52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

save me from tomorrow, save me from tomorrow

As if he hadn't had enough press coverage recently, The Observer Music Monthly had a big cover story on Pete Doherty this weekend. The whole sorry saga makes me both very angry and very sad. Let's do a quick recap: bright young lad wins a scholarship from the British Council to read poetry in Russia. Bright young lad goes on to get 11 A* grades in his GCSEs and 4 A grades in his A-Levels and goes on to study English at Oxford University. Bright young lad drops out of University and forms a band (The Libertines) with his best friend. Band becomes famous, bright young lad gets involved with drugs and serves time in prison for breaking into the flat of his best friend and band mate. Bright young lad rejoins band but is thrown out again because of his erratic behaviour and drug use. Bright young lad starts dating Kate Moss and becomes a tabloid staple. Bright young lad is pictured smoking crack cocaine on the front cover of a national newspaper. Kate Moss enters rehab for drug addiction. Bright young lad forms a new band (Babyshambles) and continues to appear in the papers for his shambolic behaviour.

It's all shockingly predictable. Doherty seems to have been completely swept up with the glamour and the fame that his notoriety is bringing him (not to mention the supermodel girlfriend). He is no doubt fascinated by the romantic notion of himself as the latest in a long line of doomed artistic geniuses, and is revelling in the attention. For their part, the press (and I include broadsheets like The Observer here) are just waiting for the perfect end to the story: Doherty dying of an overdose. When that happens they can then cover the candlelit vigils that will be held by his devastated young fans. It's like watching a car crash.

The story in the Observer Music Monthly is a case in point: it's full of pictures of a wasted Doherty collapsed in dressing rooms on his band's latest tour for us to gawk at, but this being a serious newspaper, it also has some excerpts from Doherty's journals, which he gave to the journalist (presumably because he knew they would be published). There are doodles of Kate Moss, photos of himself, newspaper clippings, fragments of songs, a note written to Moss as she lies asleep by his side.... that kind of thing. These are presented as though they are artefacts worthy of display in a museum, when in fact they are just childish toss.

An example:

"'er... le Ritz, s'il vous plait monsieur' says I falling into the taxi."

Says I? Who does he think he is? Some sort of urchin from Dickensian London? He's not. He's a 26 year old boy who has seriously lost his way.

The thing I find most frustrating? What happened to the music? to his talent? I listened to the two Libertines albums this afternoon. I was fully expecting them to be poorly excecuted and over-hyped rubbish - but they're not. The first album ('Up The Bracket') in particular is excellent. The musicianship is a little shambolic, certainly, but it's very much a part of the appeal of the band. Doherty and Carl Barat swap vocals to good effect and it's a really exhilirating record. The second album ('The Libertines') isn't up to the same standard, but still has songs worth listening to, especially on 'Can't Stand Me Now', where the breakdown of their friendship is laid bare:

[sung by Barat] An ending fitting for the start
you twist and tore our love apart
your light fingers through the dark
that shattered the lamp and into the darkness cast us...

[sung by Doherty] No you've got it the wrong way round
you shut me up and blamed it on the brown
cornered the boy kicked out at the world...the world kicked back
a lot fuckin' harder now

I can't see how this story can have a happy ending. Nobody seems to want it: not Doherty anyway. If you can see past the record sales, the t-shirts and the posters, there was no romance in the way that Kurt Cobain blew his head off a decade ago, and there will be no romance if Doherty ends up the same way.

Will anybody miss the bright young lad at all?

Is he even still in there?

What a waster, what a fucking waster
You pissed it all up the wall

Pathetic. Tragic. Sad. Predictable.


By the way, my comment about being annoyed with Chris Martin for his repetitive lyrics the last time I listened to "X&Y" seems to have started a small (but growing) confessional for people to come out and say how disappointed they are, on reflection, with the new album. I should point out that, although it's okay for you not to like them, they're still kind of the house band around these parts.....

I was just saying, y'know? I like them, just not uncritically.


Has anyone else noticed that the anti-Christ has put a new album out? Bollocks to Bird Flu - shouldn't we be out marching in protest or something? Is there an innoculation we can give to kids? People might hear it.


  • At 10:51 pm, Blogger Mark said…

    Bright Young Lad? Not Bright, not that young, and sadly, if Lad means "loaded", than a fitting punishiment for him that is.

  • At 11:05 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Above all, what he needs is to be starved of the oxygen of publicity. He's perfectly capable of knocking out a decent tune (and I like Up The Bracket a lot too). I oscillate between sympathy and disgust for him. Definitely sympathy on the tabloid front - no matter how much he courts publicity, the papers have FAR MORE IMPORTANT stuff they should be telling us about and he's reached that level where journalists will do anything (set ups a speciality) to get what they need.

    He's also surrounded by hangers on and general dickheads who should be ashamed of themselves. Like people who told him to come out of rehab to attend his mate Wolfman's birthday party... when it was a lie just to get him back on the hard stuff.

    Nobody comes out of this sorry debacle with a great deal of credit, but the man doesn't deserve to die. And without the publicity which is being poured upon him, I'm sure he can make a half decent record.

