The Libertines and Babyshambles star Pete Doherty lived in Ramsgate storage yard after hotel ban

2022-06-15 13:33:54 By : Ms. Summer Liu

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Libertines rocker Pete Doherty lived in a storage container in Ramsgate after being booted out of the band's hotel – and paid the owner with pricey pieces of art.

The musician has revealed he was forced to find new digs after he was evicted from Margate's Albion Rooms by bandmate Carl Barât.

The story is one of many Kent tales in his new tell-all autobiography, A Likely Lad, in which he also charts his battles with drug addiction, unsuccessful stints in rehab and run-ins with the police.

One of his brushes with the law saw him banned from driving for riding an e-scooter in Margate - a place he says will “never be gentrified”.

In the book he also tells of “desperate times” in the seaside town, and regales readers with some more light-hearted anecdotes, including the time he famously conquered a mega breakfast challenge at a Cliftonville cafe.

‘The hotel was pretty awful’

The Albion Rooms was snapped up by the four members of The Libertines in 2017.

When it was unveiled three years later, the Victorian structure featured a plush restaurant, café, bars and recording studio, which the musicians hoped would be their “very own Warholian Factory”.

But before it underwent the £450,000 makeover, the B&B – which used to be called the Palm Court Hotel – had been rated as “terrible” by 57% of its guests on TripAdvisor.

Mr Doherty says in his memoir the building “was all rotten green carpets and green doors with paint peeling off”. Despite this, he moved in as the work to transform it began.

“But then as the development took shape and studio rooms were semi-usable, Carl began the long process of trying to extricate me out of Margate,” he writes.

“For me the hotel was heaven, because we suddenly had this bricks-and-mortar place which was suitably dilapidated and in a kind of murky underworld area.

“They'll try like hell, but I don't think they'll ever be able to gentrify Margate - it's an incredible place to slip through the cracks.

“Or a terrible place to slip through the cracks, a tragic place in a lot of ways.”

Mr Doherty fell on what he describes as “some desperate times” in the town, prompting friend Jai Stanley to send him to a rehab facility in Mauritius.

Life in a storage yard

Upon returning to the hotel, the rocker saw movers lugging his belongings from the building as it entered the final stages of its refurbishment.

“Carl had had enough. I set up camp in this storage yard in Ramsgate, next to a breaker's yard," he says.

Doherty lived in a storage container and paid the rent in art pieces - until Mr Stanley realised the owner had accumulated a number of valuable canvases.

Over this period, Mr Doherty says he “was smoking a lot of crack again, and I was getting nicked as well”.

The frontman was banned from driving in 2019 after totting up more than 12 points on his licence.

Months later, he was hauled in front of magistrates after riding an electric scooter in the middle of the night while searching for one of his dogs.

Mr Doherty claimed he didn’t know he wasn't able to ride the e-scooter legally, after claiming he was told by police – who stopped him in Broadstairs for selfies – he could ride it on the pavement.

“I was bowling around Margate at five or six in the morning with the dogs, and I got to know all the other people walking their dogs at the same time,” he remembers.

“I was working through a driving ban until very recently because of confusion over the law with that scooter - I didn't realise electric scooters are illegal to use on UK roads and pavements.”

‘I have the nickname Pigman’

In August 2018, the Time for Heroes singer made headlines for smashing through a mega food challenge consisting of four eggs, four pieces of bacon, four sausages, chips, hash browns, onion rings, beans, mushrooms, two slices of toast and a tea.

The lyricist polished off the meal at the Dalby Café in Cliftonville in less than 20 minutes, becoming the first person to have done so since 2014.

Alan Wood, who manages the premises, told KentOnline the former Babyshambles member “just sat there and had a fag while watching the world go by” after clearing his plate.

A photo of Mr Doherty – who appeared sweaty and pale – taking on the dish was shared widely online.

“I didn't mind the chef taking a picture of me doing the challenge, but the picture was awful - he just took it on his phone,” he writes.

“I had no idea what people were saying about that. I used to read the local paper, but otherwise I was well out of touch.

“I was mainly writing songs and scavenging for drugs – of which there are a lot in Margate – so it didn't really affect me.

“Jai would say, ‘It's blown up, this thing about the breakfast’.

“It's funny because in The Libertines I have the nickname Pigman.”

Doherty says while his addiction issues saw him find himself in more than the occasional spot of bother in Margate, there were “good moments too”.

He tells how his bandmates in The Libertines would often pop down to Kent to visit.

“One time in the middle of the night we all made a fire on the beach with crates and petrol,” he recalls.

“Carl and I would have these mostly unsuccessful writing sessions at the hotel. We were trying to write some scripts together, and I was doing lots of little gigs around Margate, mixing with musicians and underground theatre people - there was an exodus of creative energy from London, people who couldn't afford to live there.”

Trying to save a hedgehog

Mr Doherty says he was also none the wiser about the stir that was caused by his stay in hospital for treatment on a gash from a hedgehog spike.

For three days he ignored the cut until it became infected. He described the medics at the Manchester Royal Infirmary who treated his wound as absolute angels when he was discharged.

The personality says he suffered the injury after trying to save the creature from his dogs.

He adds: “I had a proper good connection in Liverpool.

“He came by train [to Manchester] and brought me 10 of each, so I was lovely in that room with my f***** finger, smoking the brown and white in the hospital.”

‘I’m alive and well’

In 2019, while on tour in Paris, Doherty was arrested twice in 48 hours - the first time for trying to score drugs and the second for attacking a man on a scooter who reportedly came close to colliding with the singer’s dogs.

The rocker avoided jail, despite being convicted of cocaine possession and affray, saying he was "very lucky" to stay free.

Since that close shave, the guitarist has used the medicine buvidal to treat his addiction.

He credits it for helping him steer clear of heroin over the past two years, along with his move to Normandy with his wife, Katia de Vidas, just before the pandemic.

But the rocker says he was tempted to stay in Margate for the rest of his life.

“I'm alive and well and sleeping every night now,” he says in his book.

“I do miss England, though.”

A Likely Lad by Pete Doherty and Simon Spence is published by Little, Brown on Thursday, June 16. Hardback copies will be available from Amazon and Waterstones.

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