Nina Antonia with Peter Doherty ‘Exiled In Paradise’ – A Unique Collaboration


Peter Doherty Photo

Since I last spoke with the author Nina Antonia, she’s been working on a new project with Peter Doherty. The book, Exiled in Paradise, is based on Nina’s first hand observations of Doherty over the last seven years and will also draw from his extensive diaries which she has been given full access to and which, from what I have seen, look like works of art in their own right, filled with ideas, doodles, snatches of lyrics and more than a few inkblots.

Nina agreed to answer some questions on the project and I’ve included a link at the bottom of the page for anybody who might be interested in finding out more.

Nina Antonia

You’ve already written biographies of Johnny Thunders, the New York Dolls, Peter Perrett of the Only Ones and Brett Smiley, why now choose Peter Doherty?

It’s important for me to have met the people I write about and to be able draw from first hand experiences, otherwise how can you get to understand the person and what moves them? Ironically, I got some flack on a pro-Thunders page about this project. Now Thunders and Doherty are two very different characters, but what people are forgetting is that back in the day, Johnny T was even more controversial than Doherty.

You’ve never wanted to write about ‘safe’ comfortable subjects, have you?

I’m interested in people that figuratively speaking throw ‘spanners’ at society and what motivates them to do so. Yes, Peter has enjoyed mainstream success whilst poor Johnny is really peaking now in terms of popularity more than twenty years after his death, which he anticipated. What are we to do, shy away from writing about talented artistes who have drug issues? The history of classic rock n’ roll is littered with damaged icons. We also forget now, what a furore the New York Dolls generated in the early 1970’s, they really messed with traditional beliefs about machismo and paid the price for their louche antics. So in answer to your question, I don’t see writing as taking the easy way out……. I’ve always worked with subjects who some might construe as the grit in the establishment’s eye. Peter is the boy who should have been golden, who had everything in place to the take the world…… what happened?

I’ve just read Alan McGee’s autobiography and he claims Doherty still has the potential to be the biggest star in the world if he cleaned himself up. But that doesn’t seem to interest him, does it – being the biggest star in the world I mean rather than quitting drugs?

I’m not sure that Peter does want to be the biggest star in the world; that might be more to do with Alan McGee’s perception. Peter has created his own niche as a musician and artist and it’s admirable that he wants to remain true to his vision rather than becoming a corporate persona which is what mega-stardom is about. It would appear that he has found a level of success that he is comfortable with and that’s what matters; besides which he’s not someone that is easily contained, which is what mega-stardom is all about. As for the drugs, people only stop using when they are ready and that is their decision alone to make, no matter how frustrating or worrying the situation may be for those around them.

How are you finding the crowd-funding route to bringing out books?

Crowd-funding isn’t the easiest route but the company who are supporting the project ‘Unbound’ are the best at what they do. They have also worked with James Endicott, Simon Napier Bell, and Julie Burchill amongst others. The pledge ethos is all about creating awareness of the project but there is a danger of people not realising that there is a deadline, which is March, so rather than simply ‘liking’ the book idea and hoping to buy a copy further down the line, time is of the essence.

Didn’t Danny Garcia’s Johnny Thunders documentary that you’re appearing gain its funding in a similar way?

Danny’s much anticipated documentary ‘Looking For Johnny’ was indeed crowd-funded and I’m happy to say that it worked wonderfully well. Thunders is much loved and greatly missed.

It’s coming out shortly, isn’t it?

I believe that the documentary should be on general release by early Spring, if not sooner.

Speaking of which, any news on the Johnny Thunders film that we discussed last time around?

In regards to the as yet untitled feature film, LAMF Productions are still busily working away, finalising the script, as per the director, Alex Soskin’s request. By the end of January, I’m hoping that casting can commence, which should be really exciting.

And finally, why should people pledge towards your book? It’s not just a copy of the book that they would get in return for their money is it?

People should pledge on the Peter book because it’s a unique portrayal of a gifted yet controversial artiste, that draws from his own journals and my observations. It’s also about divine folly and fractured dreams. He’s probably one of the most complex people I’ve ever met. Peter Doherty provokes extreme reactions in people, why? and why does he court the beast? There’s a fine line between high society and the nether-world. Plus, in glossy hard-back format, it will also be a visual treat and everyone who pledges gets their name listed in the book.

Thanks for taking the time to talk, Nina and good luck with the book and the film!

For more information and to pledge for a copy of ‘Exiled in Paradise’ by Nina Antonia With Peter Doherty follow the video links.

Peter Doherty Diaries

And here’s Nothing Comes to Nothing from the 2013 Babyshambles album Sequel to the Prequel:

Please Kill Me & The Strange Case Of The Disappearing Blogroll


Please Killl Me

Please Kill Me is one of my favourite music related sites and one which has just picked up on one of my posts from last year: Johnny Thunders – The Movie (An Interview With Nina Antonia).

