Thursday, 20 December 2007
December 16-17-18 2007
The Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel has been home to what is now becoming a little annual ritual. Three nights of Pete Doherty, the first a solo and the subsequent two with the rest of Babyshambles. This year a shifting cast of friends booked tickets in a late night frenzy of excitement to a mega Pete-fest. Three nights and nowhere near enough sleep later, it’s over. Late night debriefing, feeling as if we have been spat out at the other end of yet another set of memorable gigs.
Seeing Pete at the Rhythm Factory has a special quality. A venue that is full of associations with the Libertines, the familiar blue back wall, with Rhythm Factory in white lettering, appears in video after video, immortalised in photographs, it is hard to be there and not see the ghosts of young Pete and Carl flitting about the stage. It is an incredibly atmospheric venue. A small concrete box, low ceiling, barrier constructed of scaffolding and ply, tiny stage and a box lighting rig hanging from the ceiling inches above the performers’ heads. It boasts a somewhat unbelievable license for 400, and the music always seems several notches too loud for the size of the space. It gets crowded and sweaty, and even when, early on in the evening, there are not many people in the hall, it seems to burst at the seams.
Act I - Soliloquy
Pete Doherty December 16th, 2007
Most of the reviews of Babyshambles recent Arena Tour led with a commentary on how un-shambolic the band were. And, indeed, this was palpably true. Shambles were tight and professional, and the performances were impressive. But the change in Doherty was nowhere near as dramatically visible as it was at his first solo gig since emerging from rehab.
When I saw Pete’s solo gig last January at the Rhythm Factory I was pleasantly surprised at how lucid he was. But eleven months on, the transformation is astonishing, and it is only seeing him on his own, close up, that you realise just how much difference being clean has made. It was evident in hundreds of little ways. His movement was precise and controlled, he looked wonderful, he was talkative and interacted with the audience during the whole of the 100 minute performance. But best of all, most significantly of all, was his voice – beautifully controlled, breathy and passionate, not a glimmer of the slightly rambling quality that one associates with Pete solo. We didn’t know what we were missing until it was there. He has not lost the meandering sense of someone singing to a bunch of mates in their front room, but has acquired a beautiful tone and a precision that is less familiar. Every song was a joy to hear, and he was charming, funny and alert throughout.
By 9pm we were ensconced one row back, and, inevitably, had a long wait until Pete appeared bang on time at midnight. The time was filled by chatting to an excited bloke in front of us, who eventually gave up his spot in the front to go to the loo. Four support bands were listed, starting with a rather engaging Dylan look-alike by the name of Tom Court, who with his ‘mate’ played a sequence of interesting acoustic songs. Next up was the energetic Supernovas who combined driving tunes with a convincingly rock and roll front man. The third band, featuring Texas Bob, was the Television Personalities. Their set was interrupted by a completely wasted Alan Wass, scheduled to play next, who wandered on stage and proved unwilling to leave, to the point of wielding a bottle threateningly. He was finally escorted off by a clutch of bouncers, having rather blotted his copy book with the audience. The energetic and funny compere, Vis the Spoon, provided amusing commentary, and we were rather surprised to see Wass take the stage about half an hour later, announcing he had an apology to make, which he did, and then played a rather discordant version of his rather tuneful, ‘Hired Gun’.
At midnight sharp Pete arrived on stage, radiating good form, wearing a slightly grubby black suit and white shirt (missing button replaced by safety pin) and a hugely ornate silver necklace. He looked particularly beautiful, skin clear and translucent. The set was eclectic, starting, somewhat disconcertingly with ‘Shambles’ usual closer, Fuck Forever. Most songs were played in response to audience request, and included a number of real treats – songs not often played, including Bucket Shop, Through the Looking Glass and You’re My Waterloo. It was a performance full of memorable ‘moments’ and witty comments. In response to a request for ‘What a Waster’, Pete replied, ‘Yeah, I know, but what do you want me to play?’. ‘The Delaney’ followed a somewhat off the wall, ‘Oh, I don’t know about that, I don’t play it very often’, and he launched into ‘I Wish’ only to grind to a halt, saying ‘I’ve been practising… but I can never get this right’.
He downed pints of cranberry juice, getting through nearly four of the stuff which I find has an odd dehydrating effect on your mouth. Pete, however, seems to have no such problems with cranberry. Dripping with sweat, he requested ‘towels for the artiste,’ but didn’t complain when it seemed to take ages to provide said towels. And when they came (two little checked tea towels – someone had clearly rummaged around in the kitchen), he dried his head vigorously, creating a charmingly tufty hairstyle reminiscent of his very early days. Indeed, one of the things that really struck me about his appearance was how young he looked. Much younger than earlier this year when he still had the rather haggard appearance of a heavy drug user.
It was a really lovely show. Pete was chatty, the audience was enthusiastic, but benevolent, football chants abounded, and there was that really strong sense of connection with the audience that Pete is so very good at generating.
Act II - Chaos in the Dark
Babyshambles December 17th, 2007
Night two. Babyshambles plus five support acts. Oh joy, the prospect of standing at the barrier for, in the region of five hours, much of it waiting. But the alternative is to end up at the back of the crowd feeling frustrated. So to wait is the only really viable option.
The supports were a pleasant surprise. First up was Steve White, a heavily tattooed ‘ordinary joe’ with a good sense of tune and a handful of cheerfully delivered lyrics cram packed with social commentary – global warming, the tyranny of trying to be thin, and a chirpy condemnation of supermarkets with a memorable chorus starting with ‘why is it always summer in Sainsbury’s?’ The Badass Cowboys followed on with a series of musical treats which could only be described as an Indie style Country and Western.
Alan Wass repeated his apologies from the night before in rather more convincing style, and with his excellent guitarist, performed a reasonably coherent set. Red Roots followed, having scooped multi-talented and effortlessly charming Nico from the disintegrating ranks of Ark of the Covenant, winning over the audience with a lively front man and ska influences. The final support was No Picasso, and although I wasn’t convinced by their punk-style delivery, the lead singer, with his ‘fuck me’ dancing, and his able handling of a heckler proved quite entertaining.
And then somehow, between the end of the support bands and the arrival of Babyshambles, all the technicals seemed to go haywire. First sign of a glitch was a lot of fiddling with the bass amp, plugging and unplugging Drew McConnell’s familiar bashed-up instrument. A plea was made to the other bands for a working bass, and after more futzing, it appeared that ‘Shambles were ready to go. But it was not to be that simple. Only Adam’s drum set up was trouble free. The others embarked on a sequence of plugging and re-plugging, dial-twiddling and mic-tapping. Once again, Pete’s recent sobriety showed, beacon-strong, as he self-tech-ed with a surprising competence and confidence. Indeed, as the audience, already in full ‘band’s-on-squish-mode’ became increasingly restive, the band’s efficient teamwork was impressive, as Rhythm Factory techies raced around looking increasingly stressed. The tension on and off stage escalated. Half an hour of pissing about and several punch-ups in the crowd, and Pete took a pragmatic and wise decision to bugger the problems now focussed on his guitar and begin the set. And they did with gusto, more than compensating for in-out sound for guitars and mics, obvious absence of a monitor on the bass. But the night was destined to be a total technical disaster, because no sooner was the room filled with sound, than we lost all lighting. And I mean all lighting. Pitch black. Gamely, the band carried on, as a single emergency light flicked on and off, casting the stage into a realm of eerie shadow and silhouette. And so it remained for the rest of the set – half light, erratic sound and a band that seemed to feed off the chaos, tethering the audience through driving sound. Pushing flitting thoughts of health and safety into the back of my consciousness, the only sane thing to do was to follow the band’s lead and go with the flow. Anything else would have pushed the event off the scale of chaos into madness.
It was a set cram-packed full of memorable moments. Flickering images cut from old newsreel. Drew coming to the front of the stage and screaming, open mouthed. Mik, Pete and Drew closing in on each other, as if seeking compensation for the lack of light, sound or anything else by reinforcing their connection with each other. Pete bashing his head on a cymbal when offered ‘Leatherhead’ during ‘Albion’. Drew’s own bass, abandoned at the side of the stage. The energy from the band flowed through the venue like a surrogate electric current, warm and good natured. It was clear that all four were delighted to be playing a small venue after the Arena Tour.
And just to liven things up, it was an evening of for stage diving. Pete, dressed for a grunge-stomp in skinny black jeans, white plimsoles, white T shirt and a polo-neck style jumper, leaped repeatedly into the crowd, once continuing to play his guitar. Stage dives that were just that, dives, forward thrust, not simply a flop. Visions of feet and legs poking up from the crowd, worried bouncers trying frantically to haul him back to safety, only to have him do it again. Shoes went on the first go, red socks on the second. Bare feet for the rest of the show giving an unexpected sense of vulnerability. On his first or second dive, following the line of trajectory to just behind me, I was startled to see a alarmed-looking Pete face just behind me, low down, maybe on his knees. And, along with those around me, I hauled, pulling him up and towards the barrier, frantically struggling to keep the bouncer from dragging him over the foot high scaffolding pole upright which would have scored a rather nasty groove along the Doherty frame.
Stocking feet dancing. Between leaps floor resting. Music with no pauses. Playing every song not needing Pete on guitar. Keeping order amidst chaos, this was ‘Shambles magic. Feeding on chaos and managing it, effortlessly. Certainly not the greatest live music they have ever produced, but one of the most amazing live events I have ever had the good fortune to take part in.
Act III - Fights and Flight
Babyshambles December 18th, 2007
After the amazing high of Monday night, Tuesday was bound to be a bit odd. But we had not anticipated just how odd it would be. Indeed, by the time this weary audience member sat down to type these words, the internet was buzzing with commentary on the abortive gig that was a rather deflating follow on to such brilliant duo.
For the record, the Rhythm Factory once again produced a varied and entertaining set of support bands, you didn’t have to like them all, but there was something for everyone. The cutely named ‘Hello Wembley’ engaged and charmed, ‘O Titus’ got our feet stomping, ‘The Scuzzies’ thrashed out indie-punk and ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’ seduced us with a unique brand of high energy music hall rock ‘n’ roll. Red Roots ended the support sequence with a tight melodic set, lovely harmonies and thumping bass lines. A late addition to the line up was a repeat performance of Alan Wass and Lefthand’s guitarist. Sadly, Wass, who at his best delivers a collection of rock ‘n’ roll cowboy-style numbers sung in a sub-Jagger drawl, seems to have sacrificed precision and impetus for a drug/alcohol fuelled vagueness. Although this served as a salutary reminder of the potentially degenerating impact of performing-while-wasted, and acted as a marked contrast to his mate Pete’s sobriety, it remained a rather sorry set, lifted by the dexterity of Lefthand’s guitarist, and a contrast to the full band’s tight sets at the January 2006 RF gigs.
It’s a truism that every gig has a unique audience-feel. Sunday night was largely benevolent, Monday’s was edgy and fractious. On Tuesday, the crowd seemed quite relaxed up to the point where anticipation of the imminent arrival of Babyshambles morphed the atmosphere into one of the more forceful press-shove events I have experienced. ‘Shambles set started off with more waiting, band onstage. Unlike the previous night, this was not a result of technical difficulties, but due to a decision to try and relocate a wheelchair user from the barrier to a refuge at the other side of the stage. Rather bloody late in the day. One would have thought that the RF could have noticed the wheelchair-user fan at some point between half eight when he was in place and half eleven when the extended dialogue about his repositioning began. By the time the security decided to try and do the move, the crowd was densely packed, ‘Shambles had arrived on stage, and a fight had broken out just behind the wheelchair user’s position. Security spoke to Pete, asked him to explain what was going on, which he duly did, but the move took quite a while, during which time the crowd became increasingly tense, one person telling Pete to ‘fuck off’ to which Pete replied ‘you fuck off’ and that the wait was to help someone move. Not an auspicious start.
In marked contrast to the previous nights, Pete didn’t look particularly well, and mumbled about having flu. He was bundled up in an overcoat over a leather jacket and jeans, a lot of clothes even by Pete’s standards. He seemed less physically at ease than he had on the preceding nights. Finally, after time-filling musical twiddles (instrumental East of Eden, for example), the band launched into an energetic version of Kilamanjiro, and at long last things seemed to be taking off. But somehow, the set never did quite find it’s stride. It felt slightly stop-start, and Pete appeared restive, interacting a bit with the audience, but not dominating it as he had on the previous nights. They played seven songs, all a pleasure to hear, and then Pete vanished to the back stage area, followed, more slowly by the rest of the band. The audience waited, wondering, ‘fag break?’ but as the minutes ticked by, beginning, in our corner of the crowd at least, to fear a rather more radical interpretation was in order.
The time was broken by Mik appearing to sing a solo version of ‘I Wish’ which he had done at a number of the arena dates. At the end he was not joined by the rest of the band, but left stage himself. Then someone came and gathered up the guitars and took them to the back stage area. Things did not look good. And indeed, they were not. Adrian, one of ‘Shambles managers appeared on stage with the beginnings of an apology. At which point we made a strategic exit, hoping to avoid a potentially difficult and angry crowd. Outside, people gathered, and the news spread via a someone who knew someone who had been back stage that Pete had been quite ill, pale and vomiting. It seems that the rest of the band played a few more songs to a rather unreceptive audience and the gig was over.
When you have the track record like Pete’s, it is inevitable that people will suspect that the last night at the Rhythm Factory was not a result of genuine illness, but due to drugs or temper. And that is a great pity, since he has so clearly been clean of late. It is too much to expect that the forums, never mind the tabloids will accept the explanation of illness at face value. And that is a shame, because it has been so evident in both the arena tour and the first two RF gigs that whatever else is going on with him, he has achieved a new and impressive ability to control himself and his music, without sacrificing his charm or his love of chaos. For me, the last night detracted not one bit from the total magic of the first two. And I hope that those who decide to cast stones as a result of the Tuesday show do not attempt to taint the stunning tour de force that Pete and Babyshambles demonstrated at the Rhythm Factory on Sunday and Monday.
Alice December 19th, 2007
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Friday, 19 October 2007
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
1. The Enemy – Fear Killed The Youth Of Our Nation (rare B-side)
2. Lethal Bizzle - Babylon' s Burning The Ghetto (new single)
3. Roll Deep Racist People (specially recorded)
4. Helsinki (Drew - Babyshambles) Ampersand (specially recorded)
5. The View - Fireworks & Flowers (unreleased song)
6. Hard Fi - We Need Love (exclusive remix)
7. MIA - Hussel (from the album 'Kala ')
8. Bloc Party vs. Diplo - Where Is Home? (Exclusive remix)
9. Carbon / Silicon - The Network's Going Down (exclusive recording)
10. Natty - If I... (exclusive recording)
11. Babyshambles - Stone Me-What A Life! (B-side of 'Delivery’)
12. Get Cape. Wear Cap. Fly - If I Could Build You A Tower (specially recorded)
13. The Charlatans - Blank Heart, Blank Mind (specially written and recorded)
14. Dirty Pretty Things - 9 Lives (specially written and recorded)
15. Albert Hammond Jr. - Cartoon Music For Superheroes (From the album
Yours To Keep)
Monday, 15 October 2007
Or Adam Fieck’s Treasure Hunt
Whilst I have considerable sympathy with Adam Fieck’s desire to keep the red tops away from Babyshambles gigs, and as much enthusiasm as the next person for a good treasure hunt, the sequence of threads on French Dog Writtles, several initiated by Adam, greeting me this afternoon with the heading ‘Blank’, stretched my research skills rather more than I would have wished.
OK, we got it, there was to be a gig tonight. Well, we had been waiting, hadn’t we, little posts from Adam earlier this week with, ‘something’s coming’ had us primed. OK, we understood, this was all to be rather hush hush. Keep the tabs out. But, bloody hell, the post this morning with details was up for something like four minutes. During which time, of course, I was doing something else.
