19 December 2007

Have we enough to keep it together?

I just watched a documentary about Pete Doherty. It's hard to say whether I'm a huge fan of his or not - I have 2 songs by the Libertines on my iPod which I love but have never felt the need to look (listen) any further into his music. Musically I'd say he's a good lad. Even if the 2 songs I have are the only good ones he's done (probably unlikely) then that's still 2 more songs than I've written and others have enjoyed and 2 more than shitloads of other hugely popular artists have done that I could like. There aren't 2 U2 songs I like, there aren't 2 Clash songs that I like, there aren't 2 Bad Brains songs that I like (mind you I don't know any Bad Brains). So there you go - if 2 songs makes me a fan then fine, I'll sign whatever.

Anyway, what I've worked out is that even after nearly an hour of watching this documentary about him I still don't really know him. That's obvious right? I've seen him on the telly, I've seen him in the music press and I've seen him splashed all over the tabloids. I would imagine I have as much idea as most people about him. So why is it so common for people to say "Oh that guy's a prick" ? You can't judge somebody you don't know. Well, you can but that does make you unqualified and with an uninformed opinion, which means if there was an argument about actual facts then you'd probably lose.

Your opinion however is yours and can't be proved wrong. If going on the sketchy rumours, presumptions and stories that you've seen in the mainstream media (and what other kind of media is there? That you can trust anyway?) you've decided you don't like him then fair enough but you must realise that your opinion is informed by others of a similar position in that they don't know him either. If you see a photo of him looking drunk or fucked up alongside a story about drug abuse then your opinion is only being formed by what you've read of somebody else's opinion - it's not necessarily fact. Just because a journalist writes it in a paper it doesn't mean it's real.

When an article contains a sentence like " "Pete's really been on the brown lately" a pal said..." then what evidence is there that is is true? "A pal said" is not evidence is it? Nobody's being named that could be done for slander.

I'm losing track of what I first meant to say about him, it didn't start out as being as obvious as a rant about the media. What I thought I was trying to say is that like Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty is way more of a victim of us than we are of him. It's us that buy the tabloids that only run the stories because we read them.

To me he's not "seeking attention" by being a fucked up rock'n'roll singer on drugs - he's a guy that wrote/sang/played 2 songs that I really like which is a lot more than most have done. When I hear people go off on one about Pete or Amy being fucking idiots or whatever they just sound like a lowest-common-denominator bloke in a pub who thinks that all immigrants should be sent home and that "our boys" are doing a good job in Iraq shooting up the towelheads.

If you're quick to judge people on what you've read about them - Pete = bad, 19 year old british soldier who died "heroically" in Iraq = good) - then I think you've started to lose the ability to use reasoning properly. It seems obvious that we should question everything we're told but people generally seem that they can't be arsed these days. If we're told it's bad it must be bad.
And it's only really the media who tells us - there isn't some central truth-bank we can go to and trust 100% is there? Unless you've witnessed something with your own eyes and ears then how do you know it to be true? Because it says so on the telly? Come on!

If Rachel tells me that the film she saw at the cinema the other night was not the kind of thing I'd enjoy I then have reason to believe her opinion because I know her well enough to know she knows my tastes and therefore trust what she says. Actually, Rach calls the cinema "an expensive sleep" so this has never happened!

If The Sun tells me that Pete Doherty takes drugs and is a nightmare then I have no real relationship with the newspaper to form any kind of trust with them. I have these 2 songs that have allowed me to form an opinion that Pete makes good music (on 2 occasions anyway). Personally I'd rather enjoy the songs than listen to a journalist I don't know and probably doesn't know Pete. I realise of course that journalists have to write stories based on what they can find out about somebody, they're unlikely to be personal friends of course, but to read constant bad news about somebody all the time might lead me to believe that the journalist/newspaper in question has it in for their subject or that, even worse, the readers might have it in for the subject.

And that's basically how it works - star puts foot wrong, newspaper reports it and reader buys it. After that we get a taste for reading about how somebody has it harder than us, the paper gets a taste for the money we've given them to read about it and the next day they run another update on the poor fucker.

And if you've got no sympathy for Pete or whoever because they got fucked up on drugs then that's up to you and your conscience. Some see them as victims of themselves, some see them as victims of the world around them. I'm not sure I can have a one-size-fits-all opinion on it.

Personally I do know I've got no sympathy for "our boys" who make the papers all the time when they've got killed in one of our lovely wars. Joining the armed forces is way more fucking stupid than taking heroin. "Oh no, he went to Iraq and got killed in battle, he was only 18, it's so sad." No it's not - he was a HIRED KILLER! If he hadn't been trained how to kill people and shipped over there he wouldn't have been in any danger. Plus - he was PAID to put himself in that situation! We don't have national service or conscription, he volunteered. It's the people HE KILLS that we should be feeling sorry for and they far, far outnumber our dead boys.

I think my basic reason for sticking up for Pete Doherty is that I've realised I don't like being told who to feel sorry for and who to demonize. The media don't necessarily have it the right way round all the time and though I feel a bit cheesy saying that it seems we all keep forgetting.

So, yeah. I've ranted. No photos of drunken friends today but just a bit of exercise for my brain. If you're not a fan of somebody's music then that's fine, if you disagree with certain politics or wars then that's fine too. Just try not to be swept along by the opinions of others and ask some fucking questions for a change. Trust is something we take a while to build up with our friends but create almost instantly with the TV and newspapers. On pressing the 'on' button on the telly our brains seem to have got to the stage where we go "this must be true." And it's possible it might not be. Remember that. I'm not saying anything new.

Now fuck off back to reading the Metro and going "ooh look at Kate's cellulite".


chas one said...

Alan Glass?

Oh that guy's a prick.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, i get you. He's still a dick tho..

and you can't find two Clash songs to like, c'mon man.

-Scott, (formerly of that stinkin flat, Glasgow)

Alan Glass said...

The Clash - I missed that fucking meeting mate, ha ha! After the Sex Pistols' raucous fuck-you-to-the-world-music we're supposed to like that middle of the road post punk wimpy shite??? The Clash are so overrated it's untrue. I'm no fan of punk in general anyway but they sound boring as hell to me.

Anonymous said...

The Clash? Kinda like a cross between Snow and The Police...

Anonymous said...

The Clash? Kinda like a cross between Snow and The Police...

Anonymous said...

The Clash? Kinda like a cross between Snow and The Police...

Alan Glass said...

We get the message wilko! thanks for leaving it 3 times! But yeah, you're right - white men doing reggae means Informer by Snow. The Clash weren't as good as that though.

Tom said...

Well that would be alright - but you and all your opinions are WRONG Alan.
See - opinions CAN be wrong, I said so.

Seriously though - Pete makes great music and writes some rather fine lyrics too. I totally ignore what anyone else thinks of him and his ups and downs - it's irrelevant (although no doubt those ups and downs go in to and make some of that rather fine music what it is).
I'm in a fortunate position though - I don't read - so I'm not influenced by newspapers and their slander, trashy or otherwise.

The Winehouse situation pisses me off even more I find.
Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album was the biggest selling album of 2007 in the UK - and yet she didn't get a *single* Brit nomination.
Not that awards are the be-all and end-all, but if she'd not be pestered by the press continuously through all her problems in what's been her most successful year, and portrayed the way she has been, then would she be at the Brits celebrating her success? Probably.
The press should simply not be allowed to ring peoples lives out like a dirty rag every single day.

Anyway - that was the best blog post EVER- and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it on my shiny new myPhone - I can justify wanking all that money on one now.

Remind me to send you some Libertines/Babyshambles albums you might not have Al ;)