There is a saying in Turkish “Pillar of the House” used for those keeping the house together with their patience, wisdom, strength, and guidance. Looking close enough, you might see a few cracks that are the witnesses of the magnificent journey and experiences that no word can describe. Those pillars tell you their story without talking much but mean a lot. This is the Charles Crook from the eyes of an Ahmet who came a long way to lean his back to have a tiny drop of wisdom from his cracks.
Lonely Hearts Ad
You may not remember but you gave an LSRI talk once on ‘Interdisciplinarity’ where you started and ended by making the comparison with GSOH on lonely hearts pages. The point I took (hopefully related to the one intended) was that we often use terms because we feel we must, without critical reflection on what that term adds, or how one might present a position against. Apart from my utter admiration/envy that you presented throughout without slides yet had everyone’s attention from start to end, that talk stuck in my mind as just one of the many times where you got me to think more, and I often look back at these times (perhaps with rosy-tinted glasses) as my motivation for choosing this career. So thank you for that. And the other stuff. Andrew (Manches).
Man from the FCO
Charles has always had this amazing patrician air and way of talking, which has led me for years to picture him as the man from the FCO, complete with white linen suit and panama hat…
Charles is La Jetée, an experimental black-and-white French film from 1962. Due to a small budget, the film is told economically through a still photo-montage and spoken narration. The end result is a far more considered and thought-provoking piece of cinema. Like the film, Charles is both precise and economical and leaves a lasting impression whenever I meet him. Whether it's discussing ideas in his lectures, reading his work, or chatting over a pint, I think of Charles as equally considered and thoughtful and always enjoy my interactions with him.
Charles is a compass gesturing towards a set of consistent, credible principles, not a weathervane reacting to the vagaries of the day’s conditions. I have long trusted the point of his compass to serve as an excellent guide through often pretty murky terrain. And I always rejoice when it points, as well, towards conviviality and a quality ale.
Charles is the only surviving dinosaur: the walking thesaurus. With the most ample vocabulary, Charles can use the most exquisite and extravagant words that will have you thinking for days about what he meant.
Tin Can Telephone
The tin can telephone comes to mind. It evokes the spirit of Charles. Instantly recognisable, it reminds us how technology evolves; makes us playfully question how human communication is assisted or hampered by such devices; and promotes happy associations and memories notwithstanding the (occasionally) gruff exterior.
Blue Bic Biro
When thinking of an image which represents my experiences of Charles as a tutor, an examiner and a colleague, albeit for a short period of time, I came up with a blue Bic biro. Like the Bic biro, I have always found Charles to be reliable, constant, versatile and humble. I have specifically chosen the colour blue as it is a calming and reassuring colour, which is how I picture Charles.
Charles isn’t any old badger, and he certainly doesn’t ‘badger’ his friends and colleagues. However, Badger from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ is surely Charles’ alter ego – wise, kind, measured and very well informed. Good luck in your retirement, Charles – emeritus life is certainly to be recommended!
Charles has been there in one way or another throughout my academic life. His teaching inspired my interest in cultural psychology when I was an undergraduate (his was the only module that made any real sense to me), he supervised my PhD, and helped me to open the door to my second career as an academic. We have met again several times over the years and neither his fearsome intellect nor his kindness have changed. Thank you and happy retirement Charles; it is surely well deserved!
The Triangle: art / science / culture. Charles is for me a contemporary Renaissance thinker who has always inspired me by being able to bring together these three aspects of intellectual endeavour, in his teaching and research. And, like Newton, I think his achievements intellectually have broken new ground in our field. The Prism: Read it left-to-right and this illustrates for me his ability to see and reflect diversity in perspectives on intellectual issues that others may present as black-and-white facts, givens; read it right-to-left and this represents for me his ability to focus on the key issues amongst what is often obscuring noise in arguments and research findings. Rock legends: Let’s face it, Charles is also a bit of a secret hippie IMHO…!
Charles is the perfect Dry Martini: Dry, ice-cool, iconic.... and after two rendezvous, you find yourself- against your better judgment, agreeing with all his suggestions!
The Press Bar
Charles has similarities to the Press Bar in Glasgow. A convivial place where discussion can be far reaching and profound, with sometimes just a bit of heat. A place where psychologists and related disciplines have mingled, and where undergraduates can provoke and learn. And of course there is the opportunity for a drink.
Tower of Strength
Charles is simply a tower of strength
Charles is an oak tree. Deep rooted knowledge, experience of the changing landscape and branches that shelter development for others, providing a safe and productive environment for diverse intellects to achieve their potential.
Charles is inscrutable. His mask is multi faceted, reflecting his intellectual powers. Sometimes the colour is missing, but the mask remains. He keenly observes us, learns from us, but what do we really know of him? Ancora Imparo.
Mountain in the Mist
A mountain the mist is what I think of when I think of Charles. So solid and steadfast, standing out from others as a font of knowledge. Whilst at the same time, he has a certain amount of mystery to him – I know he has done much in his past, but I’m not aware of most of it. He always strikes me as knowledgeable, expert and wise, and happy to share his opinions whilst always remaining unassuming and somewhat humble.
Ghost in the Shell
When I have been asked to provide an image representing what Charles means to me, I immediately thought about a “ghost in the shell”. First, I was not sure about why… But I realized that I met Charles more often in one of the mostly computerized relicts than in real life. It is a pity. On the bright side, however, this means that Charles remains here amid his retirement and we all will have many more chances in the future to meet and learn from him, either in person or through his avatars. Thank you, Charles! And I wish you all the best for the future, wherever it will take you.
Charles is like a grand tree that provide life to its surroundings with its immense knowledge and experience, but his great knowledge and English might have looked a bit intimidating for students like me 🙂 . When I was a child I was kind of intimidated by grand trees, just as Charles when I took my first course from him. But then, Charles shared his tremendous knowledge and experience so kindly that no one could ever feel any hesitation while approaching him. So he is a grand tree who welcomes everyone.
Path the forest
Charles is a path in the forest. Compelling and intriguing, one wants to know where it is going. It is sensitive to the topography of the terrain through which it passes and is reflective of the footsteps of those who have passed that way before. Sometimes the going is gentle, but at other times steps are necessary to overcome particular obstacles. It stretches out in front of you, and following is its own reward.
Game of Patience
Charles is a game of patience, because as my supervisor I feel Charles had to have oodles of it with me.
Hoa Thi Thanh
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you for having always been my greatest teacher. Metaphorically, you are like my lighthouse. Specifically, your expert guidance, invaluable support and kindness have been lighting my way. Therefore, I could stay safe and in a right direction to the ‘port’ of our great research project- the YouListen and that of improved knowledge and research skills for further contributions to education and research. I am full of admiration for you. Indeed, your professional life is full of self-actualization with your teaching and research masterpieces. I wish you and your family good health, happiness and success
a Charles of many layers, the work Charles - determined but helpful, the social Charles - good company, good food and definitely good beer, and the many hidden Charles’ - you know they are there but aren’t quite sure what they are...
Charles is a saxophone. He is smooth and sophisticated and a lot of fun. He speaks in melodic tones and what he might say next is as unpredictable and entertaining as jazz
Charles is a surprise egg. There is a paper cover at the surface of the egg which protects the chocolate - likewise, when I attended the first class of him, I was so nervous and scared but then he welcomed us to the class with his kind and protective nature. I truly appreciate him and the time he spent helping me on many occasions during my MA and PhD. He is also as sweet as chocolate which is just under the paper cover of the surprise egg; I will never forget all his jokes and all the teasing with Shaaron, for some of which my penny dropped after some purposeful thinking. 🙂 Finally, there is a plastic egg which might have any surprise toy inside, the toy which needs to be built. Charles is always unpredictably wise for me; he always asked questions that made me think quite a while. His one of the first questions in my CoS viva was what I meant by "learning", which for us still remains as an awesome question, doesn't it?
Charles has been my shiny handle. He is quite elegant, bright, delicate and gives a sense of calmness and comfort. Charles taught me that most closed doors needs knowledge, hard work and patience, and that at the end, overcoming obstacles is wonderfully gratifying. He effortlessly takes the vast body of knowledge he has and is able to reduce it down to something that I can grab on to. I will forever be grateful to the one and only person who taught me brilliant ways to create shiny handles to every closed door or drawer I encounter. Charles.
Charles is an alternative map. Alternative maps, like the Peirce Quincincial projection, encourage you to look at and explore the world in a different or novel way. Just like many conversations I have had with Charles where he challenged the way I looked at something and encouraged me to see the world differently.
A roo date
Professor Crook is one of the most erudite people I know. His ability to engage others with his learning, understanding, and research, combined with his ways with words, and his smooth mellifluous voice, are qualities which characterise Charles and are just some of the reasons why I will miss him enormously.
Being supervised by Charles is like looking at one of those images that look like one thing, but when you look again it is something else entirely. During my PhD, I would turn up to supervisions thinking I had figured something out, only for Charles to make a comment that would make me realise I had completely the wrong end of the stick, and of course Charles is right and his view of the world makes much more sense! This is undeniably a sign of a great teacher. The important part is that he was always so gracious about it and I never felt stupid. Enjoy retirement Charles, you’ve certainly earned it!
Charles is a magician’s hat. Classic but subversive, refined yet raffish, full of surprises. A seemingly inexhaustible vessel of productions. A conduit of the delightful and the marvellous. Truly an agent of metamorphosis
Charles is an oil tanker. He transports valued resources between different places efficiently and reliably, while respecting the boundaries of international shipping lanes at all times. Although once a target for Somali pirates, his skilful seamanship prevailed.
I first met Charles in the era of the BBC Micro. Like the Micro he is robust, dependable, expandable and noted for the quality of his operating system. He performs equally well in classroom and higher education settings. At heart he is guided by a public service ethos.
