Patta Vol. 2: What I’ve Learned
Words: Charlie Dark
As a DJ, poet, yoga teacher, and community leader, Charlie Dark MBE is a modern-day renaissance man. If the first half of his career was defined by music, as an international touring DJ, co-founder of Attica Blues, and A&R at Mo’ Wax records, the second half has seen Charlie tread a more altruistic path as the founder of the running for wellness movement, Run Dem Crew.
What I would do differently
My journey to this point in life has been full of twists and turns, but I wish I’d learned the importance of managing my mental and physical health at an earlier age. Deciding to lead a healthier lifestyle led to forming Run Dem Crew in 2006, and 16 years later we are still rocking. Since then, we’ve helped and inspired thousands of people around the world on their journey to fitness and well-being. I wish I started in my twenties when I first entered the music and creative industries, as the burnout was horrible. I think it’s very hard to thrive in these worlds without some form of movement practice; burning the candles at both ends is not sustainable and sleep is not the cousin of death;
What I’ve learned about trust
It’s okay to trust; not everyone is out to hurt you. Past experiences shouldn’t be detrimental to building new relationships. It’s called the music business because it is a business, not a plaything. Expect to get burned and move on as it comes with the territory. Trust in yourself to learn from the process and not let it eat you up from the inside. Being closed to what the universe can offer results in limiting experiences. Trust in the process; it’s called LIFE.
What I’ve learned from my travels
Reality beats misinformation each and every time, and the media's portrayal of a culture will never be as life-affirming as experiencing it first-hand. To understand a subculture, you must travel to its source and immerse yourself in all its nuances. What I thought hip-hop to be was vastly different from the culture I encountered on my early trips to New York in the 1980s. It gave me a deeper appreciation of the art from the people behind it and their struggles to bring it to fruition
Travelling from an early age opened my mind to new possibilities, aspirations and ways of executing ideas and is what I credit most for my successes. Without the internet to trap me in my bedroom, I had to go out and experience the world up close and personal. I couldn’t be a voyeur; I had to participate.
What’s the best advice I’ve received
1989, Soho. I met Malcolm McClaren on my first day of work after leaving school and he imparted some advice in my mind that has been my north star since forever. When I naively asked him where he’d bought the boom box on the cover of the Duck Rock album he looked at me with a baffled smile and told me he’d had it made. In that moment, I realised that no dream was impossible if you could find the right people to make it happen. That’s the moment when the seeds, power and importance of community were born.
If you want to get something done, either do it yourself or find the right people to help you make it happen. Don’t wait for the world to come round to your way of thinking. There are people who replicate what is happening now, and there are those who inform what will happen in the future. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so why wait for tomorrow when you can do it now?