Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charlie Is My Darling

Although this particular post isn't about Ian Stewart, there is some connection to his position in the Rolling Stones, in the broader pesrpective of Brian Jones, his fellow original member, hinting at leaving the band in the near future. Film director Peter Whitehead was asked to record a documentary of life on the road with the Stones. The opportunity that presented itself was a two day (September 3-4, 1965) tour of Ireland. The resulting movie, Charlie Is My Darling, was premiered in January 1966 but failed to get an official release.

Peter Whitehead recalls: Andrew Oldham was completely responsible for Charlie; it was his idea. He gave me complete freedom and was very generous of spirit. With the realism of Charlie I tried to show the Stones were just the lads next door. I was really trying to portray these guys as ordinary blokes to whom something amazing had happened, who loved their music and were doing what they wanted to do. But there were no guarantees for the future. There was no guarantee the Stones would last even a year longer.

For me it was a revelation that pop music was so important and powerful, that it was such a deeply archetypal experience for teenagers. I was completely detached, observing it as someone who was interested in the Rolling Stones as a social phenomenon. It was obvious I was a little aloof, not like some guy fawning over them. It was very moving for me because of everything Brian Jones talks about in the film.

Brian obviously had a total premonition about his own death. I would say for a young guy like that, a total narcissist, for him death was the trip anyway. He was in his prime, yet even then he was talking about the indeterminacy of everything, everything coming to an end. He could sense this rejection, this fall, this failure, this sinking into oblivion. It was all there already; he was being stalked.

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002. Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Andrew Loog Oldham, 2Stoned, Vintage, 2003.

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