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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Books of Albion - Excerpts

BEWARE! This is a long post but its totally worth every minute of it. The Books Of Albion: The Collected Writings of Peter Doherty is out now in the UK and Times Online has provided a nice chunk of excerpts from the book to get into that mysterious little head of his:

Read away!

Pete Doherty’s journals open in early 1999 when he turned 20 and was living in London, performing poetry and launching his first band, The Libertines

10th February 1999

Southbound on the Northern Line towards the inaugural Paradigm Poets parade down at the Poetry Place in Covent Garden. John Citizen, Victoria Mosely (yeah, related) et al will be gagging and groaning before a cluster of lucky souls, although my own role in events is somewhat unclear. I am an official Paradigm Poet, and attended the Holland Park photo shoot some weeks back. Tonight I shall be asked to perform. Laters. * * * One wonders if the Britpop era will eva [sic] be looked back on with any affection. I sincerely doubt it . . .

Everyone agrees that Blur and Supergrass have written their best stuff in their later albums — and the 2 most coveted bands of the 90s era (Radiohead & The Verve) had nothing to do with Britpop. Pulp is a little less clear-cut. They excelled — and probably came to define Britpop — with the Common People performance at Glasto. Not so much with the song (a song with no merit compared to much earlier, and indeed much more recent work), but with their capacity to gather the attention of all who watched . .Guitars are not hip, not quite, not quite yet again.

* * *

The boy stood on the burning deck

It was half past nine on Friday

His braces snapped his trouser fell

He wasn’t very tidy

* * *

Things to do

I - I must at all costs recover the £350 from dear lunatic Justin

II - I must make a concerted effort never to trust entirely another human being, Frank excepted.

III - I must strive to improve my diet. Fruit, vegetables, brown bread & water. My addiction to fried chicken has become horrifyingly close to Tabloid material.

IV - I must try to surround myself with a few more stable & sure characters, lest I allow the worst in me to be dragged out and pampered . . .

V - I must purchase a black bowler hat.

* * *

A stunning reception for my opening set at the Foundry last night (25/2/99). The first time I think that my poetry has ever been met by cheers & crys of delight. A great shame that Time Out spelt my name wrong.

* * *

Francesca has given me the surprising, confusing and rather upsetting news that I am to be a father. A mere child myself, in will and conduct, how might I take responsibility for this pill-related fiasco? Something I must do. She sounds sure and frightened & uneasy, & ready to laugh.

I must gather my thoughts.

Another concern is my growing attraction to & affection for Lorraine: a quite perfect English girl I met briefly as we crossed over jobs at the Vaudeville, and met up with on Sunday for a day of quite unexpected tenderness.

We met as planned outside High St Kensington Tube and walked in the cold drizzle towards the park amidst a sorry, soggy crowd of Sunday shoppers & grimacing motorists. What a pretty picture I paint . . . but so light was my spirit as I walked with her. A ballerina trained at the Royal School of Ballet she has grace, poise and an enviable body. Witty and open — but somehow on guard as well. Through Kensington Gardens in the suddenly beautiful rain. The green of this city is so sudden, so shocking, I react always as if a mile or three of this sparse open space was Arcadia itself . . .

We talked of prostitution, our mutual friends in the theatre, ballet, people passing. Then she bought me a pint. We meet again tomorrow. I’m off to hers with my guitar.

The housing benefits inspector arrives soon. Bastard that he is.

* * *

Francesca is not pregnant after all, although she was terribly ill last night and must wait another three days for a final, decisive test. Everyone has disappeared..

Recent books

Lawrence Durrell - The Alexandra Quartet

Simone de Beauvoir — The Blood of Others

Truman Capote — Breakfast at Tiffany's

Anthony Burgess — Earthly Powers

* * *

23rd April 1999

Peter and John have discussion on linguistics and their relation to the primary emotions. Steve sniffs a marker pen. Sasha sits beneath a blanket. Carlos is being reprimanded for lateness. For the past part of this afternoon The Libertines were resident at Daylight Studios Kentish Town — our first rehearsal, and a chance for everyone to finally see what Sasha’s drumming is like . . .

The studio bloke was smacked up to the eyeballs. Nothing of great import to relate other than that we do seem capable of great things occasionally, and with training and a strong wind behind us, great things will no doubt become daily occurrences.

* * *

This begins in spring 2005, while in a recording studio with his second band, Babyshambles, recording its debut album Down in Albion . Pete and Kate Moss have begun their relationship, and he is in love . . .

Hold me in your arms and I want for nothing . . . but your sweet scent, your soft, supple body & skin & I in disorder, “boring” you with the junky business . . . writing again and making love all day with your beautiful self — Lay there, back to me, defiant in your defiance. Well f*** you, I love you, & I do and I do and I do . . .