Charles a keen sportsman (provided the sport concerned goes with consuming beer and crisps). He deserves to be top of the Southwest England shove ha'penny league
Charles is a peaceful lake. Staying with him is like being beside a peaceful lake, the quiet surface with silence, the deep water with deep thinking, and the mirror-like surface reflecting the vast sky and those scenes as they like
Once when questioned by a group of international students about the general impression that British food lacks spice, Charles explained that British beef was so high quality that did not need extra seasoning. That is an apt description of Charles too. He is a person of such evident high quality—with an impressive depth of intellect, endless reserves of curiosity, and enviable kindness—that he has no need for embellishments. I am truly lucky to have learned from and with him the past several years.
Charles is a magnifying glass. He has the power to reveal what was invisible before, demonstrating how our vision can go deeper and deeper and deeper. Like a magnifying glass, he is also an inspiration for more simple objects (such as pencils or paper clips), who wonder: will they ever become so sophisticated as the magnifying glass?
A pint of beer, preferably real ale, because he like a pint of beer that has a good head. It also reminds me of all the pleasant times I have spent with Charles having a pint. Hopefully we will share many more, because he now only lives around the corner
This is not Charles
In honour of Magritte, or because I did not have a better picture, I have called the image 'This is not Charles': I remember discussions with Charles at various conferences. He was unfailingly coherent and polite.
When I think of Charles, I am reminded of a Dip Dab, a retro sweet that I enjoyed on many a walk home from school. What is a Dip Dab you may ask? A Dip Dab is a packet that contains some sherbet and a lollipop – Strawberry is the best, although there was lemon available too. Why does thinking of Charles conjure up the image of a Dip Dab? Well now, Charles is a hero of cool retro style to me, from music to clothes, to conversation and intellect. Dip Dabs are all natural colours and flavours and therefore good and honest with no nasties hidden inside – just like Charles. The sherbet is fizzy, exciting and a little surprising the first time round, and the lolly is sweet and just the right artefact for the purposes of scooping up the sherbet so that you can enjoy the sweetness of the lolly and the slightly sour flavour of the sherbet all at the same time. However, you never quite know if the lollipop or the sherbet are going to run out first! Clearly, this is a sweetie with Charles written all over it.
I see Charles as an owl. if I had only one word to describe him, that word would be 'wise'. Charles doesn't speak unless he has something worthwhile to say - hence, what he says is always worth listening to. On first acquaintance, he can be rather scary. He sets himself and others extremely high standards and can appear to be critical of nearly everything and everyone! However, when you get to know Charles, you realise that he is kind and supportive as well as intellectually challenging. He has been both kind and supportive to me over many years. I have appreciated his wisdom, and I have learnt a huge amount from him - in particular because Charles asks interesting and original questions. Thank you Charles - you are my owl.
Charles is a rock cake. He is surprisingly sweet, hiding this beneath a surface which does not reveal that to outsiders at first glance. And he has the most amazingly abilty to eat nothing but cake (the true son of a baker), so I assume he is sugar all the way down. Finally, he is my rock. I have relied upon his good nature more times than I can possibly count over the last decades.
This image represents Charles to me in a few ways, firstly the man with the Computer error, this is the Work Charles I know, he has called on myself when he is having issues with technical things he cannot resolve, at time he can be very frustrated and when you find his solution you can become frustrated also, mainly because the issue is a “User error”. The Beer barrel and glass represents the Charles I know socially, he loves a good pint and chatting in the pub after work weather it be just a quick beer or a leisurely meal and a “few” before he has to rush to the train station to get his train home. Finally The VIZ book, this to me shows Charles’s humour and caring side, humour, well that’s self-explanatory “VIZ”, why caring? well that’s because he visited myself when I was ill a couple of years ago and he gave me a copy of this book, I will always remember him just popping in to see how I was. The people who did this when I was ill were very few and I will always remember their kindness
La Chouffe. A strong Belgian beer, enjoyed by Charles. Charles may or may not be strong (he certainly has a strong intellect, of which I am frequently in awe), but he is definitely not Belgian (as far as I know). He is good company with whom to quaff a Chouffe or two, even though we have not done this recently. I am 'chouffed' to know him.
Classic Jazz Record
Charles is like a classic jazz record. You notice something new every time you listen to it, which makes it always pleasant. I am thankful for his generous support, wise advice, and very enjoyable conversations.
Modern Renaissance Man
Charles is an unforgettable modern rennaisance man. He is not really modern, I think he is even slightly suspicious of anything called "modern", but he is not exactly renaissance either. So he must be modern rennaisance, if that compound exists at all, but it exists with Charles. And of course there had to be a French word albeit Charles is quintessentially English. He is a Shakespeare with an apple tablet, having Miles Davies' Kind of Blue playing in the background. I had this image in my mind because Charles knows his words, he is the word master, crafter and crowds hypnotiser, an enlightening wordsmith, whose presence fills the room. And he is also a techie. An incredibly kind and thoughful person, critical yet well-meaning and sharp-minded, creative and inventive. This Shakespeare listens to jazz, where orange and blue meet. Sophistication, art, science and theatre are his middle name. Charles is a man of many colours who has the light that never goes out.