Someplace near the end of Who The Fuck Is Pete Doherty, the much-hyped BBC documentary, screened tonight in the UK and, far as I can tell, repeated on BBC3 every night this week, journalist Paul Morley says all about how he's starting to get really worried on account of Pete Doherty's gonna be 27 next year. He starts rhyming off that list of Great Rock Star Casualties, your Kurt Cobain's, your Janis Joplin's, your Jimi Hendrix's, all of em choking on vomit or the brown or a bullet sometime between the ages of 26 and 28.
Looking at Pete in the truly harrowing interview footage contained in the film, a man needs to close the eyes and the ears and the blood-pump not to see the shadows of The Grand Tragedies dancin tween the cracks in his teeth.
And the tabloids scream bout Nutter Doherty High On Skag-Pipes Pukes Cross Bouncer.
And us lot, what we usually do is sigh and curse The Sun and The Mirror and OK Magazine, fling on one a those demo recordings, maybe Albion, maybe I Love You But You're Green.
And the tabloids snigger about Potty Pete Falls Over, Cracks Skull, Rambles Mental.
And we put on The Libertines and sway along with Music When The Lights Go Out.
Kate's Junky Lover Punches Doorman.
And it's "Fuck forever, if you don't mind."
And maybe a fella's taking a walk to the train station, maybe he's got The Libertines cross the chest, and another fella approaches, there's a few "How's things?" and the like, and then a nod at the band name yonder bove the navel.
"S'that that Doherty prick?"
"You like him?"
"I think he's something of a genius, yeah."
"He's a fuckin arsehole."
"Well, maybe. But there's a thousand arseholes in the charts an none of them have an Albion or a Time For Heroes to their name, so."
A shrug. "Ah, I never heard him. He's a prick."
Because these days you don't judge an artist on their work, you judge them on what the papers got to say about how many rocks he done smuggled up his arsehole last week, about how many shows he missed, about how Kate Moss is such a pretty, precious little thing, what's she doin with that cunt, anyhow?