The Jingle Jangle Of The Gaoler's Bangle

H.M.P. Pentonville
The Guardian has printed exclusive excerpts from Pete Doherty's prison diary from his recent 13-day stay at Pentonville. Here are the highlights...

February 1

At the wobbly legged table in me little Peter [cell]. Still waiting for the jingle jangle of the gaoler's bangle. Court on the 8th and hoping for bail. Even life without drugs has gotta be betta than this malarkey. Babyshambles all set to take over as well. Won't do it again honest guv ... Oh yes you will Doherty and you know it. Still, if I'm on a DRR [drug rehabilitation requirement] and being tested there ain't no way round it I suppose. Get to grips with the idea that it is eating away at your money, your love and your life.

February 2

I'll do my hair a-while, and even make my bed. Top bunk, yellow fire blankets aplenty coz I've been on the lookout see. Even nabbed a rare old prison shirt off a passing trolley, a boiled egg and a nice blue prison vest. To say nothing of the many packets of Butler I just found on the side. Baccy down me sock, someone says something a little out of sway, a stranger in all dark non-prison clobber is opposite my open cell door flashing his watch in my direction he was. Later that day ... Felt like freak show with a host of people at my cell door screaming and whooping like apes. DOHERTY! It's him! DOHERTY! DOHERTY! Oi!

February 3

This is the largest prison in the country and in some ways one of the most modern. I've certainly never come across anywhere as clean or spacious as this, why, in all my days at her Majesty's pleasure. Shame only one of the eight showers work, but it was a joy to hear the sprinkle in me ears and the steam on my body just now. Someone, and again someone else, asks how I came up with the name Babyshambles and so I think back to Denholme days and "oh deary me why is it always such a Babyshambles?" "I wonder where you are now..."

February 5

For my own sake - because it feels like they have the power to cut off my head - I must become a hero, organise my life and obtain from it what they deny me. If I live, in order to continue to live with myself, I must have more talent than the most exquisite poet. These people can only put up with the tamed heroes - they don't know about heroism.

More of Peter Doherty's prison writings will be published at Balachadha, where you can also find exclusive videos and stills from the ever-expanding Doherty archives. Viva la Pete!

Pete Doherty after sentencing 2


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