Let’s see. It’s like you’re driving down through canyons and the beautiful mountain passes and you’ve just got that music that takes you…and you get the scenery just perfect, you know? …You have the wind in your hair.
This interview took place in my cousin’s house during a family BBQ. there were five of us in the room.
Charles is my cousin, but I call him Femi. I like our relationship because he introduces me to new things whenever I see him. I’m a fan of the Bourne Series because he long-term borrowed the collection to me a few years ago, and I’m able to look at politics through a different lens as he encourages me to do so. He’s in the Military, which is always a great conversation starter too. Charles is one of the first people I told about the interviews I planned to conduct and he said it was a good idea, so I ran with it. I guess the interview itself is a tribute to him.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
Charles Olorunfemi Fadipe.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I had a croissant and two bananas.
Do you like your hair?
Why do you like your hair?
Because it doesn’t give me any fuss. I just wash it and go, and that’s it.
(In the background, my sister shouts ‘wash and go!’ I believe she means a different type of wash and go).
What’s one thing you wish you had done?
Whenever. It’s all down to interpretation, so try to ask me as few questions as possible.
Um, one thing I wish I had done…appreciate the times I had when I was back in Uni, especially for the first time. You never really know how much you enjoy it until it’s gone and you’re actually working. So to appreciate the times I had, especially with friends. Once you get out of that college and uni space, everyone starts to part ways, and you just meet up occasionally. You really don’t get to have that feeling or experience again.
What is one thing you regret doing?
I don’t know that I actually have any regrets, because everything that I’ve done – whether I have succeeded or failed, I’ve always learnt from it. So, I don’t actually have anything that I regret doing.
A few people have said that which is really good; I have so many regrets. Do you find politics interesting?
I find politics very interesting.
Well, one is part of my job description. Being in the military, you have to be aware of the geo-political space around it. The military isn’t just going and fighting. The people that send you in are the politicians, so you have to know what they’re thinking, why they’re thinking it, and how what you’re going to do is going to further advance what they’re trying to do.
Interesting. How did you feel when you turned 18?
Like I was finally an adult. I could vote, I could drink if I so wanted to… everything that you can do as an adult is on you, and up to you.
Is there something that makes you happy?
Erm… I think I’m happiest when I am in a peaceful location, and as an introvert… sometimes I like to go hiking on my own just in the hills and mountains. The peace I find there is really tranquil. Wales, Scotland, or even going somewhere else…
Is there someone that makes you happy?
My family, my friends, that’s pretty much it, yeah.
Ok. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If you want something go for it. Which statement do you agree with the most?
If you want something go for it.
If it’s meant to be, it will happen?
‘If it’s meant to be, it will happen’ is kind of saying that because you have a dream, then somehow, it’s going to happen. But a dream remains a dream if you don’t act upon it. So you have to strive to make something happen.
So you agree with ‘if you want something go for it’ more?
When is the last time you read a book?
What book did you read?
Parts of Animal Farm…
I love that book!
…and parts of The Israeli Solution. Caroline Glick; it’s very interesting. I didn’t get to a Bible verse today.
I would have, maybe later today.
Okay. This is quite a deep one. Is there something you don’t like about yourself?
(A long pause ensues)
That is a tough one actually.
I tend to be quite satisfied with myself, but I guess if anything I’d probably say I’d like to improve my mental strength a bit more. There are certain times (and this is more in the military side of things), there are certain times when you have to push, and you’re in pain, and then you have to push even more. There’s always that time when you want to quit. So it’s not something I don’t like about myself, just something I want to improve, it’s to be able to increase that mental strength, just so that pain is easier to break through.
It is nice to have someone speak about where they can improve, rather than focusing on the things they feel like they will struggle to change about themselves.
Nice. Why do people like the Spice Girls so much?
(He sighs) There was a generational change, you know? They were like the advent of this whole ‘Girl Power’ thing coming up.
(My sister disagrees in the background. This question was her idea.)
You guys are thinking ‘what is he talking about?’ But back then, you had boy bands and you had singles here and there, but you didn’t really have any iconic girl group or anything like that. The Spice Girls swept in and they were having fun; their songs were catchy and they attracted a lot of women to bands and music in general.
At that time, Spice Girls were bigger than Destiny’s Child.
Do you care for 90s Rnb?
Of course. It takes me back to my childhood.