Still, with a lot of perseverance, considerable numbers of texts flying back and forth, pathetic pleas for information via PM to all and sundry on FDW, and the invaluable help of several kind people, I eventually discovered it was scheduled for a boat in Bristol at midnight. So, game for anything, off we headed, with more than a snitch of trepidation that we might do six hours of driving for nothing.
Three hours and several loops around Bristol city centre later, we found said boat, paid our out-of-London-admission (£5 – as opposed to £20 for a similar gig in Soho in July), and had a look around. Several bars, a big deck at the back for smokers, and a very boat-like room in the hull, probably with a 150-200 capacity. Bar prices to match the admission. Cheap. Whoopee. Sadly couldn’t take full advantage due to said mega-drive, but makes you feel you have had a bargain. And so it proved to be. In every way.
Just before eleven, we parked ourselves on the edge of the small stage, settling down to wait, imagining that we might be there for quite a while before anything began to happen….if anything was going to happen. Consequently, it was with great relief, as always, to see Adam appear on stage around half eleven and begin setting up. Joined by Drew, the two showed every sign of preparing to play. Then, somewhat to our surprise, Alan Wass wandered onto the stage, and tuned and tested two guitars. We wondered if he was going to perform, if Mik was not around, but no, it appeared that he was stand-in guitar tech for the evening.
Right on time, they appeared on stage, and after a moment or two, launched into Delivery. With high energy and a level of precision unlike many ad hoc Shambles gigs, they were tight as Shotters’ Nation. With few words to the heaving crowd, they played a short, wonderful set, consisting of Baddie’s Boogie, You Talk, Unbilotitled, Sedative, The Blinding, and Beg, Steal or Borrow. And then, as abruptly as they had come on, they left. Well, to be precise, Pete left, and the others, clearly not expecting the set to end quite so quickly, looked confused, shrugged, gathered up their kit and followed him off.
Pete was on amazing form. He looked great. Personally, I am of the school that prefers him full of face to the beautiful-but-gaunt-heroin-chic. He looked young, almost as he did four or five years ago. And CLEAN….I don’t mean clean as in drugs-free, though he clearly looked that….no, I mean clean as in his hands were clean, and his lips were unchapped, and one didn’t have an urge to push him into the nearest tub for a good long soak. And the difference didn’t end there. Dior suits possibly in storage somewhere, or maybe just not quite right for the moment, he was scruffily dressed – old, rather stained jeans, a grey t-shirt, a somewhat crumpled and ink stained grey-speckled jacket and no jewellery. Aside, that is, from the gold band on his left hand, presumably the much talked about one to match that worn by Irina, who stood by the side of the stage for the whole set. Everything about him, from his controlled body-language (no rag-doll flopping tonight) to his fine, fine singing, announced that this was a different version of the Pete Doherty we have all grown accustomed to.
But some things don’t change. And thank god for that. He dove off the stage twice into the intense, pushing, grabbing crowd. The first time, unfortunately for me, (or fortunately depending upon how you see it), on top of me, and as the crowd swayed to the side under his long, and not insubstantial form, I was pushed onto my back on the floor, providing Pete-cushioning. All very well for him, the crowd supported him back onto the stage, and then closed around me in their previous sardine-like formation, leaving me bleating rather pathetically on the floor, unable to move, legs somewhere under a different set of feet from the top half of me. There was a rather scary moment, when, having managed to sit up, I kept prodding and grabbing at the legs around me, and no one paid me any mind. Then, finally, a couple of lads spotted me and helped me get to my feet(ish). By the time the next dive came one song later, I was more prepared, and gripped the stage and the people next to me firmly, managing to stay upright.
It was a funny old crowd. More oblivious than most. I later heard that Pete had been trying to haul people up who had fallen over in his wake up as he was being lifted back onto the stage. And I’ve never gone down before and had no one notice.
A few more songs would have been nice, and there was a slightly odd sense that something had pissed Pete off, making him abort the set. But to grouse would seem churlish. Because it was wonderful to see him looking so well, and to see the whole band in such brilliant form.
It has seemed a long, long time since the spate of small gigs in July, and this did, indeed quench some of the thirst for more. Wonderful magic, indeed.
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Monday, 24 September 2007
Sunday, 16 September 2007
He couldn't have timed it better. The 'Pete Doherty gets it together' album arrives just as his position as Britain's favourite pop fuck-up has been definitively usurped by Amy Winehouse. This means that the second Babyshambles album, the oddly named Shotter's Nation, gets to our ears as an actual piece of music and carrying less media baggage than it would have at any time in the past three years.
Not that it is baggage-free. Shotter's Nation is about smack, crack, Kate Moss, tabloid infamy, junkies and their flunkies, and what we think we know about Peter Doherty, as it has to be. It's also about love, loss, the British urban landscape, laughing at yourself, great guitars, exciting chord changes, tight rhythms, the Stones-Who-Kinks-(Small) Faces-Clash-Jam-Smiths-Happy Mondays-Stone Roses-Oasis-Blur history of Britrock, rich, simple production, songs with layers, a really good band and a singer who has relocated his voice.
For reasons why Babyshambles have snapped dramatically into focus, after the almost unlistenable chaos of 2005's Down in Albion debut, juggle any one or more of these: Pete's straightened up; or the pain of the break with Moss has woken him up; or the band - that would be the excellent Mick Whitnall (guitar), Drew McConnell (bass) and Adam Ficek (drums) - got fed up with being Sideshow Pete's hired goons and kicked his arse until he stopped stumbling into the drum kit and started singing in tune. Or Pete needs a strong, relatively straight musical foil and, in replacing guitarist Patrick Walden, Whitnall has actually replaced Carl Barat of the Libertines. Or new producer Stephen Street, best known for his work with Morrissey and Blur, won't allow Doherty to indulge himself and has whipped the boy into shape. Or corporations like EMI don't sign former Rough Trade indie icons, even infamous tabloid mainstays, if they're just going to twat about. All of the above probably played a part, and this sounds like a band's first album for a major label.
As for that baggage, autobiographical/confessional stand-out lyrics include 'You fell in love and carried her over the threshold, thinking/ She's far too good looking to do the cooking' ('Baddie's Boogie'); 'Writing songs is just a game/ I'm getting good at cheating at' ('You Talk'); 'She won't take you back/ Said too much, been too unkind/ Get up off your back/ Stop smoking that/ Change your life, she just might change her mind' ('Lost Art of Murder', which features folk great Bert Jansch on guitar). Best of all, in this respect at least, is 'There She Goes' which blatantly steals from the Cure's 'Lovecats' yet also fulfils the title's moral obligation to sound a bit like the La's, and hits us with detail both provocative and poignant: 'From your bag/ You pulled out more skag than I'd ever seen/ No, how could I let go?/ Since I caught a glimpse of your white plimsolls/ Twisting and turning to northern soul'. Maybe how Pete met Kate, or maybe not. But the other twist it exemplifies is that the melodies, musicianship and poetry are so strong throughout that the self-referential becomes universal, and makes you recall, for example, the first time you saw your lover dance... or give you heroin, if that's your bag.
So, at last, the narratives of hapless Junkie Pete and genius songwriter, bandleader and chronicler of Noughties British bohemia Peter Doherty have connected and fused. It sounds like a boy wiping the lines off the mirror, taking a good hard look at the man looking back, shedding a tear, cracking a wry smile, and going to work. Perhaps that's the best rehab a self-destructive genius can get. Someone tell Amy.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Yes that's right, you read it correctly. On the front cover of this weeks NME you can get a free 7" vinyl featuring an exclusive demo version of forthcoming single Delivery. The B side features an interview with band on the making of the track.
This special 7" can be housed within the packaging of the commercial gatefold 7" out 17th September.
Friday, 7 September 2007
How have things changed and how is your sound different?- http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/02%20Track%2002.m4a
The songs from this new CD were played live first and demos released via the internet. How do you feel about that? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/03%20Track%2003.m4a
Pete, tell us how much pride you feel in this recording? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/04%20Track%2004.m4a
Mik, What do you think youve bought to the band? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/05%20Track%2005.m4a
The differences between this album and Down In Albion?- http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/06%20Track%2006.m4a
Adam , were the songs already written when the recording process started? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/07%20Track%2007.m4a
Drew, is it fair to describe Babyshambles as a punk band? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/08%20Track%2008.m4a
Carry on up the morning is Track 1 Mik,Youre first on this one...- http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/09%20Track%2009.m4a
Next up, the first single Delivery, Adam? - http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/3/4/848997/10%20Track%2010.m4a
Keep an eye out on Babyshambles MySpace for the second part of this indepth interview - coming soon.
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
1. Carry On Up The Morning
(Adam "I had in mind a sort of early nineties hip hop or Soul 2 Soul type of groove.")
(Drew "We feel that bands are too influenced by Americans. This is about Britain: 'grab a drink and go down town where all the mods and the skins will get together and pray it's 1969 forever' ")
3. You talk
(Drew "Peter wrote it in the Priory, I thought it sounded a bit like Nirvana's About A Girl at first")
(Adam "It's personal lyrics. It's the equivalent to Albion")
5. Side Of the Road
(Peter "A garagey song where we were trying to out white stripe the White Stripes")
6. Crumb Begging Baghead
(Adam "It's got a kind of stomping Stonesy kind of thing and elements of the Stone Roses")
(Drew "We took it from being a ballad/big rock sound live to something altogether different – and better – in the studio")
8. French Dog Blues
(Peter "He's the immortal character, he pops up all over the place in London on tube trains or old ladies' shopping baskets.")
9. There She Goes
(Drew "I saw a documentary and heard the producer talking about Walk On The Wild Side and I knew what kind of feel it should have")
10. Baddies Boogie
(Peter "A kind of baddy that comes good, like The A-Team")
11. Deft Left Hand
(Drew " It’s the Brit Pop song on the album it starts of sounding a bit like an Oasis song and then the verse comes in and it sounds like Blur.")
12. The Lost Art Of Murder
(Peter: "Bert Jansch used to pop round on Sunday afternoons")
Sunday, 2 September 2007
Friday, 31 August 2007
Friday, 24 August 2007
The new single released 17th September 2007
"‘Delivery’ will remind the world what Pete Doherty should be famous for” NME
Babyshambles release the single “Delivery” on Parlophone on September 17. The single is the first to be taken from their brand new album ‘Shotter’s Nation’, which will be released on October 1st.
“Delivery” is available in 3 formats, all with exclusive tracks. These are:
I WISH (MICK’S DEMO)
2 track CD
A DAY OUT IN NEW BRIGHTON
7” gatefold red vinyl
‘Shotter’s Nation’ was recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, west London and produced by Stephen Street (Morrissey/The Smiths, Blur). The album has already been hailed in the press, with the NME proclaiming;
“It is a concise, invigorated and coherent collection of punch-packing pop songs. Babyshambles have far exceeded all expectations. This record is the work of a bunch of musicians hell-bent on making the best record they have in them”.
This is indeed the record Babyshambles always threatened to make.
Thursday, 23 August 2007
'Shotter's Nation' hits Stateside this autumn
Babyshambles have announced the US release date of their forthcoming sophomore album 'Shotter's Nation'.
The follow-up to 2005's 'Down In Albion' will hit Stateside on October 23 via Astralwerks.
Babyshambles are giving a different version of their comeback single away for free, exclusively with NME.
'Delivery' will appear on seven-inch vinyl and will only be available with the issue of NME that's out on September 11.
The tracklisting for both the US and UK versions of 'Shotter's Nation' are identical.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Babyshambles are, let's face it, known mainly for the never-ending Doherty drama that we see in the papers almost everyday. The music itself tends to go pretty unnoticed by most people.
However, it's very clear today here in Chelmsford that there are a lot of people out there who not only know the music of Babyshambles, but who absolutely love it. The band themselves have undeniable appeal on stage, being entertaining to watch and - would you believe it - very professional performers! Even Pete himself proves himself to be more than capable of delivering a set at one of the biggest festivals of the summer.
It may be grey in the sky and people might be a little bit too far from sober than is strictly necesssary at 6pm, but you get the feeling that this would be an enjoyable watch even if you were at home staring at the TV. The presence of Babyshambles is good enough, but they seem to have found the ability to make damn good music at the same time.
Do You Know Me? and Killamangiro brought cheers almost loud enough to drown out the sound from the mic, and Pete looked utterly at home throwing himself around and pulling disinterested expressions, as well as finding time to jump up onto the drums and assert his Rock n Roll status.
And it's got to be said, the fact that the band were all accounted for, on stage, on time, after everything that's been said about them... well, just goes to show that maybe these boys aren't unreliable after all. They're just doing their rock star thing.
VR: Alright ok, we are backstage live at the V Festival with Babyshambles, welcome guys, how are you?
PD: Yeah, alright, we are still on the look out for our bass player though to be honest.
VR: Ha ha. A missing bass player!
BS: It is getting a bit near the knuckle.
BS: He is on stage now.
VR: He is on stage now? Just could not wait any longer, done for it! Why not, grab that festival moment that is what it is all about! Are you happy to be at the V festival or do you prefer the smaller intimate gigs that you guys are more well know for?
PD: Yeah, well it is not the biggest festival in the world is it? Yeah, it will be alright. I don't know why we are playing so early? I like playing at night to like a fucked crowd. Maybe they don't trust us to stay sober!
VR: Do you think that is what it was?
VR: Well listen, we are loving Delivery on Virgin, we are playing it a lot you will be pleased to know. Shotter's Nation is out next month, can you tell us a bit about the album and obviously the inspirations behind it?
BS: The inspirations behind it was just to make a good album really that we can all look on and be proud to hear time and time again. There was no main inspiration behind it, the title came from Peter, what was your inspiration behind Shotter's nation?
PD: Behind the title or behind all of it?
VR: Behind all of it?
PD: Dunno, we just somehow against all the odds became quite a tight unit and got a load of quality tunes together that we wanted to get down and that goes for anyone making an album unless you're like bang on the conveyer belt and you are being pushed to do things. We went for quite a long time without a manager just knocking tunes into shape and then it all happened quite organically, we met the right manager and he took over things a little bit, he pushed us into the studio knowing that we had the songs and yeah
BS: It has still be a year and a half's work innit really.
VR: Is Delivery quite indicative of the rest of the album?
PS: I dunno, it is a pretty mixed old bag, you know, there is a few slow ones in there a few 60's rip offs in there.
BS: Production wise it is pretty indicative that the album is like that, it is different to Down in Albion , it is a different kind of production on it so yeah the sounds that you hear in Delivery, the quality of sounds is gonna be through the whole album.
PD: do you know what, we have been saying that over and over again to each other but we are dead proud of it, really dead proud of it. I can't wait for people to hear it.
VR: Yes, it must be quite a frustrating time period now that you have done the album and you are waiting for it hit the shelves.
PD: It will get leaked there is a huge fucking anti conspiracy that says don't let them make any money. Leak everything!
VR: Are you going to be show casing your new stuff?
BS: Yeah of course, always, we have been showcasing it for the last year and a half to be honest. They are songs that we have been kicking about forever. Ok not forever but for a long time.
VR: Did it just come together when you were on the road then, writing?
BS: Yeah always, we don't specifically say right, we are going to write. We are just sitting together and things get written, things come out and those to come out with ideas and then we just embellish them.
VR: OK, we have a bass player!
BS: Oh yeah sorry, I was watching Jet, I did not realise that this was happening.
BS: You were watching Jet?
BS: They are banging!
BA: They were alright.
VR: Is there anyone else here who you are going to run out across the field to go and see?
BS: He is handsome isn't he?
VR: He is a handsome fella!
BS: Happy Mondays, The Coral
PD: We don't just get any mug on bass! You know what I mean.
VR: The Coral, The Coral are they on?
