The rock'n'roll life of Carl Barât

In honour of the publication of Libertines co-founder Carl Barât's autobiography here are some of the unexpected highlights of this generation's defining rock'n'roll rapscalians

On Pete Doherty's taste

Pete lived and breathed London – he'd go to charity shops and buy corduroy trousers, kitsch tea sets and Chris Barber vinyls, and he had a certificate to show he'd climbed the Monument.

On band mythology

Peter and I, if we were trying to motivate each other to do something, we'd say "Do it for the Albion", and it would work. It would spur us into action even if it did sound like we were talking about West Brom.

On London's rock'n'roll corners of filth

I was always annoyed that my Richmond [university] halls didn't have a London postcode – they were in TW1, on the other side of the river – so I ended up moving with a friend to Sheen.

On inter-band finances

Even when Peter wasn't forging my signature, I'm about as adept with money as the World Bank – by which I mean not at all.

On legging it from a Camden restaurant after not paying

... it was like the rush to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon.

On bedsit sanitation

[We had a] Grand Old Toilet Cistern; it reminded me of ringing a church bell everytime I pulled the heavy chain to flush it.

On playing at a nursing home

A couple of nurses came in and quietly drew a curtain around one of the the beds. It transpired that its occupant had died during our performance of Music When The Lights Go Out ... but what a pertinent song to go out on.

On hygiene

At one point I had impetigo on my legs that I couldn't help rubbing, and the trousers eventually blended with the scab.

On technology

I'd stopped using Ceefax by the time travel became a big part of my life with the band.

On Vitamin C

We'd started drinking on the plane out of London and I wasn't sure we'd stopped. Somebody had recommended Berocca to us, so we started overdosing on it …"

On accepting awards

Peter and I didn't accept our Best British Band award by spouting platitudes or gurning happily into the cameras. Instead, we recited Siegfried Sassoon's war poem Suicide In The Trenches, which had a bit more impact than the usual monkeys thanking their labels.

On moving to New York

The first thing I did after I arrived was … buy Coca-Cola to put in the fridge … The only thing that spoilt it was that I'd picked up a Vanilla Coke by accident, which really pissed me off and ruined everything a little.

On celebrity

The TV show Fifth Gear once asked me to appear, but I doubt their researchers had done their work, I can't drive

On irony

That's how you talk and think when you've been doing cocaine and booze for a week – like a bad paperback.

Threepenny Memoir, The Lives Of A Libertine (Fourth Estate) is out now


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