Can you use an analogy to describe love?
Let’s see. It’s like you’re driving down through canyons and the beautiful mountain passes and you’ve just got that music that takes you…and you get the scenery just perfect, you know?
(Femi starts smiling) You have the wind in your hair.
(We were all so happy with his response and someone asks why he answered the question so sincerely. Femi replies ‘We care about you guys, so we do things properly with you. That’s why’).
Why don’t all friendships last forever?
Well, all friendships don’t last forever because not all friendships are friendships. Some friendships are what you’d actually call acquaintances. So when you’re in school and college, you make acquaintances with whoever you hang out with there, but you wouldn’t actually get to know them outside of whatever it is you’re doing.
So you talk about the subjects that relate to you, but you don’t know them deeply. Your real friends are the people you get to know; you get to know their deepest fears and they get to know yours. You’re comfortable sharing your hopes and dreams with them. That’s why those friendships last longer.
So it’s basically friendship versus acquaintance?
Who do you miss?
This is an interesting question, because I don’t tend to miss people. I always feel I’m going to see someone again. For example, my brother Justin. He’s been in Norway doing a PhD for two and a half odd years and I don’t really miss him,
You don’t miss him?
Not really. I’ve seen him once, when I went to Norway – but I don’t miss him. He’s always chatting on the phone with my sister… I always know what people are doing. Maybe that’s why I don’t miss him so much.
What do you miss?
What do I miss… sometimes peace and quiet.
Again, it comes with being an introvert, especially when its gets really busy and there are a lot of people around, it saps my energy to be around them for too long. Almost like today. I need that peace and quiet to regroup.
How are you?
Right now, I’m actually pretty good. I’m back into this thinking space because of this (the interview), so I’m doing well.
Do you believe in God?
Because everything I’ve seen in my life at the moment points to it. There’s no evidence that points to a lack of the existence of God.
Ooh. Good one. Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
No, I don’t think I have…no.
Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
My politics have changed. When I was younger, I thought that everything could somehow be fair and that there’s a magical solution for everything. But as I’ve grown up, the realisation has set in that not everything is fair.
So equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?
Equality of opportunity. It depends on personal responsibility after that.
(Femi and I had a conversation about these terms once. It’s an interesting way to look at politics and the manifestos of various political parties.)
What did you get in GCSE science?
Double A (AA) back in my day.
Favourite TV show?
I have a few. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy…Power.
(My cousins start shouting in the background. We didn’t expect him to say Power)
Billions, Gilmore Girls…
(Then we all started talking about TV shows to watch)
I feel that that I am a spirit, with a soul that connects to my mind; the mind controls the body, and that produces the essence that you see before you.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
I don’t really care, but you know, people say that I’m quite photogenic. Um, I was at the bus stop one time, just waiting as you do. And this woman comes up to me and gives me a card, and was like ‘have you ever thought about modelling?’ I was like ‘me?’ and she said ‘yeah if you ever think about it, give me a call.’
(I’d never heard that story before)
What’s your favourite type of sandwich?
I don’t really eat sandwiches that much, but anything with meat in it, and I’m good.
What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes – it fluctuates. Joy is something that’s within you; more of a constant.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
Books. I don’t really buy food, or clothes. As you guys can see… I’m not that stylish!
Can you spill your heart out to me?
Spill my heart out?
(In the background someone tells him to not do it, and just say no like everybody else. Femi ignores her.)
At the moment, I’m just very happy that you guys are all around here, because this is one of the memories that I’m going to keep in my head. When I’m going through rough times, I’m going to think about these moments…
(One of my cousins speaks about how not many people are honest like that)
…You have to take the time to appreciate the moments you’re in because they’re going to go before you know it. It will carry me through tough situations and give me strength.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
That’s difficult. I don’t know, but it’s something that will require a lot more thinking. It’s very hard to be able to discover something you’re ignorant about that everyone else knows. By definition, you don’t know what you know, so you can’t really say what you don’t know because you don’t know it.
Okay. Last question. Is there something you want people to know about you?
Hm. I mean, there aren’t things I really want people to know about me…not really. Just that I like my family.
(‘Aw!’ says everyone in the background)
Except from my sister. I don’t like my sister.
(I believe he was joking).
It was a nice drive back to London from Birmingham; I look forward to the next time I’ll see Femi. Or Charles.