BS: They are on after us, we are on next! Are you guys ready?
BS: No I am not!
VR: I think that we should probably leave you guys to it then in that case. Just one more thing, obviously Amy Winehouse could not make it, have you got any words, advice or encouragement for Amy at this time?
PD: Just nothing but love and respect for her. You know what I mean. She is an absolute genius.
VR: She is.
PD: And she has been having a really hard time recently, you know, pardon my language, fucking cunted twats in the press who just like, even to the point where she has 10 year old girls sitting next to her and they are saying oh what is it like smoking heroin, it is so sick.
BS: She is my mate, get better.
VR: Yeah, nice one.
BS: She knows was to do.
PD: Yeah we love her.
VR: Brilliant nice one guys. Thanks a lot.
To watch the full interview and find more babyshambles related stuff head to
Thursday, 5 July 2007
Saturday, 19 May 2007
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
Saturday, 5 May 2007
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
An Evening Or Two With Pete Doherty. . .
The Big Moment comes well over an hour into the second of Pete Doherty's An Evening With. Pete Doherty gigs at the Hackney Empire, and what's in truth become by now a somewhat rudderless sort of show is brilliantly redeemed when Pete announces his former Libertines accomplice, Carl Barat.
I'm actually at the bar when it happens, the Empire suddenly a cauldron of unbridled hysteria, the noise of the crowd an incredible thing to hear, a demented din, people screaming, weeping, hollering.
The audience tonight has so far been unusually restless, almost pathologically disinclined to sit in their seats and pay anything more than passing attention to what's been happening on stage. They are in and out of the bar, in and out of their seats, fussing with mobiles and spilling drinks, talk loudly over the opening solo set by Pete's friend, handsomely be-hatted Alan Wass, barely noticing that three numbers in he's been joined by Pete and then virtually drowning out Pete's next guest, Bert Jansch.
I don't want to sound precious and I know we're not in a fucking church, but the irksome yakking yahoos around me quickly put me in a fiercely oppositional mood. The whey-faced weasel sitting in front of me is lucky to escape a thump on the head when during Pete's duet with Bert on the latter's classic heroin song, "Needle Of Death" – which Pete had essayed nervously the previous night, but sung year with fragile perfection, investing the original's cautionary grimness with a beatific fatalism – he insists on chatting VERY LOUDLY to his slack-jawed girlfriend about, of all things, kitchen fittings.
The night before, Pete, looking well and sounding better, had been in full control of the crowd, playing brilliantly with their expectations and affection, offering up great versions of old favourites like "Killamangiro", "Music When The Lights Go Out", "What Katie Did", "In Love With A Feeling", "Albion" and "What A Waster" – which ends with the spoken plea, "Save me from the Taliban" – and the more recent "The Blinding" and "Love You But You're Green" ("It's blood from broken hearts that writes the words to every song"). There are guest appearances from Kate Moss on "La Belle Et La Bete", on which guest rapper Lethal Bizzle also did a verse, and a clutch of new songs – including "Salome".
About two hours into what would eventually be a three-hour show, Pete takes a fag break and returns for "Fuck Forever" and "East Of Eden", before he's joined by The General who takes the lead on "Pentonville". The set ending with Pete playing a rousing "Time For Heroes".
"Thanks four your support in troubled times," he says, and splits, triumphant.
Tonight, prior to Barat's appearance, Pete seems distracted by the crowd's restive mood and in trying to hold their interest appears to lose interest himself, even on welcome oddities like "Pipey McGraw" and "Cyclops".
Now, though, as Pete and Carl roar through virtually a full set of Libertines songs, the roof is coming off the venerable old Empire, which in its long history has probably known few scenes like this, the cheers that greet Barat's tap-dancing routine on their cover of Mama Cass' "Dream A Little Dream" quite deafening.
There's some confusion towards the end of all this when after "Time For Heroes" it's announced there'll be an interval, which causes a stampede for the bars. A couple of minutes later, Doherty and Barat are back with Babyshambles guitarist Mick Whitnall on harmonica for a shaky version of "Albion". Carl takes lead vocals for part of this, which probably would have been a better idea if he'd known the words. They then play "The Delaney" and at that point they look like they might play for another hour. Then some twat in the balcony throws a full pint at the stage, which lands between Pete and Carl. God knows, they've had worse things chucked at them, but after a withering glance at the balcony, Pete's off and even as the crowds are flocking back out of the bars the fire curtain comes down, and that appears to be that.
A couple of hours later, getting home, however, the texts and calls start coming through with wild descriptions of Pete and Carl "busking" outside the Empire, which makes me seriously worried for them at the hands of the rabid fans who'd been milling around the venue as we left. Turns out, though, the pair had played an impromptu version of "Can't Stand Me Now" from a backstage window.
Where will it all end?
April 14th Golden Fleece Babyshambles, Ark of the Covenant, Left Hand, Gingerbread Men by Alice Bigelow
The event was overshadowed by problems with the PA system and both Gingerbread Men and Left Hand's sets were a bit stop start, making it problematic for them as well as the crowd. Gingerbread Men bit the bullet and stopped for a 10 minute tech-break, and returned with an energetic, if somewhat vocal-less set. Left Hand fared, if anything, worse. A wobbly mic stand, a rather worse-for-wear frontman, Alan Wass, and erratic sound dominated the set despite best efforts of the guitarist, bass player, and particularly the drummer (who kept jumping up to help with rewiring). We managed to hear a couple of songs clearly, but the performance could not show off the band’s strengths under the circumstances. Ark of the Covenant's bassist did sterling service as a tech man, but mics persisted in failing during the beginning of the A of C set itself. However, everyone was quite relaxed, although the time slipped by, as did the cheap drinks, until everything was running quite late.
Ark of the Covenant managed to pull off the first full-sounding set of the evening, partly due to the General’s real ability to hold the crowd through endless lead-replugging, and partly due to the infectious rhythms of the bands reggae-ska sound, and their performance transformed the gig into a dancing, party atmosphere. The General cranked up the excitement further by organising a singalong rap about Billy Bilo. By the end of their set, the room was focused on one thing and one thing only. Were Babyshambles going to show, and if so, when. It was gone midnight, and it was not totally clear that the boys were actually in the building. The mood became increasingly restive fuelled by five hours of drinking. Somehow, the event turned from small, friendly and low key, to one of the most intense, physically painful and difficult things I have experienced in the name of fun.
It is not clear why it got, and stayed, so frenzied. Partly, no doubt, due to the excitement generated by Thursday's Hackney Pete-Carl reunion, partly the long wait, and alcohol fuelled anticipation. And partly due to the lack of adequate security. The stage was low, small (one foot high, three feet wide, ten feet long with an extension at the back centre for the drummer), and with nothing to divide the audience from the performers. When Ark of the Covenant finished their blinding set, I was directly against the stage in front of the central mic. Lined up to be inches from Pete. Which I was. Breathtakingly intimate. But a combination of people trying to touch him with a particularly dedicated forward-sideways push-fest meant that within minutes of the start, I was pushed onto the stage with my lower legs trapped in front of the stage by the crowd.
The General showed amazing presence of mind in positioning himself in front of Pete, trying to get fallen front-row-ers to our feet, and forming the keystone around which a number of bouncers formed a line at the front of the stage, keeping the audience from collapsing onto it, but leaving a scant couple of feet for performers. However, by then it was too late to really get things in control. The front row, mostly female, was crushed at shin level against the stage, and held from collapsing by the bouncers (I developed a surprisingly intimate relationship with the General!), but it was impossible to stay upright, and the line of tall, bulky men in front of Pete meant that few were able to actually see him.
Really, the security guys should have taken up a position in front of the stage on the floor and given both the band and the crowd a bit of space, but by the time they had organised themselves, there was no space for them to get in front of the stage. The show was short, running about a half an hour and ending at about 1am. The band gave it their usual energy, and played a collection of brilliant songs, including ‘Albion’, ‘Arcady’, ‘Time for Heroes’, ‘I Wish’, ‘Beg, Steal Or Borrow’, ‘Killamingiro’, ‘Pipedown’, and ‘Back from the Dead’, as well as a rather sweet rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to a girl in the audience, Charlotte, who was 19 that day. But it was all a race to the end, and it can't have been fun for them. At all. And it was really hard to see, breathe or hear. By the time they got to ‘Fuck Forever’ – signalling the end of the set, it was a kind of relief. Which for such a tiny audience (maybe 150), was really quite depressing. Seeing Pete and the Shambles in such an intimate setting should have been magical. But it wasn't. Peter has the ability to make even large audiences feel as if he is playing to 30 people in his living room – and this event could have had that quality more than most. If people had been prepared to shut up and listen. But they weren’t. Which is particularly ironic when set against the respect that Pete shows for other performers. Who wanted to hear screams of ‘Pete, Pete’ in their ear rather than Pete himself singing? Clearly a lot of people at the Golden Fleece. Rumours that Carl might show up, which created a sense of excitement earlier in the evening proved thankfully unfounded, since the crowd would have eaten them both alive.
I hope that this does not discourage Pete and Babyshambles from playing this type of gig again, particularly since it is really nice to get bands in the further flung corners of London, and I also hope that if they do, someone manages to think through how to keep things a bit more safe. I am all for the wildness of the mosh pit, but this was beyond wild. It was savage. It seemed like the majority of the audience saw how close and accessible Pete was and wanted to get a piece of him...and that was more important than listening to the music. And this is about music.
Alice, 14th April 2007
Friday, 13 April 2007
An Evening with Peter Doherty (and Carl Barât)
Sometimes momentous events slip by and you don’t know how important they were until later. Tonight at the Hackney Empire every member of the audience KNEW they were present at something extraordinary. Something to be remembered and talked about and written about endlessly.
Rumours have been flying about ever since the announcement of the two ‘Evenings with Peter Doherty’ some weeks ago. Rumours fed by press coverage of the Doherty-Barât booze-fest over Easter weekend. But rumours have been going around about possible reunions for years. And that’s what they have been. Rumours. Not to be taken seriously.
The evening began in a similar vein to the previous night. We settled in for a really lovely evening of Peter at his best joined by a number of interesting guests. A collection of songs from Left Hand frontman Alan Wass kicked things off. After joining Wass for his final number, Pete launched into a series of songs, sometimes lurching from one to the next, sometimes pausing and chatting to the audience, blagging beer (a no smoking venue, so he was not able to scrounge the usual fags).
All the while, slightly bizarrely, a painter worked on a large canvas stage right, rapidly filling in performers in shades of brown. Peter then introduced the legendary Bert Jansch, and after one duet, left Jansch to do a brilliant set alone, rejoining him to sing a poignant version of Jansch’s ‘Needle of Death’.
This was followed by more solo Doherty, and he was in good form. Sweet-voiced, breathy, lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitar. A harmonica appeared several times, but always seemed to be the wrong one for the song, so never was used. Pete never seems to be able to hold still on stage, and this was no exception. He wandered, fidgeted, folded himself up like a giant rag doll. He took his wide brimmed hat off and fanned himself and when the audience urged him to keep it off he explained that his hair was all flat and he couldn’t. Really, we wouldn’t have minded. He was charming, in good voice, and showed once again the reasons why audiences love him: he is an amazing, talented writer and performer. Songs included ‘Killamangiro’, ‘I Love You But You’re Green’, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’, ‘Cyclops’, ‘Back from the Dead’…..and more.
Pete then announced a special guest, Carlos Barât. The audience went wild. ‘Nah, only joking’ he said, ‘what do you expect for twenty five quid’……pause, as the audience groaned and laughed……and on walked Carl. In tight suit, tie and porkpie hat. Looking formal and a bit nervous. Pete beamed, as the crowd stood up and cheered, moving forward as much as the seated auditorium would allow. ‘Hello’, said Carl, and so began nearly an hour of magic.
From a slightly hesitant version of What a Waster to a roaring, sing along of Time for Heroes, they both relaxed into it, and began to have fun.
Highlights included a series of faux-starts to Seven Deadly Sins whilst they bickered over the time. Carl: 123, 123. Pete: 1234, 1234. Carl: no it’s 123, 123, we’ve gone over this hundreds of times……. Pete led Carl into ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’ with, ‘Carl, I’ve been thinking……..’ and playing the intro, and Carl not only sang it, but accompanied himself with a rubbishy tap dance.
They also played ‘Good Old Days’, ‘Death on the Stairs’, ‘Tell the King’, ‘What Katie Did’, ‘France’, ‘Dilly Boys’ and ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun’. Carl messed up words to songs he has not sung in a long time, and both fumbled sometimes with what came next….. but none of that mattered. Carried along on a wave of totally rapturous enthusiasm from the crowd, both Carl and Pete gave performances marrying past to present – and seemed to have a good time along the way.
After a brief interval (enough for a quick fag, we assumed), they reappeared to do ‘Albion’ with Carl on vocals and Mik Whitnall on harmonica, and ‘The Delaney’. Pete bowed and left the stage, leaving Carl to the last word. ‘Thanks’. And thanks to them from all of us who were privileged to be there. It was an incredibly exciting, emotional evening. Many of us witnessed something we thought might never happen. Whatever the future brings for Peter and Carl as joint performers, tonight was wonderful. It was electric, and full of joy. And it was now, tonight, not about the past, not about the future. And that was more than enough.
12th April 2007
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Friday, 16 March 2007
i'll call him the pied piper pisces peter pan
i write as a fellow pisces and not as a fan (although i am)
this aint my apology and nor should it be
i'm just ashamed by the way our society treats yee
they breed you then feed you, emulate and applaude you
you reflect yourself back, break thier laws and they'l floor you
send the lad down the judge says with a frown
back to a place to score more easy brown
they write you they fight you, take big bites of you
but what do they know they aint lived the life thats you
when you don't stand a chance just live the old merry dance
thats just how it is and this kind of shit happens
on a positive note you're lucky
like amy with her fuckery
you choke on your smoke and then drink cos you choke
the terrible truth such a comical joke
just a simple poem to say sorry peter
for the way society and the media teats ya and beats ya.
happy birthday peter xx
Thursday, 8 March 2007
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Blood painting by Katt
Click the picture to view the display of drawings, paintings, collages and fabric collected together for Peters Birthday. Display will be up on the main page until the end of March.
Upcoming shows you may want to contribute to are:
April: Street art/stencils
May: Diaries/journals/books/Books of Albion
July: The Unexpected
Art for Arkady is always looking for new libertine spirited artists and viewers so join when you can.
Always be inspired,
Art for Arkady
Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Some say he's a mess,
Others say he's confused.
Bemused and bewildered,
Not knowing where to go.
Nowhere to run,
No cave in which to hide.
The tabloids the press, causing all the stress,
Printing there lies and publishing that causes stress.
What a sad life to earn from others loses
Cold hearted...........but we all have to earn a penny.
People will worry,
People will panic.
What will come next,
Where does it all go from here.
Mistakes have been made,
There's no turning back.
Remember what you have and not what you had
Carry your pride, high on your chest
For if u believe you know best, then so should the rest.
Choices and decisions,
Not knowing where to go,
Some choose the road that leads to riches.
Others take the road that leads to ruin.
But people forget the most important road of all.....
The road to happiness, there's one for us all.
The rhyming the writting
The boy who has it all
Intelligent and smart
Good lookin' an'awl
Look to the future and forget the past.
Stand by the ones you love as they will for you.
Life is unplanned,
Unmapped and unwritten.
Take it to stride and carry that pride.
All we can do is hope for the best.
Stand by the ones we love and let them do the rest.
by Beth Arthur xx
Sunday, 4 March 2007
Go together like a cup of
Earl Grey and giggles
Pour us / Poor us
A bit a'that my darling, charming man
But I was
Stupid then, and stupid when
On a snarling November morn,
snapping on the heels of Hod
“I’ve had enough, my f(r)iend,
of all your larks and daydreams.
