Friday, February 25, 2005

YER DAD'S GOT AN MBE: In today's Guardian Review, Max Carlish writes about his life on the edge of the Libertines, getting a blow on Pete Doherty that must hurt as much as the blow Pete allegedly landed on him, sniffing "his Dad was an army major with an MBE, and Pete got lots of A-Levels". If you prick me, do I not rush off to the press and blow your trash-image?

Carlish is, of course, still in love with Pete and his mystique:

It was then that I realised just how smart he was - he rhymed green with spleen and even understood the medieval meaning of the word spleen.

Well, yes, higher intellect indeed - having heard the phrase "I'll vent my spleen" and knowing not only did that not mean someone was going to take out their lymphoid system and give it an airing, but also noticing that the word rhymes with "green." If we were that clever, we might point out that "crack-addled twat" rhymes with "smack-raddled prat", but we didn't get any sort of a-levels approaching Pete's.

But let's not run away with the idea that Max is over-stating Doherty abilities or anything - he compares him to Kurt Cobain, of course, although Cobain's drug use his way of finding a mental highway out of himself, while - in Carlish's own words - Doherty thinks his smack use is "cool" and artisitic; and then the comparisons are cranked up a level:

Look at Ray Charles - he pulled himself back from the brink and did his best work when he was off the heroin. Pete is aware of that, but he's distracted by the tabloids loving his addiction. It would be a great story for them if he died.

Ray Charles? We love The Libertines work, and even if we try to shift the growing feeling that Carl Barat was the main force behind their work, we're not really talking about an act on a par with Ray Charles. Ray Allen and Lord Charles, perhaps. And what exactly does it say about Pete's superior intellect if - as Carlish seems to be implying here - he's doing heroin to help the tabloids out with their story? An intelligent man who is taking a drug habit to life-threatening lengths so that there'll be copy for Victoria Newton in the morning?

Carlish talks about how his role swapped between official filmmaker and onstage dancer, and enthuses - fairly - over the concept of the fans being an extension of the band. Only...

The last time I did my Bez impression was in Southampton. He told the audience that I was making a documentary about him, and they all started throwing bottles at me. Pete thought that wasn't cool, so he dumped me from the stage act. Things began to get messy and complicated.

So, the fans were an extension of the band, and yet when the fans started to bottle someone who was also a member of that loose band collective, the reaction wasn't "Don't bottle us" but to drop Carlish instead. There really is something of the shallows about Pete, isn't there?

Dejected and penniless, Carlish takes to his bed before, all of a sudden, Pete turned up as Kate Moss' boyfriend. Carlish had a friend point out that he could flog the photos of Pete smoking drugs (he doesn't mention the friend's name - Pete himself?) but, oh, what a moral crisis:

He called a friend at the Sun, and before I knew it I was in the middle of a bidding war.

I didn't want to sell the pictures, but I did want to use them as leverage to meet up with Pete again and complete the film. I phoned up James told him what was happening with the newspapers and offered to hold back on the footage - so that we could complete the documentary. I waited and waited and heard nothing. Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror was getting more and more desperate to buy the pictures from me. Their offer began to look more and more tempting. I was desperate for money, and by this point I had convinced myself I would never see Pete again, would never be able to complete my film, and would have wasted the best part of a year on nothing. Friends were telling me take the money and run. I wanted Pete to get back to me, but he never did. And so I succumbed.

After selling the photos I heard from Pete for the first time in four months. He sounded very fed up. "I hear you've made loads of cash from selling my photos." "Yes," I said. "You know I didn't want to sell the pics, but what I want is for us to get together to complete the film." I told him he was welcome to some of the money for the film if he would use it for drug rehabilitation and get back into the studio. Then I thought: what if we could actually film him going into rehab? What a film we would have there! I thought we could still save the situation. Now it seems he thinks we're beyond that stage.

See? It wasn't about the money; it was all about helping and/or finishing the film. We wonder if there's a word that describes saying to someone "if you don't give me a contract to finish the movie I'll sell compromising pictures to the papers." You know, we're sure there is.


Anonymous said...

You photographer's name was Jamie-James Medina. Look in a newspaper

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

So... you're suggesting that when Max Carlish wrote a piece about how he sold the pictures of Pete doing heroin to the Sunday Mirror, he got his own name wrong?

I believe if you look in a couple of newspapers, you'll find there's more than one set of Pete doing drugs; Jamie-James Medina was the rinky-dinky small crack pipe shot; Max Carlish was the heroin shots. There was a bit of trouble about it all; Pete ended up in prison.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Mirror grainy video stills were Max Carlish. The photos in the News of the World appear to be credited to some agency, not Carlish

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Mirror grainy video stills were Max Carlish. The photos in the News of the World appear to be credited to some agency, not Carlish

georgina said...

Thank you, your article is very good

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