* * *

Last night after festivities or rather derangement of the senses in Kate’s Cannes Hotel room . . . mirrors were smashed & I covered my love & the whole room in Bloody Mary. Well now we’re on the flight back to London from Nice & that was the first “holiday” I’ve had in so long, well, since Prison really. Now the Boeing 767 glides us home through a fantasy of clouds. * * *

Written while staying in Kate’s country house in the Cotswolds

In the birdsong lullaby of a summer morning & lull I tiptoe to the window around which is wound a noble tangle of leaves and — oh glorious — red, white & blue roses . . .

You lay sleeping . . .

I kiss your sleepy head & shoulders, and I’d kiss your shadow’s reflection . . . although if you’re still vampiring it up you’ll not have a reflection my sweet. I reach for your hand . . .

You are asleep though even as I write this you stretch and scratch & wiggle now & sigh . . . & settle again. I kiss your face, shoulders & neck with many sweet salty tasting kisses.

* * *

Kate my love Kate my sweet I scrawl at dawn & can’t wait for patience . . .

I would betray my fate before I would my heart in fact I’d betray the whole world & all in it before betraying my heart . . .

I mean to say you have my heart although you are kicking me in your sleep & so you don’t love me . . . oh but you do. say “I love you so” and my senses are ransacked, raised to cinders . . .

* * *

How can I throw myself into her when she’s off so often & my cough & my rough foot skin appal . . .

Never seen anything like it in my life she’s amazing dancing rolling her shoulders in her cut up dress I’m so wrong I know but if she loves me I’ll scream with joy an eternity of shy shadows glancing at myself I could cry for numbness but my days I’m prone to believe and watching her dance to Ike & Tina Rivers Deep Mountains High is all that matters and all that will ever.

* * *

The paragraph below is written by Moss, who left a message in one of Doherty’s journals

You have touched my heart and soul, little f***er I wish you wouldn’t ring on my door now go I could kiss you again and float way. You make me high, my sweet, my skin shivers and Longs to be held by you.

* * *

An account of a trip to Paris for the designer Hedi Slimane’s birthday party, and events on the Eurostar back to England, in July 2005

Back to the story? Kate & I f***ing and fighting all the way on the Eurostar until finally blood runs down my palm & up my head, and before I leg it to oblivion leaving her at the station calling me a this that & the other and a so-and-so (accompanied by hand gestures) and the dramatic exit just on queue [sic] as my deranged senses all aflame moving away from the flashion bulbs of the ninja papperazi’s and dear old Jimmy Mullord sticking a left hook right in the mush of one of the photographers — “smack!” he caught him a good ’un I will say so meself . . .

Must make note to follow up myself given the pleasure & excitement I felt when James cracked the photographer one cheered us both and I think my dear manager needed to release some tension here or there . . . of late the goodwill of Fate leads us not unto hell-in-a-handcart, but still to f***-knows-where via temptation itself. Shameless have we been, scene after scene, piping, pinned and powdering notes on planes. . . debauching it at the airports all over Europe . . .

Back to now and a summer dawn rains down on London. in again laden with newspapers full of tabloid mumble jumble about our exploits in Paris. Vaguely, surreally connected to the truth. . . redtop rags seem to have a new resolution: to write absolute shite about “the troubled rocker” and his supermodel girlfriend. The words they put into my mouth . . . honestly the cut, paste & twist of the gutter journalist: will they not desist this shit

* * *

shiver down my cracked bone have another line though shivers up the back bone pick up on the pipe bro

* * *

Written while accompanying Moss on a work trip to New York.

“Come on. . . you’ve got to get out of this room for at least an hour.”

“Why?”

Debris, ash, tin lids for egg plates, towels, cds, wraps, snaps . . .

My she is restless, endless energy, spirit, shaking her hips & shoulders to rock and roll in leather zip trousers & stripey T-shirt & one heel what a picture. I am still in bed because my body craves rest and though tis like a grave resting here so idly I cannot fathom New York or the world until the knot loosens further. I don’t suppose she’ll wanna read through another Hancock script.

* * *

Written during the Babyshambles tour, autumn 2005

waking up unable to breathe in a dark dusty bunk on a pitch black bus (the driver refusing to waste energy.) where is everyone? where am I? Any drugs about? Is the chemical khazi still blocked?

The bus had its moments of claustrophobia & extreme paranoia . . . but also a sense of togetherness was evident across the tour-map. . . from town to town, forgetting the entourage & everyone else, the band was a band, intent on playing as a band and delighted only when crowds kicked off and truly embraced us.

* * *

Notes while at home in his London flat

10 vals a day & you know what else though does leave me a little shaken & withdrawn. Tucked up in bed with 9 mini Martells. the walls are covered in indecipherable poetry sprayed on in blood . . .

* * *

For single mothers everwhere in love with crackheads you are a shining light of hope.

* * *

An aside while reminiscing about smuggling girls into his bunk on early tours with the Libertines

Nothing I’d rather pummel than the smug face of a freelance tabloid photographer.

* * *

I miss you miss Moss the most

* * *

Aint it just my luck? It’s said that to write in red is all bad luck upon the writer’s head . . . and oh no, f***, every night I’ve been writing in blood red blood and now the nick is all in sight again: could it be with the lighter dim . . .