  • At 11:19 pm, Blogger red one said…

    Addiction as entertainment? No thanks.

    Yes, the whole thing is sad. In many senses of the word.


  • At 12:16 am, Blogger Turners in the Country said…

    Haha, sorry, no offense intended with the X&Y comments. I still love Coldplay, but this latest album certainly doesn't compare to the previous two. I don't mind, I don't expect bands to make earth-shattering albums every time around. There are some decent tracks on X&Y I'll bide my time with them until their next great album comes out.

  • At 12:43 am, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I'm just so out of touch. In this case, I think that's a good thing.

  • At 6:41 am, Blogger Robin said…

    Every generation needs it's George Best's - but like everything else, he's a rank amateur by comparison.

    I still haven't been able to listen to X&Y all the way through. I hear enough whining from the kids without putting it on my stereo, too.

  • At 8:29 am, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Carl and Pete were idiots before they were famous too, if that's any consolation.

  • At 9:43 am, Blogger Damo said…

    At least they were entertaining idiots - I liked reading the early interviews. Although your comment sounds like 'insider knowledge'.

    I saw them once in the very early days, supporting The Vines at a tiny venue in Bristol. James Dean Bradfield from the Manics was there... and he was tiny too. All I remember about The Libertines from that day was them playing "What A Waster", Carl and Pete singing into the same microphone for most of the set, and all of them looking unfeasibly sweaty. Nice.

  • At 11:29 am, Blogger Teresa Bowman said…

    All I remember about them from that gig is that I thought they sounded like a particularly poor Buzzcocks tribute band. I do like "Can't Stand Me Now", though.

    And re Chris Martin: his lyrics just get worse and worse. The man's turning into Noel Gallagher (lyrically, not personally ... thank f***).

  • At 12:15 pm, Blogger swisslet said…


    excuse me whilst I go and investigate what appears to be a name-drop.


  • At 3:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Come On ST isn't this the standard fare of press? Docherty may be the latest potential young screw up that the Mail and Express can vilify, the Grauniad/Observer can mourn and the Sun and Mirror take great delight in splashing across their front pages. BUT

    He will only be in the news until someone else equally foolhardy and misguided to believe their own media hype manages to steal the limelight!

    Remember "brightness" is nothing without a smattering of common sense and and a large dollop of reality.

    And yes sadly he will probably be found at some point a drink and drugs addled wreck, and the eulogies will ring out long and loud about his lost talent.....

    How about a swift kick up the bum and a few less media types in his entourage?

  • At 6:32 pm, Blogger Jenni said…

    It's sad what a mess some people make of their lives, despite every opportunity to the contrary. *sigh*

  • At 6:38 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Not particularly insider knowledge; it's no secret that they were idiots before their success as well as after. Anyone who's ever spent 5 seconds in the same postcode as them can tell you that.

    However, Carl did go out with my partner's flatmate around the time of the Libs' first flutter of indie success, so I was able to witness just what a dreadful boyfriend he was, as well as being quite dull and vain. But I hardly call bloody Barat a namedrop.

  • At 7:19 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Barat is clearly a very vain man, even now.

    But I can I just applaud Charlotte here because I couldn't have put it any better myself.

  • At 7:51 pm, Blogger red one said…

    Ooh, Urban Fox! Ex's flatmate's partner to the stars!

    *rings 3am girls*

    Actually, a Fox connection is nearly good enough to raise Carl Barat and Pete Doherty in my estimation. But they were obviously just hangers on in the background.


  • At 7:55 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    yeah - I know, I know. It's not exactly an original thought, this is how the press works etc. etc, and I'm generally sick of the sight of that pasty-faced nincompoop.... but as I listened to the album again the other day, I was just struck by how sad it all was. I'm quite positive he was an idiot even then (you only have to read about how they revelled in the 'glamour' of their squalid lifestyle to know that), but that doesn't stop me pausing for a moment and reflecting on what a monumental fuck up he's making of his life. Perhaps I shouldn't bother. He clearly thinks it's all going swimmingly.

    Foxy - only teasing. I *know* you can namedrop better than that!


  • At 7:57 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    er... I'm sure that doesn't necessarily mean that you had a squalid lifestyle by association Fox....


  • At 8:29 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    What's sad is how many middle class boys get into bands in order to pull above their league and get free drugs, then end up believing their own press releases.

    A lot of my friends are musicians, but that doesn't make me a cocaine-addled egomaniac, no.

  • At 8:33 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    not cocaine-addled, anyway....



    (dammit - smileys are just lower quality over on blogger, eh?)

  • At 8:37 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    and fuck it. I think it is sad watching him destroy himself. I don't care how much of an idiot he is. I can be flip about a lot of things, but I won't be flip about that.

  • At 8:41 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Ten points to Gryffindor!

    (I was counting down to that gag, you old cheekster)

  • At 9:04 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    thank you very much foxy for teeing that one up!

    it's also very kind of you to ignore my bout of self-righteousness.... I'd say it was uncharacteristic, but I fear not.


  • At 9:47 pm, Blogger LB said…

    you two are congratulating each other on a Harry Potter gag?

    *rolls eyes*

  • At 9:50 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    lord b - er.... no.



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