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Teenage Pete Doherty wasn’t an Oasis fan, he just wanted to get on the telly

By | Published on Wednesday 5 June 2019

Teenage Pete Doherty

A lot of things have followed Pete Doherty around throughout his career, not least a short clip of him being interviewed by MTV while queuing up to buy Oasis album ‘Be Here Now’ in 1997. Except, 22 years later, it turns out he wasn’t queuing up to buy that album, he was queuing up to be interviewed by MTV.

In the clip, Doherty proclaims: “I subscribe to the Umberto Eco view that Noel Gallagher’s a poet and Liam’s a town crier”. He’s asked by presenter Eddy Temple-Morris to deliver the line a second time to make sure they’ve got it on film, and then whether or not he wants to be a TV presenter, to which he eagerly nods. Turns out that’s exactly what he wanted.

“I wanna clear this one up”, he tells Radio 1 presenter Phil Taggart on his ‘Slacker’ podcast. “I was working in the Trocadero Centre [in London] demonstrating wind-up frogs and I knew that there was something going on cos there was all these TV cameras and photographers and there was a giant cardboard cut-out of Noel and Liam, so I went down there – I just wanted to get on the telly”.

He goes on: “I joined the queue, grabbed the cardboard cut-outs, was doing these stupid ‘please photograph me’ things, jumping on the back of an open top bus with these cardboard cut-outs and then the next morning running to the newsagents thinking I was gonna be on the front of the newspaper with these cardboard cut-outs.”

“I wasn’t queuing for an Oasis album”, he insists. “My sister was a big Oasis fan, and I later tuned into them and decided they were brilliant, but at the time I was far more interested in getting photographed on the back of a bus with a cardboard cut-out.”

Asked about that line he delivered, he said that he didn’t recall where it had come from, but added: “Cracking line. Where did that come from? Belter. Go on me!”

Over the years, some have actually taken Doherty’s remark at face value and assumed it was indeed a quote from Italian philosopher Umberto Eco. Luckily, prior to his death in 2016, someone got around to actually asking him if that was his view on Noel and Liam.

“No, that’s false”, said Eco, back in 2015. “I don’t even know who these two people are. In the music world, I’m a dinosaur. I’m still stuck on the Beatles!”

Ah well. As far as I know, Eco never said anything about Pete Doherty either, so we’ll never know if he had an opinion on how the Libertine’s life panned out after that 1997 interview. But at least we know now that Doherty achieved his dream of getting on the telly.