'From Albion to Shangri-La': Peter Doherty on Drug Addiction and Amy Winehouse

9:00 PM PST 06/30/2014 by Richard Smirke, London
Chris Godley

Two excerpts from the ex-Libertines/Babyshambles lead vocalist's new memoir, coming out today.

Pete Doherty, or Peter Doherty, as he now calls himself, is a man of many public personas: solo artist; Babyshambles frontman; occasional film actor (he starred alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg in 2012's Confession of a Child of the Century); tabloid favorite; Kate Moss' ex; wayward drug addict; and, most famously, singer with the Libertines, the influential British guitar band that he formed with Carl Barat, and which re-formed this year for a series of high-profile U.K. shows. Less well known is that Doherty is also an assiduous keeper of journals.

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In these exclusive excerpts from From Albion to Shangri-La, an engrossing, raw and at times comically baffling collection of the singer's private diaries dating from 2008 to 2013, out July 1 from Thin Man Press, Doherty discusses the painful realities of drug addiction and his close friendship with Amy Winehouse — all told in his characteristically frank stream-of-consciousness prose style (ellipses are all the author's own). "Doherty-world is not an easy one to figure out," says the book's editor Nina Antonia, who calls the artist "as transient as the phases of the moon."

CONFESSIONS OF A JUNKIE. "For one by nature sensitive it is curious, though mostly unpleasant, to experience the numb blankness that blankets the soul in the midst of a true and keenly attached term of chronic narcotic submersion. The dry fur in the close of the throat, the oily smudged appearance of the mouth and eyes, the stiff back of legs, the swollen and severed arms. The heaving chest. The stained hands and filthy aura. Bombed out mouth and crippled colourless tongue. The vacant opinion and vacuous state of personality. The unpredictable libido and surreal sense of time and space. The psychosis and the blood-letting, head that hangs so heavy around the dark doorway, smoking, ever the … drifting for the eternally … luminous piss and clotted spunk."

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CLOSE RELATIONS WITH AMY WINEHOUSE. "The red tops were alleging that Amy and I were at it like rabid nymphomaniac dogs. The plot thickens ... safe in the knowledge that that night was a ... I was honestly able to defend myself, and sadly shook my head in pity and sadness that Blakey [Blake Fielder Civil, former husband of Amy Winehouse] should even for a second doubt my loyalty. Now then … after they divorced I still hadn't even dreamed of upon the Winehouse making a move and yet it seemed that Blake was still threatening all manner of unspeakable acts upon my head, convinced as he was that I'd doinked his dearest ex-missus. Streuth! Now then at some point of course, particularly just after stage at V-Festival last year I had a too brief a jig of Humpty Dumpty with the Duchess and it all comes to a head now that they appear to be seeing each other again. He's texting me thinly-veiled threats in his suitable state. Could turn nasty, nasty, nasty. Giving some big-house slag a back hander — probably two pence to bash me about like a plastic inflatable horses head. Possibly."

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