The site is run by Legs McNeil (the co-founder and a writer for Punk magazine) & Gillian McCain and an ebook edition of their Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk is out on Tuesday and is well worth a read, particularly if you like New York punk of the 1970s.

On a separate note, if anybody knows why WordPress decided to move my Blogroll columns (which include links for Please Kill Me and Nina Antonia) halfway down my homepage without any warning, I’d love to know, or indeed, if anybody happens to know who semalt.com are, as they mysteriously seem to have become regular visitors to the site over the last week.

Finally, fans of The Television Personalities might be interested in my contribution to the excellent Cult Classics series over on the Vinyl Villain blog.

Indie Cindy, Stroh 80 & San Francisco (The Best of 2013)

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On the last day of the year and in no particular order, thirty of my favourite new tracks released during 2013, at least I think they’re all from 2013, along with ten of the very best compilations, reissues, live albums or soundtracks and five books.


My Bloody Valentine: Nothing Is
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
David Bowie: Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Tess Parks: Somedays
The Sexual Objects: Feels With Me
Primal Scream: 2013
Vic Godard & Subway Sect: Caught in Midstream
Jagwar Ma: Come Save Me
Dot Dash: Hands of Time
Pixies: Indie Cindy

Steve Mason: Fight Them Back
Daft Punk: Giorgio Moroder
Cat Power: Bully
The Pastels: Kicking Leaves
Boards of Canada: Reach For The Dead
PiL: This PiL
Iggy and The Stooges: The Departed
Lloyd Cole: Women’s Studies
Edwyn Collins: Forsooth
Casual Sex: Stroh 80

Franz Ferdinand: Love Illumination
The Fall: Loadstones
Brazos: How The Ranks Was Won
Prefab Sprout: The Best Jewel Thief In The World
Paul Haig: Daemon
Low: Just Make It Stop
Anna Calvi: Eliza
Book Group: Victory Lap
James King and The Lonewolves: Pretty Blue Eyes
Foxygen: San Francisco


The Clash: Sound System
Simple Minds: Celebrate
VA – Punk 45. Kill the Hippies! Kill Yourself!
Belle and Sebastian: The Third Eye Centre
The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat – 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
XTC: Nonsuch
The Boys: Alternative Chartbusters
Jazzateers: Rough 46
TV Smith: Acoustic Sessions, Volume 1
Jon Hopkins/VA: How I Live Now (OST)

The Written Word

Morrissey: Autobiography
Alan McGee: Creation Stories
Nina Antonia: 13 Knots
Sheila Rock: Punk +
Harry Papadopoulos: What Presence!


Some Pirate Love

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7x7 1977


‘The band plays rock and roll like guns fire bullets, like steamrollers flatten tarmac, like thunder rolls, like trees fall, like, hell, like you’ve never heard before,’ so enthused Record Mirror’s Barry Cain of a Heartbreakers show at Clouds in Edinburgh late in October 1977 to promote their recently released album L.A.M.F. ‘It’s unfortunate in a way that their name has been linked with the London bands that have sprung up in the past year because their brand of music is as timeless as it is iridescent.’

After the previous post, I couldn’t resist staying with The Heartbreakers and thought I’d invite Nina Antonia to choose her favourite track of theirs for the second in this blog’s 7×7:1977 series. Here’s her choice, a swaggering, staggeringly fine slice of 1970s NYC street punk – Pirate Love, originally written by Thunders a few years earlier as a demoralised New York Dolls edged ever closer to a break-up and thankfully retrieved for L.A.M.F. 


Don’t they make it sound absolutely effortless?

Here’s an ad for the latter part of that Heartbreakers October 1977 tour from an ageing copy of NME, the quality isn’t great, even with my scanner at its highest resolution and a whole lot of footering around with Contrast and Brightness on my ten year old version of PaintShop Pro but I thought I’d include it anyway as I haven’t seen it anywhere else online.

Heartbreakers October 1977 Tour ad

And finally, Johnny may have sang of Pirate Love but, post-Heartbreakers, he did become increasingly pissed off with the pirates who continually circulated generally low quality bootlegs of his solo shows. Eventually though, he came up with the perfect solution to combat the situation.

As he puts it at the end of a version of Wipe Out, the final track on an ‘official’ release from 1990*: ‘First of all I looked at this book one day, right. And there was like fucking, uh, sixty five bootlegs of Johnny Thunders. So I said fuck, all these dudes making all this money. So what I did, myself, I had the idea that I would take a song from here, a song from there off these bootlegs and fucking bootleg the bootleggers. You assholes thought you’d put one over on me!’

And at this point Johnny lets out one almighty roar of well deserved laughter.

* Johnny Thunders – Bootlegging The Bootleggers. Jungle Records.