The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'pete doherty'
It is rumoured that glamorous-romantic-nihilist-bard-of-contemporary-British-life and/or drug-addled waste of oxygen Pete Doherty, whose sole raison d'etre seems to be solely to provide the tabloids with "outrageous" antics of human depravity like some kind of Carling-sponsored Sid Vicious clone, has been signed by Domino Records. Which, if it is true, suggests that the once credible label (they put out the likes of post-rock obscurantists Hood) is in the final stages of its transition into late Creation Records, just before it was swallowed by Sony. Domino's Oasis is, of course, Franz Ferdinand.
If you think you've had a bad week, spare a thought for Kate Moss. 48 hours ago, she was a supermodel; now, her career is over (three sponsors have dumped her like a hot potato; most recently, Burberry dropped her from their campaign, presumably to keep the evil of cocaine from being associated with the wholesome chav/townie culture), and now it looks like she stands to be prosecuted (after all, there is photographic evidence of her committing a crime, and not prosecuting her would send the message that celebrities are above the law, or at least above the drug laws), and possibly lose custody of her daughter. And now that the party's over, Pete Doherty is apparently no longer interested; I wonder if he helped himself to a few valuables on the way out the door.
Of course, the argument for not treating Moss leniently is that celebrities, being role models, should be held to a more exacting standard of conduct, and those who fall from this standard should be made examples of to deter impressionable youths from following in their errors. Of course, the current scheme, which depends wholly on tabloid newspapers sneaking in to studios to take surreptitious photographs, is somewhat patchy and inadequate. I modestly propose a better solution: random drug testing of celebrities.
Under this scheme, anyone who is a celebrity (defined by making more than a number of media appearances in a certain period) would be subject to random drug tests, much as athletes are. The tests would be administered by a new agency, which would be called something like the Celebrity Drug Authority or the Public Conduct Authority or somesuch. Testing positive for drug use, or failure to show up for testing, would result in disqualification from a number of professions, including top-tier fashion modelling, acting in films over a certain budget or performing in venues over a certain size; additionally, any recordings by those disqualified would be struck off commercial-radio playlists, and the press would be prohibited from giving publicity to them (so now, if the NME editors ran another piece on Pete Doherty, Dionysiac Genius of Rock, they could be prosecuted for contempt of court). Which sounds harsh, but it may be the only way to protect impressionable youth. Won't someone think of the children?
NME darlings The Libertines tried to organise an anti-drug concert last year -- but pulled out to avoid being sued for slander by Pete Doherty, the band's drug-addled, bandmate-robbing former frontman and/or the first great primal rock'n'roll hero since Iggy Pop/Sid Vicious:
"At that point, Pete was embroiled in drugs and they assumed it would be on the offensive regarding his drug-taking so his lawyers contacted us and said no.You can't make this up.
Not content to sell trucker caps and retro-hipster flight bags to the world's indie kids, Belle & Sebastian have entered the ringtone business. Currently, they only have a few tones (mostly from their last album), and the Flash interface doesn't seem to play the polyphonic ones.
(Speaking of Belle & Sebastian's merchandise business, I wonder how long until they start selling their own line of NHS-style black-frame emo glasses; that would be a natural progression. Either that or doing a deal with a multinational electronics company to make Belle & Sebastian-branded MP3 players and digital cameras, à la GwenStefaniCorp.)
Meanwhile, it's a sign of how much Dionysiac Genius of Rock Pete Doherty's stock has dipped that Damon Albarn is now picking on him, and talking about starting a "Make Doherty History" campaign (a line he seems to have lifted from the cover of Private Eye). I guess that there's no danger of Babyshambles getting up and giving Albarn a sound thrashing, as Oasis did shortly before disappearing in a cloud of cocaine-induced self-importance.
The Graun's Alexis Petridis looks at why the (ostensibly) mentally disturbed make such compelling rock stars:
According to Oliver James, a clinical psychologist and author of They Fuck You Up: How to Survive Family Life, the rise in numbers and popularity of emo acts may be linked to a rise in mental illness among their obvious target market of 18- to 24-year-olds (the age group most likely to be affected by psychological problems, according to studies published in Europe and Australia).
But if fans buy into it, that may be because rock music, unlike other art forms, is depicted as benefiting from being created by those with mental illness. Most critics would tell you Van Gogh's paintings are great despite, rather than because of, his psychiatric problems - but that's not true of the Beach Boys' Smile or Barrett's The Madcap Laughs or Nirvana's In Utero, for example, whose greatness is widely held to be inexorably entwined with their creators' mental problems.
It's the whole dionysiac genius thing; the myth, deeply ingrained in the Rockist mindset, that primal authenticity and true brilliance comes not from carefully honed technique, deep knowledge of the genre, cleverness or anything so square and totally un-rock-and-roll, but from abandoning oneself to the frenzy like a Viking berzerker. To give a topical example, crack-smoking, junk-shooting fuckup Pete Doherty is one of the greatest geniuses of our time, and his new band Babyshambles is ten times the band that The Libertines (who kicked him out) were, as the world would find out if he'd ever get his shit together for long enough to actually play a gig.
The article also mentions Ol' Dirty Bastard, as an example of the fine line between empathy and voyeurism. One notable omission, though, is Wesley Willis, described by Jello Biafra as one of the most punk-rock artists ever.
Of course, with the rising popularity of emo and various forms of fuckedupcore came a lot of opportunists putting on the "tortured genius" act, acting like caricatures of pissed-off, fucked-up, tantrum-throwing teenage nihilists and raking in the cash. Thirtysomething Universal Music executive and part-time teenage mook Fred Durst is one name that's mentioned there; and I'm sure you can think of other notable examples (anyone remember Vanilla Ice's reinvention as a tortured, angry-white-guy rap-metal mook? Or cyberpunk boy-band Information Society's post-Reznorian take-a-walk-through-my-nightmares industriogothic makeover?)