Nothing To Sniff At

The celebrity junkie now occupies the place once occupied by the celebrity drunk, wrote The Independent diarist Terence Blacker, commenting on the news that Pete Doherty has been given a reported £150,000 advance to put his thoughts in print.

“Where Oliver Reed and George Best once staggered to general outrage and entertainment, a new crew of tooters and mainliners can be found,” Blacker continued.

Although many might feel that getting 150 grand for a book he’s unlikely to complete is nothing to be sniffed at, The Independent columnist said Doherty has been dealt a short measure.

Describing it as a paltry advance, Blacker put forward the view that “publishers are falling over themselves to sign up anyone with a high-profile habit.”

Orion (“the crafty publisher”) will make its money back in one printing, he argued.

“Destroying himself in full view, Doherty is every publisher’s dream author.”

Orion staged a June 21st press bash to announce the deal but Doherty failed to show, leaving commissioning editor Ian Preece to vibe up the assembled hacks.

“From the early books a fascinating and very entertaining picture emerges of the young poet, broke in London, serving popcorn at the Prince Charles Cinema, dreaming of creating a band infused with the ‘spirit of Albion,'” he gushed.

Preece and his staff has reportedly started with 20 volumes of Doherty’s “poems, drawings, film reviews and lyrics,” which they’ve edited down to one hard-back volume that’s scheduled to be out March 2007.

This abridged version of the Babyshambles frontman’s original magnum opus is, according to Preece, “intimate, honest, very readable and very funny in places; pretty dark in others.”

It also reportedly has Doherty’s own articulate take on the events that have made him tabloid front-page news for the last couple of years or so, including his relationship with model Kate Moss, his battle to overcome heroin addiction and his numerous appearances in court.

He first attracted daily newspaper attention when he was finally kicked out of The Libertines after breaking into bandmate Carl Barat’s flat to steal cash for drugs.

If Doherty updates right up until this arguably much-awaited tome goes to press, then a chapter on the last four weeks could detail how his behavior on a London-Barcelona flight led Spanish police to hold the plane on the tarmac for an hour, how he then checked in and out of a Portuguese addiction clinic, got fined 14,000 Swedish kronor (£1,030) for having traces of cocaine in his blood following his performance at Hultsfred Festival and then failed to show at Switzerland’s Greenfield Festival.

Borrowing another phrase from Preece, it’s all about “Pete’s rise to fame and his changing world.”

– John Gammon