Get to know… Nigel Charnock


We sat down with acclaimed choreographer Nigel Charnock ahead of Simcock Meets Charnock his much anticipated collaboration with pianist Gwilym Simcock for London Jazz Festival this month.

What do you fear the most?
What’s the worst that can happen? Death? I’m more afraid of other people dying, rather than me dying. I’ve ‘died’ on stage a few times, after that death loses its sting.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My lover’s.

What – or where – is perfection?
This is nothing being everything so nothing is perfect and nothing is imperfect it just is what it is.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction?
Lisbeth Salander from the Stieg Larsson trilogy. I love strong women who kill horrible men.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Candles and chocolate.

Which living person do you most admire?
Joni Mitchell. Why? Listen to the music! She’s a genius who doesn’t give a f**k what people think of her.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
To be able to fly – without a plane.

What’s your favourite website? and Ebay.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Elvis Presley, Billie Holiday and her great friend Lester Young, JS Bach, Van Morrison, Miles Davis, Underworld, June Tabor, Aretha Franklin, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Kathleen Ferrier, Bill Hicks, Joni Mitchell, Francis Bacon, Liane Carroll, Betty Carter, Louis Armstrong… oh dear – I could go on and on!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That it’s all quite meaningless and total chaos and that you have to fall in love with the chaos. Oh and that smoking gives you cancer and that no one in power should ever be trusted.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Telemann and Vivaldi and Anita O’Day and Hungarian Folk music (I’m about to make a piece in Hungary).

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre.
Writing poetry, drinking endless cups of tea in the 1980s, Keith Jarrett last year and kissing under a full moon by the river.