* * *

In early 2006 Doherty spent time in prison while awaiting a court case. It prompts a more reflective mood.

Years of shambling living and intense & dedicated crack & smack abuse have proven to be an obvious but equally problematic in retrospect introduction to the desired abstinence that I must be laying foundations for in this the first leg of the court order.

* * *

His reaction to pictures that appeared to show Doherty injecting an unconscious girl, April 2006

On the way to Amsterdam, feeling calm, together & fairly smart at Heathrow. A nice, quiet day relatively anyway. Sally sorted out all the flights and I am sat in the bar at Heathrow. A gin & tonic & cigarette or two. Splendid. The only way to travel . . . Outside the bar & my head, the real world carry’s on in its carnage & I oblivious to current furore concerning the alleged “Administering a noxious substance” photographs in the gutter press.

* * *

Pete and bandmate Mick Whitnall have been to Portugal and been fitted with implants designed to prevent them from consuming heroin. Doherty has retreated to Moss’s country house and is writing in his den — her potting shed

Was supposed to report to Stoke Newington police station today but am potting shedding it in extremis licking my wounds And I here at the country home of my true love whom I pity for I am but at present a lumpen burden I detest. I must straighten up . . .

* * *

Back in Kate’s garden — time has passed

The disarray around me belies (else I lie) a fairly sound & tidy state of mind. My dear sweet love would appear to be in somewhat of a rage perhaps due to my being decamped to the potting shed this cold rainy night and her having a pop thusly: (I having claimed to be “working on songs”)

“You’re sat here in your hovel in your own shit, wallowing in self indulgence.” The lord knows it’s a consistent response that occurs to her to air. Any time I might stop, write, strum & “indulge” a creative urge I am naught but a vainglorious swine & a c**t of the highest order. Oh what nonsense I nervously scrawl in the dark dark country night . . .

I have been informed that my behaviour reached an all time low during the recent visit to Thailand . . .after deportation I was thinking along the lines of being single. Folly such a thought, my heart aching & swimming & I dearly missing Kate despite being convinced that the relationship was an unbearable & intolerable disaster. However influential my raging drug addiction upon matters is not really up for debate but still I found myself incapable of justifying all the pain & general disfunction of much of the affair. And so I flee/am booted out . . . part of me retains a contradictory belief that I can learn from the shame & strain of my awfulness & become a better man by default. There’s hope for us all, right? why not.

And so I remain in the freezing . . . potting shed, scribbling away and attempting to tidy up amidst a wee tiff with the birthday girl. [If Doherty’s “birthday girl” is Moss then this entry was written on January 16 of this year]

* * *

I have been banging up I confess, and yet my use is extremely moderate and controlled what am I saying? Kate will not tolerate this shite I wouldn’t blame her, and alongside the fixing neither of us seem to completely trust each other although I love her and no other and the tiffs & tumults come between magical happy times. the most cherished hours are those spent in her arms . . . so why this suspended feud? oh I dunno, she certainly knows how to get a rise out of me. Or tears. Or low-flying guitars. Is it me trying to avoid the reality of my most antisocial habits, or is there any defence in these debates that I can confidently use. . . and so I sorry selfish c*** I might well be . . .

It is divinity itself, true love, and hell is the heart’s terrible palpitations as a “turning” is in the offing. All I wish for is for her to come and lead me back out of the dark.

I aim to write a great deal more than I have and also to make a blinding record. Godspeed the light.

Her timing is impeccable as always. . . footsteps

* * *

In early 2007 Pete checked in to rehab in the Nightingale hospital near Paddington in London.

Further tabloid infamy yesterday just when I thought everything was too good to be true. Some Australian arseholes have me on camera phone banging up and apparently slagging Kate off. Bang to rights I suppose although to be fair I was in a hell of a state at the time and we had fallen out.

F*** it. The last few weeks together have been so loving and so much positive looking to the future. It makes me sick to my heart but I must face it. I love the girl so dearly and that’s why I’m in this fucking clinic isn’t it? Another 36 hours clean now and sticking to it this time I fancy.

* * *

3pm, 29th Jan 2007

So there’s a silent pop as I find the vein & launch a great shift into my system. Eye-closing, jaw tightening speedballing through the opening hours of my detox at the Nightingale Hospital, Lisson Grove. It begins now, does the rest of my life.

* * *

3am, 31st Jan 2007

And onwards, through time & these sterile corridors of the clinic you follow me. 36 hours in and not much to show in the way of withdrawals (only vomiting though that may have been the final line of sticky sparkling gak that I had concealed in my pillow) foolishly before the very dawn.

I now surrender to the science of detoxification and pray that Godspeeds the worst of it and Saturday morning at the latest will see me once more in my love’s loving arms. We have been close this time that passed and with the smack and needle free we shall marry in the summer and I become ten times happier than any given smackhead. Huzzah!

God bless Times Online for posting these. You can purchase the book now imported from Amazon UK

NY Broad x

2 comments:

angy said...

Oh god, such a poet. He moves me to tears, he's such a fucking genius.

Eira'shizzle said...

w to the ow!