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For Pete's sake
The media obsession with Pete Doherty is ghoulish and unbecoming.
Eamonn McCann, 16 May 2006
What will they do when they look up some day and discover they still have Pete Doherty to kick around? Once they recover from the disappointment?
The more contemptible sections of the media cheerfully anticipate that the Babyshambles singer won’t be around much longer, that he’ll OD or somehow otherwise crash out in a week or a month or at least in the next year. Then they’ll be able to essay a sigh and affect regret in their obits. Some will have the contrived panegyrics written already, in which a nicely-chosen selection of phrases such as ‘tragic inevitability’, ‘fragile genius’ and ‘Kurt Cobain’ will be expertly deployed.
The nadir (so far) was plumbed in the Sunday Independent on April 23rd, in which a journalist who’s had a relationship with another rock singer allowed herself to be pressurised or persuaded into comparing and contrasting Doherty with her drug-troubled ex. Readers were regaled with details of the picture of bloody dishevelment she claimed she’d been confronted with upon once returning home to discover her partner, "having eaten 100 tabs of acid and bitten lumps out of Beach Boy records."
A hundred? Exactly? Had he kept accurate count as he tripped and confided the figure? All that we learn from this yarn is that the woman concerned knows nothing about acid. Consume a hundred tabs and you die. That’s if it were possible to down a ton of tabs, which it isn’t. And, Beach Boy records? Only the Beach Boys? He hadn’t snacked on a few Billy Fury singles in advance of the main course, then? Or polished off a couple of Eagles albums for afters? Or idly munched his way through the ouvre of Freddie and the Dreamers?
I am perfectly prepared to disbelieve this story entirely. Its function in context was not to convey information but garishly to embellish that week’s schlock-horror Pete Doherty piece.
I’d seen Doherty in Derry with Babyshambles the previous week and he looked well enough, in a pasty-faced, panda-eyed, louche-limbed and slightly foppish way. When he didn’t do an encore after a relatively short set, a hubbub of speculation suggested that maybe the urgent need of an angry fix had taken priority over the calls of a packed Nerve Centre for one more tune. But the main and only meaningful question was/is: were they any good?