A tribute to Dr Charlie Allbright, who we lost just before Christmas.

Just a note for those who knew Charlie, and want to attend his funeral. Here are the details…

And here’s Vanessa’s tribute.

My favourite memory of Charlie Allbright involves, unsurprisingly, a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which he’d organised. It was all going wonderfully: we’d dressed up, we’d thrown our confetti, and Charlie had been the perfect host of an event that was arguably the highlight of the Nine Worlds 2017 weekend. Then, during one song, an audience callback resulted in Charlie jacknifing to the floor in horrified hysterics, and for a few moments the show had to be paused because he couldn’t speak for laughing.

That was the joyous thing about Charlie: it always felt like you could have a giggle with him.

When I heard the terrible news that Charlie had died last week, my immediate thought was, ‘Charlie who?’ It was impossible, for those first few seconds, to associate death with the vibrant, laughing person that Charlie was. And then it hit, and the world seemed a suddenly alien place. Not Charlie. Surely. The friend who contacted me must be mistaken. Not Charlie, who had just recently been to get his hair done, and whom I was taking out for Christmas cocktails the next day. Not Charlie.

And yet.  Here we are.

Charlie was loved and admired by many of us in the Nine Worlds community. He was delightful, intelligent and at times wonderfully chaotic. He had a wicked sense of humour, an infectious energy and he could explode into bouncing excitement at a moment’s notice. So many of us are reeling with the news that he’s no longer with us – it doesn’t feel like the world without Charlie in it is the right world. A quantum leap gone terribly wrong.

Charlie’s work as a journalist and lecturer was varied and fascinating. His writing carries the same energy that he had: always interested, always investigating, always passionate. In particular, his book on Stephen King’s IT has been hugely anticipated. From the experiences he related, he had an immeasurably positive impact on his students. It was a joy to simply sit with him and discuss anything under the sun, but particularly his academic interests of horror, cinema and especially Stephen King. I was fortunate enough to speak on a Nine Worlds panel with him about theatre, the first time we met in person, and I was astonished at his energy and intelligence – especially on a Sunday morning!

In addition to his academic prowess, Charlie was one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. As he wrote in a recent blog post, “do what you’re afraid of.” He was extraordinarily courageous.

I have many other memories of Charlie. His love of the squirrels he’d tamed, more hysterical giggles, the love and appreciation he had for people. Watching horror shorts while egging each other on to the jump scare; feathers and being as fabulous as possible. His excitement over a new pound shop discovery, how completely and endearingly lovely, and loveable, he was.

It feels only proper to end this with a quote from Stephen King, as I imagine there are many of us who will always associate King’s work with memories of Charlie, and his sheer joy and passion. He is so terribly missed, and so very loved. Thank you, Charlie, for being really quite bloody marvellous, and being in our lives.

“Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand.”

 

 

 

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