Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

This brutal witch-hunt of Kate Moss would push anyone further into drink and drugs

Share
Related Topics

Could you imagine me on coke? I can't even drink coffee. Last week I was having dinner at the Tate, and I was sitting next to Sir Nicholas Serota (the director of the Tate gallery), and some how the subject of drugs came into the conversation, artists and their creative vices. Van Gogh and absinthe, Picasso and opium, Frida Kahlo and cocaine, Jean Michel Basquiat and smack, Jackson Pollock the chronic alcoholic - and Emin on her rosé. Ooh, Trace ... hard-core rock'n'droll.

Anyway, I was explaining to Sir Nicholas that I had never taken cocaine (it's true that Docket had a minor problem at one time, but it was just a kitten thing he was going through). Nick looked at me in astonishment and said: "That's really great, you've stopped taking cocaine."

I said: "No, I've never taken it," and at that precise moment it dawned on me that the entire hierarchy of the art world from top to bloody bottom had me down as a cokehead. Bad timing, really, as I had to give an after-dinner speech, in front of Lord Browne and a room full of captains of industry.

Only twice have I mucked up professionally because of my drinking. One which we all know of, oh yes, that 1997 Franz Kafka moment. That rip-roaring, chair-pulling, passion-pumping, gut-wrenching, TV panel discussion, Is Painting Dead? I swear on my life, to this day I have no memory of ever taking part in such a programme. All I know is that the next morning I woke up to find myself slammed across every newspaper. The first woman drunk on British TV who actually didn't have a problem.

Since looking back at video footage (which sadly still triggers no memory) the only real shock is that undoubtedly it was the most boring panel discussion I have ever seen, and bordering just a little bit on the sexist side.

Drunk Occasion Number Two was when I had to give a reading as part of Camberwell Arts Week. I was so fucked up, I passed out. And yes, the whole thing is on film (this time the BBC) - and Adrian Searle, the art critic of The Guardian, was in the audience. God, did he crucify me. I sent him a postcard after his review saying that I completely agreed with him, but the only problem was that it should have been published on the obituary pages.

Brief lives

Did you know that nearly all reasonably well-known people have their obituaries written before they die? Newspapers have them stockpiled, and they are constantly updated, like CVs. Last week I read an obituary of an old friend of mine. I had known this person for 13 years, but for the last five years I had refused to speak to them. They had let me down so badly that I could no longer trust them. This person had the ability to just rip through people, using, abusing and destroying on the way.

I tried to remember how this friend was before they started taking hardcore drugs. I remembered the sweet, funny, young creative person who had everything to live for. I put the obituary down and cried, because in it there was not one kind word, not one good memory.

Leave her alone

Now: let's talk about my mate Kate. How do you think her obituary would read?

Icon of the 21st century. Changed the face of fashion. Remembered for her huge acts of generosity. Loving, caring mother. Was credited as being one of the most beautiful women in the world ...

Kate has been working since she was 14, at the top of her league, without a break. Now she can have one.

Have you ever seen any of Kate's films? Her photos? Not photos of her. Not films about her, but ones that she has made. If Kate wasn't a model, I am sure she would have been an artist. I love the idea of Kate Moss, at the age of 32, going to art school, but it seems half of British society is more keen to see her go to prison (très chic, Kate, in that grey flannel outfit, with a key print all over it).

News of the World, Sunday 18 September: "Kate's lesbian threesomes!" (how come I wasn't invited), and inside lots of sordid, prettily prattily details and a naked Kate. I bet every other man who had that paper on Sunday disappeared to the potting shed for at least two minutes, while the missus did the roast.

As they crucify her, it's so obvious the words that are left out: you'll miss her when she's gone. I'm not condoning the use of drugs, but I am asking if we can have a realistic perspective on this. The way Kate Moss has been hounded and treated has the essence of a witch-hunt, which would be enough to push anybody further into drugs and drink. There are far worse things in life, but I'd say being a bully comes in the top three. Leave Kate alone.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Cameron's unexpected tax pledges give the Tories home advantage

Andrew Grice
President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.  

Obama's Secret Service has become sloppy with its delusions of Hollywood grandeur

David Usborne
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence