Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hero vs. Villain?

I’m not ashamed to say I love Pete Doherty. If I were British, I would probably both love and hate him, as in 2008 he won Hero of the Year at the NME awards, and was also nominated for Villain of the Year. However, not all British drug addicted musicians are created equal. As much as I love Pete Doherty, I can’t stand Amy Winehouse. She may be more famous, spawning look-alikes across the country on October 31 two years ago, but there is nothing about her that interests me in the least.

To me, Amy Winehouse tends to come off as somewhat pathetic. Of course it’s always sad to see someone throwing their life away on drugs, but in the end I feel that she wants the high our attention more than the high from crack or whatever she’s doing now. Between her parents’ open pleas that she get clean and come home and her stumbling around London in her bra at 3 in the morning, Amy Winehouse seems to be everywhere, showing us just how much of a mess she really is. Can you name an Amy Winehouse song besides “Rehab?” Maybe I’m just not cool enough, but I certainly can’t name one. And yet, she’s equally famous for her drug use and her music.

Pete Doherty on the other hand, is famous for dating Kate Moss and doing drugs. Unless of course, you’ve actually heard his music. True, he doesn’t have the type of easily recognizable talent that Amy Winehouse displays in her voice. But that doesn’t mean he lacks talent. And when Perez Hilton claims that Pete Doherty coming out with a solo album “has D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R written all over it,” I think it’s pretty safe to say Perez has never listened to any of his music (or realized that spelling out words like that is incredibly annoying to anyone over 12). In the U.S. at least, the people who listen to Doherty’s music and the people who obsess about him doing drugs seem to be separate audiences. Because unlike with Amy Winehouse, you can separate the two, and that’s why he made both the Hero and Villain lists.

Maybe it’s because he supposedly has a 7pm court-ordered curfew, but you don’t see Pete Doherty falling out of clubs all over the world. We know he’s a junkie, and probably far worse off than Amy Winehouse (especially since she has yet to be arrested for shooting up in an airplane bathroom!), but unlike her, he actually has managed to play a few shows this year. Amy may not like shirts or carefully applied makeup, but with his fedoras and ties, I’m fully convinced Pete would look like a somewhat normal human being if he showered once in a while and got some concealer for those circles under his eyes.

But most importantly, Pete Doherty seems to have a both a sense of humor and some self-awareness. Sure, we know Amy Winehouse doesn’t want to go to rehab, but it takes a real man to admit that you managed to break through your drug haze and cry about a breakup (Admittedly a breakup with one of the world’s top models, but still. He cried. A lot, as far as I can tell). In an interview, Pete Doherty said that “there’s no drug in the world that can compare with playing music,” and perhaps I’m naive, but I think he means it. He’s a musician that happens to be a heroin addict. Unfortunately, Amy Winehouse seems to have that backwards right now, and that is why Pete Doherty is my favorite British musician/junkie.

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