Pete Doherty & Rupert Everett, between the covers
I skipped through the morning's Observer, once it dried from my dash from the paper shop in an icy torrent. My team Leicester City shipped a goal in the final minute of play, and the mandarins of Whitehall have their gimlet eye focused on spearing Blair for all his manipulations of truth in taking us to war in Iraq. I read those items and skipped to the magazines.
They're normally a quick flick-though - but I paused and read twice today.
Peter Doherty gives a splendid mini autobiography, snippets of life seen through records that influenced him. I've watched him ghost through the tabloids, presumed him to be interesting without ever really checking in, but this guy can write. Brief little vignettes with a pacy hold on language and drama.
I see a book of his writings, The Books of Albion, is out. He mentions, in these today's grand music squibs, writing a novel. Well go back to it Pete. I could look forward to that one.
I went on to the interview with Rupert Everett. I like the bravura of his writing, but tend to wilt at book length at the 'stiff upper quip' element, the finding shelter in some joke. The rawness and perception of him in interview would be something good if channelled into a book. It's better to be out than closetted, he tells us, but there's no chance of being a gay star in Hollywood. They'll shoot you down at the first whiff of failure. And Madomnna's never forgiven him for the holds-barred portrait of her in his biography. That's writers for you, scraping off the veneer. He's specializing on dead people next time, because the dead can't sue.
My own last approach to write a biography of someone living (James Purdy) brought heavy legal threats just because of the way I had punctuated a short story of his. upert Everett lives a social life. I'm not sure how easily that sits with writing. Pete Doherty's prison slots are more like it, life at the raw edge with time to reflect.