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A Likely Lad

A Likely Lad

by Peter Doherty and Simon Spence
Publication Date: 14/06/2022

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RRP  $32.99

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The long-awaited, candid memoir from Pete Doherty, whose talent as a musician has more often been eclipsed by a Herculean-appetite for self-destruction: crack, heroin, prison, prostitution, court, murder, death, robbery, car crashes and hospital emergencies.

Peter Doherty is the last of the great rock 'n' roll stories - maybe even the best ever rock 'n' roll story. Since his band The Libertines rose to international fame, he has proved endlessly fascinating, the subject of numerous books, documentaries, magazine articles, front-page newspaper headlines and TV news reports. This, for the first time, is his version of his story.

As an icon Doherty is on a par with the early Rolling Stones and Sid Vicious as a bad boy and public enemy. To his hundreds of thousands of devoted fans he is a cult hero, a modern-day rebel Rimbaud. He divides critics - for every award and accolade (Greatest Hero of Rock or No 1 on the Cool List) there is a scathing review, an objection almost to his very being. Musically, there is no doubt he has defined the past twenty years of British rock 'n' roll with his sound, words, attitude, lifestyle, aesthetic and early buccaneering use of the internet to communicate with fans directly. It is also true that too often his talents as a songwriter and performer have been over-looked amid the whirlwind of controversy and scandal that has tailed him since his first spell in prison in 2003.

Hard drugs, deaths, tiny gigs on the hoof, huge stadium shows, collaborations, obliterations, gangsters and groupies - Doherty has led a life of huge highs and incredible lows. It is all here: the music; the friendships; the distractions (exhibitions of blood paintings, modelling for famous fashion designers, lead roles in esoteric French films); deaths and self-destruction (he admits working as a rent boy). We are inside mansions, decadent parties, the jailhouse, the studio, in crack dens, at home (Doherty has two children) and, of course, in bed. With his trademark wit and humour, Doherty reflects on his era-defining relationship with supermodel Kate Moss and the other significant women (and men) in his life.

Doherty also talks poetry, Paris (where he spends much time), philosophy, books, politics, football (QPR), cars, managers, the music business and his key influences (from Hancock to Baudelaire). There is humour, warmth, insight, baleful reflection and a defiant sense of triumph.

There is harrowing detail and acknowledgement of the damage hard drugs have done - the endless litany of misdemeanours such as drink-driving, car theft, possession of heroin, crack and ketamine, robbery, hit-and-run and blackmail. Doherty's description of multiple stretches in jail, attempts at rehab, painful relapses, gruesome hospital emergencies, and estrangement from his family are eye-wateringly candid and free from self-pity. In a remarkable section, Doherty ruminates on his recent rapprochement with his father, a former Major in the British Army, after a decades-long wall

Autobiography: general
Publication Date:
Little, Brown Book Group
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defence.

Based at the University of Melbourne, he continues to be involved in research directed at understanding and preventing the severe consequences of influenza virus infection.

He has published five books for general readers, including the bestselling The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize.

Simon Spence

Simon Spence collaborated with Rolling Stones manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham on the classic memoirs Stoned and 2Stoned and is the author of seven admired non-fiction books on subjects such as Immediate Records, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Bay City Rollers.

As a music journalist he has written for NME, Dazed & Confused, The Face, i-D, The Independent, Japan Times, International New York Times, Record Collector, Q and Mojo. His latest book is All Or Nothing: The Authorised Story of Steve Marriott.

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