Charlie Watts stylist William Gilchrist on the life and style of the Stones drummer
Time and space, the rhythm that a drummer maintains, silence, punctuated by a nuanced and expressive pulsation. Seconds, microseconds, centimeters, millimeters: Charlie Watts explicitly knew how and when to act, whether it was producing music or having a costume made, he was impeccable.
Elegance, style and wit are three adjectives you will have seen appear in many of the Charlie Watts tributes that were written over the past week. He was curious and appreciated the magic that life offered him, as well as the artisans who make our world a better place – they were a constant source of pleasure for Charlie and this inclusive spirit was something experienced by all around him. .
Charlie could spend hours marveling at the splendor of objects in museums and galleries around the world, and spending so much time discussing fabrics and finishes with his tailor. His pleasure was still palpable as I watched him browse samples; appreciate, feel and consider. It was a pleasure that I found contagious.
To truly appreciate simplicity, you have to guarantee and respect quality and dedication. Charlie did. Just as the rhythm created by his wands drove, enclose, and seduce with the simplest of gestures, his ability to be a whispering hurricane was unique. Its light was a glow that had the strength and effect of lightning.
A collector in a wide range of worlds and objects, from Civil War guns to vintage watches and pieces from Edward VIII’s own wardrobe, his pleasure was infectious and the smile he would give when he would see you understand was as contagious as the sparkles in his eyes. The conversation ranged from purebred horses to Stubbs, and from Charlie Parker to ‘Wild Horses’ and his beloved family, and you knew you were sharing time with one of life’s best craftsmen.
It hurts to think he’s somewhere else now, and my heart goes out to his family, who adored him. On behalf of the millions of lives he has touched, all I can say is, “Thank you, Charles”.
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