Get yourself sorted –
no more scallys in them alleys, those which
you frequent far too often.
My fellow bohemian son of Albion
Time to sign off and out.”
I feel the grief sodden sadness of someone
who is not a man no more
Lost my integrity
Lost my philosophy
Here I am at the Head of Beachy
'Bout to call an end
To the prancings and dancings
I used to take for granted
Here I go a-leaping
Here I go a-stop
(Are such things done on Albion's shore?)
~ Rachel 2007
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Please go here to register against The Gov making small venues pay to provide live music/performance. This would be disasterous for Babyshambles and many other bands like them who feel its vital to keep gigs intimate for the fans.
Do it now shamblers, protest against yet more Gov. greed!
Monday, 26 February 2007
the fools rejoyce and the witches yell and shout,
a crowd of hopeless men is following the tears
the curtain falls, the night is drawning near.
It feels the horses coming down galloping too much fast
without a jockey or a lonely knight,
dancing soflty in the feeble light of wicked nights
streets and walls, roads and houses fall.
Papermoon, papermoon papermoon is gold and shine
papermoon, where are you hanging around?
papermoon is my own hiding place.
On a sudden as a multitude in the sky
it climbs down, falling hard and proud,
it's a perfect tide of waves without a noise
makes you feel small, feel sad but safe.
Papermoon, papermoon, papermoon is blue and wild
papermoon, don't leave me now
papermoon please don't try to cheat me.
Landing place of all the sins made and claimed
eye of lust, hold the trust as well.
Papermoon, on your own, papermoon, where are you gone?
I can't see anymore your shade
Papermoon, here's your son, papermoon, I'm alone
finally can't you see my shape?
Papermoon, on the run, papermoon, out of sight
I will drown myself into your wine
Papermoon, here's your son, papermoon, out of bounds
tell me where it was I lost my faith.
Papermoon, oh papermoon
papermoon, purple moon
my own curse
my own curse
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
A daily dispatch from Allan Jones.
Post details: 'There's a four mile queue outside the disused power station. . .'
'There's a four mile queue outside the disused power station. . .'
Someone’s put up large printed signs all down Stockwell Road and around Brixton Academy, large black letters on a bright orange background, their authorship unknown but their message starkly clear.
“DON’T,” they thunder gravely, “END UP LIKE PETE THE JUNKIE”.
They are referring to Pete Doherty, in case you were wondering, and you can only give due consideration to what they have to say. Who, after all, would want to end up like Pete?
I mean, he’s young, witty, good-looking, easily adored, a great songwriter, has recently signed a new record deal, loves to get high, is engaged to one of the world’s most beautiful women, gets whisked hither and yon on exotic holidays (from which he is occasionally obliged to return somewhat earlier than intended) and tonight – Sunday - he’s playing a sell-out Shockwaves NME Awards Show at the Academy, where a seething audience is in excited attendance.
Yes, there are spells in rehab to contend with, which can’t be much fun, regular court appearances and the still-lingering threat of a custodial sentence – but on the whole, you’d have to say there are worse ways to go.
Anyway, the last time I saw Babyshambles here, they were promoting Down In Albion, which hadn’t come out on schedule and whose release anyway was then wholly overshadowed by the Kate Moss Drug Scandal, an unfortunate distraction with much woeful fall-out.
The Academy was far from full that night, plenty of room for tumbleweed to do its thing among the draughty spaces at the back of the hall. The show was sensational, though – with guitarist Patrick Walden, now long gone, an absolute revelation, a cross in his way between Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards, a phenomenal presence.
Tonight, the place is as packed as I’ve ever seen it, the crowd a raucous thing that fair erupts when Pete appears, looking quite spiffing in a rakish trilby and tightly-buttoned black suit, out of which he fleetingly looks like he might burst out of and into an unwelcome version of the ghastly Alexei Sayle novelty song, “Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?”
Instead, the show starts with a slightly misfiring “Pipedown”- Pat’s replacement, former roadie Mick Whitnall barely audible when he should be whipping up a firestorm. They hit their stride, though, with “Baddies Boogie”, which provokes a crowd surge that alarms the Academy security enough to stop the show, the band leaving the stage while a few bodies are removed from the mosh-pit and the crowd encouraged to move back, a pretty sensible suggestion from the point of view of anyone being crushed against the front-of-stage crash barriers, or whatever it is they’ve got down there.
Pete repeats the same message when he comes back on for a full-blooded “Beg, Steal Or Borrow” and “The Blinding” and “Sedative”, which grows out of broody beginnings into a glorious mass singalong, one of many, the audience keen to join in whenever they can, which they do with particular gusto on the old Libertines favourite “Time For Heroes”.
Their only restive moments are probably on the songs from the unreleased but widely available Bumfest sessions, including “Unstookietitled” and “Unbilotitled”. “Killimangiro”, though, has the crowd sounding like something you might hear at a Cup Final. Kate Moss makes a fantastic two-part cameo during “La Belle Et Le Bete”, and her wiggling exits are among the evening’s undisputed highlights and the cause of much hearty cheering.
Pete’s early dapperness is a thing of the recent past, reduced now to a state of merry dishevelment, matched by a rough but lovely duet with Wolfman on what’s announced as the first-ever live airing of “For Lovers” and a raucously poptastic “I Wish”, after which the band promptly split.
The audience is by now is such a condition of euphoria they would probably have performed the encores entirely by themselves, but are joined anyway by a returning Babyshambles for “Albion”, “Back From The Dead” and “Fuck Forever”, which even deprived of Pat Walden’s original epic guitar intro is still a lusty anthem, the kind of thing the eventually departing crowd will sing long into the night on their various journeys to wherever they call home.
Outside, I am even more pleased to note that the finger-wagging placards I mentioned earlier are being torn down and ripped up by delirious fans, joyously refusing to toe the line, and letting the world know what they really think of the notorious Pete and how he looks currently ended up, which looks to me to be nearly the top of the world.
Just because it’s always worth watching, meanwhile, here’s a quick link to Babyshambles’ fantastic performance of “Albion” at last year’s NME Awards, the night’s high spot in fact.
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
What an ace night, best ive seen the shambles by far.
I thought the setlist was:
beg steal borrow
carry on up the morning
la belle et la bete
time for heroes
what katie did
back from the dead
side of the road
twas absolutely magnificent. started with best post pat version of pipe
ive heard and moved onto the ever growing baddies boogie. time flew by
some songs from the blinding ep, and later la belle et la bete avec
Moss roared out. the higlight of the night for me was delivery, that
into time for heroes and the crowd went wild. fuck forever was amazing
after a long wait for the encore back from the dead bounded out and
the shambles finished with the little known side of the road. my mark =
*gives thumbs up*
Monday, 19 February 2007
didn't make sense tonight. The words "Don''t End Up Like Pete The
gave out a confusing message. If tonight's show is what a 'junkie' can
achieve, well...it seems Judge McIvor has known what has been possible
the sign posters had better take a second look at what Pete is doing
days.Peter Doherty was in total control of his voice and his guitar
as he lead the band and his two guest singers, Kate Moss and Wolfnman,
some spectacular highlights that punctuated the evening
The gig was sold out, even with the balcony open. Touts were buying
tickets for £25 and selling them for £35. The merchandise stall saw a
business, particularly for the new "Ficeck Forever" t-shirt that sold
more than freinds and family. The bar was busy while Little Man Tate
their best, but the crowd didn't care. They'd come to see the Shambles.
Pete swirled on stage with a bottle of beer and doused the first
the most pit with its contents. Straight into "Pipedown", a pared down
perfunctuary minimalistic version - partly because Mik's guitar did not
appear to be plugged into the amplifier. A QPR flag appeared on stage
issued the only boos of the night as Pete brandished it with pride.
Pete strapped up for a magnficent version of "Baddies Boogie"
to be stopped by the security because of the power of the moshpit. The
was ushered off stage and returned shortly to finish the song before
into a rocking "Beg Steal or Borrow" which has grown in electric
from its acoustic beginnings. Pete's guitar playing was adventurous and
confident, filled with atttude and heart.
