put her heart and soul in to different projects and causes, including taking part in BBC2’s Tribal Wives, where she lived with a Nomadic tribe in Turkey, to working on BBC3’s Free speech and campaigning for a 50:50 Parliament. I’ll also never forget a hilarious evening spent with her in the middle of nowhere trying to collect a shed with a woefully inappropriate van.
Even if you only meet Charlie for five minutes you’ll instantly see that she is a do-er and, more importantly, passionate about her beliefs and making a change. That therefore brings us to ‘Recognise the spin’, her fantastic blog where she writes about important issues in a straightforward way we can all understand and connect with. Trust me, this girl is just like you and she’s talking about the things that really matter.
I wanted to know more about what makes Charlie tick and what motivates her to write. We live in a time where publishing our thoughts and writing is easier than it has ever been; we can all set up a blog in an instant. It’s important that blogs like Charlie’s are found by people and shared, as they offer an alternative to the mass media that is paraded before us and show that individuality and alternative voices are still alive.
Rather than me talking aimlessly about Recognise the spin, I figure it makes more sense for Charlie to explain things to you in her own words. With that in mind, I asked her the following questions.
Why do you write Recognise the Spin?
I write the blog to get things off my chest. I never sit down and think ‘oh what shall I write about today’ it’s always because something has either pissed me off, changed my mind or turned my head. I’m a very emotional person and my mood is very dependant on the the things people are saying to me or the things I’m seeing. The blog is a way to reflect how I’m feeling without just being reactionary. Articles are either from experiences I’ve had or because of something I’ve seen in the news.
How did you get started?
A few years ago I was feeling frustrated with my job. I was working as a coordinator in television, which isn’t all so bad, but I was frustrated that I’d become a yes person. I was doing exactly what I was told and not having any say in the content I was making. I started to feel like I wasn’t being myself, I’d almost begun to teach myself not to have an opinion because I wasn’t exercising it enough. It wasn’t as though I’d stop feeling frustrated or lost interest in issues, they were all still happening in my head, I’d just lost my ability to vocalise it. I was working so much that it felt like it was my life. I’d always written poems and different things but never really committed to writing a proper blog full of my own opinions.
Each evening I’d get the tube home and see, in frustration, the sexualisation of women on posters and in the papers. One night to accompany one such poster I saw someone had etched into it (with what looked like a knife or one of those pointy compasses I used to use at school) “objectification = violence”. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I started making the links between different types of sexism in my head. Everything seemed to be linked. Having this moment of clarity gave me the confidence to just say what I was feeling. Luckily lots of other people were feeling it too and when I realised people are actually reading this it gave me the confidence to keep speaking my mind. I now talk about mental health, politics, feminism and whatever else is going on in front of my nose.
How would you like to see your blog develop?
Since I’ve started writing and making my own films outside of my television day job I’ve set myself a goal. To be Charlie everyday. Through writing my own blog I’ve been given different opportunities in my television career. I’ve been hired for jobs because people have seen my blog and wanted to meet me. I want the blog to be my base, somewhere I can always come back to and somewhere I can always just be myself. I make mini documentaries at the moment so hopefully one day I will be commissioned to make something longer. I’d love to be able to write and get a bit of money back. Recognise the Spin is hugely important to me and I hope that it can lead me to other exciting challenges. Rather than being a destination it’s my statement of intent, it’s where my ideas begin.
What I love about Charlie is her honesty and passion. She doesn’t sit on the sidelines, she gets out there and stands up for what she believes in. In today’s world where media seems so homogenised and controlled, Charlie is a breath of fresh air and her writing tackles our current perceptions, making us stop and think.
I know that I have felt the same as Charlie, you find yourself losing your voice as life takes over and you become engrossed in the day to day nature of the world you inhabit. It’s good to be reminded that others feel the same way too. You’re not the only one! It comforts me to know that individuality, belief and commitment is alive and strong and that there are blogs like Charlie’s that we can all take time to share. I love Charlie’s commitment to herself to ‘be Charlie everyday’. Sure, it sounds obvious, easy even, but I think it’ important to remind ourselves to be true to who we are. As we get older life kind of takes over and it’s easy to blend in, go with the flow and not rock the boat. Is that the person you want to be? Enjoy your life, but please make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process.
The all important nitty gritty: