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Pete Doherty | Stranger in my own skin: Strict childhood, literature… | The true face of the rock star

Pete Doherty | Stranger in my own skin: Strict childhood, literature… | The true face of the rock star

Pete Doherty | Stranger in my own skin:

The documentary, broadcast this Monday on Canal, reveals an intimate side of Pete Doherty based on more than 200 hours of rushes.

Memoirs in French version, a new album with The Libertines and a documentary directed by Katia deVidas. It’s hard to miss the British rocker at the moment. Pete Doherty, Stranger in my own skin, broadcast this Monday on Canal+, reveals an intimate face of the musician based on more than 200 hours of rushes over nearly ten years. Initially, the director, then a film student, was recruited by Christian Fevret, one of the founders of the magazine Les Inrockuptibles, to follow the rock star with a camera.

At the end of this work, she became his wife and the mother of his third child born in 2023. If the documentary shows without taboo the taste of the star singer of the Libertines for the syringe, it above all highlights a lesser known facet of the great audience: a deeply fragile, poetic and joking man.

Very strict military education

Pete Doherty describes a childhood behind the barbed wire of the military barracks where he grew up. “There were parades, floats, obstacle courses, checkpoints and armed soldiers,” he confides. Apart from the wives and children, everyone wore uniform. To go to school you had to leave the barracks, in Northern Ireland you had to check that there wasn’t a bomb under the car. I was never to say that my father was in the military. He was sergeant major, he was there to maintain order.”

His mother, a military nurse, married his father a week after meeting him. Pete Doherty says he grew up in a strict family. “You had to shine your shoes and not answer. Everything revolved around the discipline of military life. Until I was 12 or 13, it was the heart of my identity and my life,” continues the man who ends up feeling constrained in this daily life where he “couldn’t do anything.”

A passion for poetry and literature

As a child, “I read everything I could find,” confides the singer. A passion that never left him. He also began studying English literature at the University of London at the age of 18. “I always had this mysterious attraction, this fantasy around laudanum [opium-based liquid], opium, cocaine, “Kubla Khan” [a poem which was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge after an opium intake], Chatterton, Hunter Thompson. And so this little bag that I had, of cheap and poor quality heroin, became in my mind the sacred key to another dimension,” he breathes. Throughout the documentary, he makes references to the great authors – Dostoyevsky, William Burroughs, Victor Hugo, James Joyce. He visits the Crime and Punishment exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, a masterpiece of Russian literature that he has read four times. The documentary reveals a troubled soul fascinated by great texts and the arts in general.

An unexpected success

“I knew a few chords and I had ideas for songs,” Pete Doherty said in 2002 during an interview with Carl Barât, with whom he co-founded The Libertines. “My ideas seemed to fit with Carl’s,” he continues. And his partner continues: “We were like two one-legged people who couldn’t get up alone and learned to walk together.”

He also recounts his father’s surprise at this career choice: “You don’t know how to write songs, you’ve never shown any inclination for music, you don’t know how to sing.” However, the magic happens and The Libertines explodes. The group’s success has been compared to the Beatles phenomenon. But after two albums (Up the Bracket and The Libertines), Pete and Carl’s paths separated in 2004 (they would meet again years later).



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