Pete kept the guitar for "The Blinding" and "Unstookietitled", but
it aside for the drama of "Sedative" which saw him at the front of the
drenched in diffused light and wisps of smoke from his only cigarette
Adam and Drew were tight and even Mik's often reticient guitar
place in the spotlight. The show's most grand and eloquent moments were
"Killimangiro" which expanded to fill the Academy and the hearts of the
who sing every word as they have done for years. Gone was Pete's cry
believe in love" and instead his silence and the energy of the band
the sonic room.
It was followed by "Side of the Road" and "You Talk" before Kate
the crowd in "La Belle et Le Bete" with her deadpan vocal and her crazy
girls-just-want-to-have-fun squiggle off the stage. "The Delivery"
despite a few sour notes and "Time for Heroes" was greeted with raised
and fists punching the air.
"Unbilotitled" was followed by a thank you from Pete to "Ms. Moss"
before introducing Wolfman who joied him to sing what is called the
live peformance of "For Lovers". It worked really well and seemed
touchingly appropriate in this night of unions and reunions.
A poppy "I Wish" closed the set and gave the crowd a new chorus to
while waiting for an encore which was "Albion", "Back from the Dead",
There were many new fans tonight. They didn't know the words to
"Bumfest" songs and demanded those they were familiar with. There was
"Pete, Pete, Pete". No hats, letters or pieces of jewellery were thrown
to the stage. No fans lighting his cigarette from the foot of the
Pete didn't stage dive. Patrick didn't spark out splintered
was a different night. As good as the old ones. I hope to see many
nights like this.
Sunday, 18 February 2007
And that was the last I saw of her.
Until that is... Pete walked on stage carrying her lovingly in his arms.
Wowwwwww She’d done it. She’d finally realised her dream and hit the big time.
Her last minute audition on the tour bus must have ticked all the right boxes and been a huge success.
I Can’t believe my eyes – one minute she’s sitting on a shelf at home practising her song, and a couple of hours later she’s
On stage with her Hero – Pete Doherty - as his bloody backing singer.
At one point she even shared the mike (mice) with Pete – duetting with him.
Tears of pride welled up in my eyes.
I haven’t heard from her since, and she’s not answering her mobile, so I’m getting a little worried now – because what I thought was a glimpse of a new red polka dot skirt could well have been her little spotted hanky tied up with all her worldly goods. (the kind you tie to a stick and ceremoniously throw over your shoulder in all the old fairytales)
After the show, when leaving my seat -I had to make sure no-one could see my bottom. – not that I sat down that much, but the one time I did - someone chucked a fag end away and it ended up in my seat and set me on fire ! wondered what the sensation was that was getting hotter and hotter.... first I thought it was a slug of warm lager...and then it was hot as coal... owwwcccchhhhhhh. and then I had a glaring big hole in my skirt
After reclaiming my camera from the ‘heavies’ which was snatched from me mid-gig.
I then walked round to the side exit to congratulate her – but there was no sign of her...
I personally thought she’d have headed into the little olde pub next door to wait for me - cos she likes the odd tipple – but
I heard a low whisper in the crowd - that after the show, she’d been offered a modelling contract and someone actually witnessed her being whisked off and stepping into a Black Land Rover Registration GIO ... which was still parked up outside. The windows were blacked out – so I couldn’t see inside. Hmmmmmmm
Looks like her voice and that little Polka Dot number went down a ‘Storm’
YES...... WOW, DOUBLE BLOODY WOW.... The Show was Amazing !
PETE - YOU EXCELLED YOURSELF.
We LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT
And a thousand thankyous for taking Lucy into your heart and on to the stage with you.
You really are a Sweetheart with a heart of Gold.
From this day forth – may polka dots fill your eyes – and skies !
Please look after her and try and Keep her off the hard stuff – She’s led a very sheltered life.
The worst she’s ever had is over-ripe gorgonzola
With special Love x x x Lorraine and Daisy
Mestre Pete nasceu no dia 12 de março,
Mas nós nunca saberemos, não, nunca saberemos de
Onde veio todo o seu talento em poesia,
Poesia contemplada sobre as pedras da estrada.
Guerreiro, vocalista, eterno poeta Libertino;
Fez história ao lado de seu amigo Carl Barat...
E hoje canta com seus amigos dos Babyshambles
Os acordes de vida, brilha a poesia de Pete Doherty.
Pete Doherty, uma grande inspiração para mim,
Sim, mestre Pete, obrigado por me dizer que minha hora
Chegou, por mais que eles me dissessem que ela
Nunca chegaria para mim. Pete, eu te amo, sim.
Mas nós nunca vamos saber de onde seu talento veio...
Mas saberemos onde você chegará, em algum lugar
Além da eternidade, onde só a poesia é capaz de levar.
3.Beg, Steal or Borrow
4.Carry On Up The Morning (too cool for words)
10.La Belle Et La Bete (with Kate)
11.Time For Heroes
14.What Katie Did
15.There She Goes (A Little Heartache) -i myself prefer the acoustic vers.-
-At this time downstairs many fled as the lights came on, shambles only came on about 10mins after-
18.Back From The Dead
19.Side Of The Road
Pictures provided by Ian G
Friday, 16 February 2007
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Monday, 12 February 2007
"Do you have ideas?"
whispered the night
frowned her back
"I see the ancient vessel,
into raptures to the sight of the Arcadia"
said the dream looking her
"You will find your end!"
called the souls from cemetery
DIAMONDS OF THE TIME
Diamond pink, diamond grey
in the end of the door
in the black hole of illusion.
In the heart our colours shatter
Aurora D'Amico 2007
Friday, 9 February 2007
Art for Arkady is a new and rapidly growing exhibitiion space for artists who create community art projects, drawings, paintings, collages, photographs, videos and The Unexpected.
Contributions are needed every month for new exhibitions on the main page and in the Blog Gallery. If you would like to show your work please get in touch - no one will be refused.
There is a new forum - Art for Arkady Artists Group - where comments can be made about the shows and discussions can be held about techniques and skills.
Remember to subscribe to the blog where you can find surprises from time to time.
Art for Arkady hopes you will be inspired by what you see. Have fun and enjoy the views.
Visit it here
Drawing by Greenmind
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
a reality so dire we blacken our insides till we blend in.
I go on distracting myself from misery so I don't get in too deep
but all around I see people not just lying to themselves but never asking questions
it sickens me to see so many consuming without creating
I'm growing warped into someone I hardly recognise
all the love in my eyes turned to hate and despise
spirits rest uneasily inside my head
the spirits of questions left unanswered
destined for my dreams or doomed to fail
this question ways heavily upon my mind
constantly growing till I topple and fall
but with time and buckets of wine I re-find my feet, my faith and friends
though still a fool to many blind eye
those few who can truly see, those I respect, they like me
with the fire of life inside
so many dark secrets, through this their beauty still shines
their dark matter simply casts light in different pattens,
never to stop life for it burns too brightly inside
but there are still days like today the world seems so lifeless,
wondering alone again till we find those of like mind
Josh Slade 2007
Monday, 5 February 2007
Swiss army knife out for a walk
tonight looking for fresh
flesh craving for warm running
blood step by step on scissor
legs making its way to a willing
victim screaming for gashing
wounds straight down to the
bones broken with an iron
rod lying around suspiciously
staring at the now empty
chair clinging on to an open
window to despair
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Waiting on its rays to rain down on me
Sadly it never comes out to play
And I’m left sitting here alone
Still I will wait and contemplate
Looking out my window from this house
I call my home at the people in a rush
Have they found something I haven’t seen?
The only time I’m happy is in my dreams
When you are there; then I awake
To a world that doesn’t care
Care about life, Care about love
A world that in times of strife
Always has to look above
To a god that does not exist
And always persists on using there names
To force their views and claims
I don’t believe in anyone!
So please let me follow the sun
It must come out someday to shine
And until it does I will wait
Using this time that is mine