Sunday, February 12, 2006

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Pete's Like Clockwork

"At the wobbly legged table in me little Peter. Still waiting for the jingle-jangle of the gaoler's bangle." The Guardian prints Pete Doherty's prison diary, and it turns out he's been held on remand in rejected passages from A Clockwork Orange. Towards the end of his time, he pledges that he has to develop "more talent than the most exquisite poet." Maybe, Pete, maybe, but the problem is we so seldom hear your voice - when it's not the drugs talking, you tend to just spout this sub-Burgess cod-cockney; like a man doomed to always say not just what he thinks others want to hear, but also deliver the lines how he imagines an Ealing Comedy would have put it. No wonder Carl Barat walked away - Doherty sounds like a Flanders in permanent search of his Swann.

The Guardian didn't give Pete a bean for his words, not a single copper, guv; however, he'll have been happy with all of page three, and a new layer to the twisted mythology - "they can only live with tamed heroes" is Pete's pay-off, leaving no doubt that he still sees the painful public pissing away of talent as somehow making him a modern Prometheus.

The Independent, however, is less indulgent than The Guardian, giving Pete's trial a split front page with the coroner's hearing into the death of Antonio Embiricos which took place the same day. Embiricos could also have been a hero - a talented musician while at school, on the point of making a stage debut just before Christmas. Dead just before that, though; a lethal 0.28ml per litre of morphine in his blood. The distinction between the two men's stories is hammered home by Deborah Orr in an op-ed piece "He thinks he's heroic, when really, he's just a fool": "Mess that he is, though, the saddest thing about Pete is that many people profess to admire his awful self-destruction. They admire his folly. [...] What doesn't help is the divisive image around drugs - evil fighting with glamour. Drugs are neutral objects, and those who take them are not evil, just people who made bad choices. In Andreas's case, the choice was final. Doherty is a very lucky young man. What a shame he seems unable to realise it.

From the shadow of the grave to the twilight of the rock gods - Jim McCabe is in touch to draw attention to Kitty Empire's generous review of the Darkness in today's Observer. Justin has seemed to have moved on from self-parody to self-mockery (not bad for someone whose initial stance was closer to self-abuse, in the old, euphemistic sense), but it's hard to see quite what's thrilling Empire so much. Like a bullied kid in the playground, now Hawkins has noticed that people are laughing at him, rather than with him, he seems to have tried to laugh at himself harder than anyone else. It's all quite confused, especially since everyone seems to have forgotten how great they sounded before we discovered they were coming on in lurex pulled on giant breast chariots.

The NME has given its front page to The Ordinary Boys, presumably because last week was the Arctic Monkeys and you can't have them on page one every week. Of course, there's absolutely sod all point in putting Preston on the front unless you include the words "Chantelle", "love" or "upskirt" somewhere, and the NME don't do that sort of thing, of course. Which kind of exposes the weakness of Preston's side of his deal with devil - take him away from a small room on one side of which is George Galloway is pretending to be a kitten, try and isolate him from the whole Big Brother storyline, and... well, he's the front guy in a fairly alright band. Clearly, the hope is to prove (as his strapline quote insists) "I'm more than just a celebrity" - but, really, without his CBB appearance, would anyone have crossed the street to buy a magazine with the band splashed across the front? (The answer to this question, by the way, is up to you, but as a clue, half of one of his bandmates has been obscured by a large circle trailing a short Arctic Monkeys piece, larger than any of the Boys' faces.)

Maximo Park aren't likely to seek fame by joining in tacky TV show stunts. Oh no, they've sponsored a boys football team's shirts instead - The Epsom Eagles. Michael Jackson's people have said that their man is interested in finding out if he could get to splash himself over twelve year-old's chests, too.

Apparently, Jackson really likes Editors. Really, really, because Tom Smith knows someone who knows him.

The Futureheads have recorded their second album - they did it quickly, too, as (honestly) they wanted to have it finished by Christmas.

Peter Robinson meets Jose Gonzalez, who we were surprised to discover is some sort of pop star rather than an declining brand of table wine.

We're delighted to see Tilly and the Wall in radar, although really we'd have been happier to see them on the front page, and possibly in a sixteen-page pull-out or something too.

Nothing makes us feel older than the churning round of yet another punk anniversary, and we'll go and root about for the Grecian2000 as here comes the 30th anniversary. Yes, we know that 2007 will be the official, Uncut-special-edition anniversary, but, in a novel move, the NME is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the early adoptage. Although it's honest enough to bring back Neil Spencer to admit that the NME didn't exactly go 100% punk overnight ("a lot of people thought the Holy Grail of rock was Neil Young or the The Eagles.")

And there's also the first signs that if the 30th anniversary isn't the last time we'll get the obligatory once-every-five years interview with John Lydon, it might not be happening by 2016. There's a "what the Pistols did for us" bit which, frankly, struggles a little - Morrissey and Ian Brown turn up to insist what good fun it was, but with their own great works already nudging silver and 20th anniversaries, you might as well invite Gordon Brown and the late Ron Greenwood in to explain punk to a fifteen year-old. Billy Lunn of the Subways might be closer to the average NME reader, but he seems to be flailing a little - "it seems like they were really important."

What is most fascinating, though, is the NME cost 18p in August 1977.

Preston, by the way, is convinced he's still punk: "We've always had this punk rock attitude and going on Big Brother was me thinking lets do something outrageous and take a big risk."

th' faith healers - peel sessions - "rattle n riff", 6
two gallants - what the toll tells - "an excursion from the broody, bleak bother of everyday life", 8
tilly and the wall - wild like children - "hits and teeth", 7

totw - clap your hands say yeah - "the whole thing pumps like dennis rodman's handsake"
placebo - because I want you - "gnaws at your stomach like a vicious virus"
cornershop - wop the groove - "68th comeback single"

the rakes - exeter university lemon grove - "taking over Britain, city by city"

and finally... hold the coverart! The NME essential bands album is getting a slightly renewed push, although they're trying to make up for a missed opportunity. Hidden away in the "and more" acts who didn't count to get a coverline were The Ordinary Boys. The oversight seems to have been corrected with a gold star flash.


Anonymous said...

Loved the chucklesome redefining of punk by Preston there...

"We've always had this punk rock attitude and going on Big Brother was me thinking lets do something outrageous and take a big risk."

So punk was about being outrageous and taking big risks? Surely that makes Rick Wakeman's "King Arthur on Ice" the biggest and baddest punk rock spectacle ever seen?

I'm chuffed that the guy will be atoning for the new bulge in his wallet by having to think up new reasons to justify his CBB appearence in every single interview he does from now on.

It'll keep me laughing anyway...

Anonymous said...

Neil Young is the Holy Grail of Rock, Spencer, you asshat. But The Eagles were shite, obviously.

And the real reason Smash Hits! died a death? Because the NME has dumbed down so much, it's encroached entirely on SH!'s patch: "pumps like Dennis Rodman's handshake". Jeeeeeeesus.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that punks weren't really that different from hippies (or prog buffoons), despite appearing to be polar opposites. Sort of like Liverpool and Everton fans. Sort of.

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