What a waster (pt 2): Libertines' Doherty refuses to play, again

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The Independent Culture

Poor Pete Doherty. He plays two free concerts in a single night and still ends up being accused of selling his fans down the river.

Poor Pete Doherty. He plays two free concerts in a single night and still ends up being accused of selling his fans down the river.

Hooked on heroin and crack cocaine, the estranged frontman of The Libertines had so wanted his solo tour to send a message to the world (and the other Libertines) that he was still in control of his life.

But furious fans have turned on him for failing to honour a concert at Barfly, north London. Doherty kept the crowd waiting for two hours at the venue on Monday night and then, seconds after his arrival, left without performing.

Distraught fans included a two lads who had spent the day travelling down from Glasgow especially for the show after getting hold of prized tickets for the 150-capacity gig.

"Disgusting," Jenny Elwiss, 19, from Ilford, told the London Evening Standard. "I know he's going through a bad period but he can't treat people like that. To me, he's just another arrogant pop star now."

But when Doherty woke up yesterday to the latest wave of controversy, he was no doubt rubbing his eyes with a sense of disbelief, wondering what all the fuss was about. Despite his no-show at the Barfly, Doherty did actually give two live performances on Monday, in his flat on the outskirts of the City of London where he played until 4am.

On Monday night about 80 people, some barely in their teens, some a generation older, had crammed into his apartment after Doherty, using the sign-on Peter, posted a message on his website (babyshambles.com), telling fans to gather for a secret gig at a series of phone boxes near his home. "The phones will ring after six o'clock," he advised.

Those that took up the invitation heard an acoustic set that included tracks from the new Libertines album, which will be released at the end of the month. The performance continued after Doherty returned from Barfly.

Doherty wrote much of the material for that project but has been told by his former sidekick Carl Barat and the rest of the band that he cannot rejoin the group until he cleanses himself of his drug addictions.

The rest of The Libertines are currently in Japan, having performed at the Fuji rock festival ahead of planned gigs at the Carling festivals in Reading and Leeds. The English shows, designed to coincide with the launch of the self-titled album, will almost certainly go ahead without Doherty.

After his impromptu performance on Monday night, Doherty was due to play last night at the Scala, north London, with self-styled "Rock Poet" Wolfman, with whom he had a hit single "For Lovers" earlier this year.

Doherty had begun his Albion tour on 26 July in Glasgow and was ecstatic with the reception he received. "Intimacy, inspiration and sweet, sweet music the night before during and after the show the like of which I've never known," he wrote on his website. "And I confess a quiet sorrow that perhaps the first night of the tour was to be the greatest. How could that be matched?"

Monday night's show at Barfly was to have been the seventh of a successful tour. But after doing his first impromptu gig at home, Doherty arrived at the venue with an entourage that included dedicated fans who had been unable to obtain tickets. Doherty wanted them to be allowed in to a venue that was already full with an increasingly impatient crowd.

An altercation is said to have taken place when Doherty's guitar technician and close friend Chev was refused entry. Doherty decided not to perform. His support act, Andrew Aveling, was left to break the news to an exasperated crowd.

Sean Hamilton, of The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column, was among the crowd and was one of a group who followed Doherty back to his flat where dozens of fans were waiting for the second impromptu gig to begin.

He said: "In Pete's head, the venue was full of people who had managed to get tickets or who were on record company 'freebies'. The real fans were at home, in his view, and I was surprised at how accommodating he was to them."