A lot of men in London think Pete Doherty is overestimated. A lot of men think he is a so-so songwriter and not all that good looking. A lot of men in the London music industry will tell you that they think he might have one good album in him, if he lives to make it. The opinionated clown Paul Morley (whose active contribution to popular music was Frankie Goes to Hollywood) said on the BBC that 26 is the dangerous age, that he is worried for Pete because he has now reached that age when young men in rock bands top themselves or die from drugs.
A lot of women in London think that Doherty is the most talented or sexiest man alive. These women don't have such complicated notions about the Babyshambles singer.
People say that Pete Doherty is afraid to give up heroin in case he loses his gift by going straight. He may be right but, since he got his latest anti-narcotic implant, he has put on a few pounds, scored a top five U.K. single, launched a new website, and begun showing up for gigs.
Babyshambles are on a roll. Their third single, Fuck Forever, entered the British charts at number four in August and the band did well during their late August Reading Festival performance. Backstage at Reading their tour manger said, "I didn't even know that we had enough music to play for an hour." Babyshambles showed up late for a Norwegian show when Doherty and a pal got detained at Oslo airport for carrying 1.7g of cocaine and 1.5g of heroin. They were fined 700 pounds each and released.
Balachadha.com, the new Doherty site, is allegedly the brainchild of Pete and what The Guardian newspaper calls, "his friend and literary agent, Paul Roundhill, who has shot four hours of intriguing footage of Doherty performing, relaxing and talking with close friends, which will be available to subscribers to the site."
Roundhill, one of Doherty's cronies who styles himself his literary agent (and not a literary agent who happens to have befriended the singer) scammed the gullible Guardian hack into thinking that the site represented some historic cultural development. Subscribers will, allegedly, be able to download the series of home movie-style videos, with the promise of further clips, poetry and extracts from Doherty's journals.
Now open for business, the site currently boasts a bio, some demos, and a shop - no movies or journals. In any case, downloads of Doherty demos and extracts from his diaries have been all over the Web for the last twelve months as Babyshambles used new technology to announce, often as 24 hours' notice, guerrilla gigs in the back rooms of pubs or fan's apartments.
The Guardian was told that Doherty wanted his site to be as "honest" about his drug use as possible. Bala Chadha means "top blonde" or "good white" in Bengali - and is East End slang used by dealers selling crack cocaine.
Pete Doherty continues to be rock's last hope in London. What a pity that he is so caught up in overly convoluted media games and what passes for strategy in middlebrow rag trade circles.
check it out for yo'self: Balachada.com
Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.