“I will try and seduce you and we may have intercourse but there won’t be any rape involved.”
And with that sentiment, filmmaker Max Carlish secured a period of all-access, fly-on-the-wall, crack-in-the-pipe, Pete-in-the-dressing-room-bath filming time with the then-Babyshambles frontman. The result was 2005 documentary Stalking Pete Doherty, broadcast on Channel 4.
The film was supposed to be a standard doc about Pete – at this point at his most out-of-control he’d ever been, post-Libertines split as he tore around the UK with the ‘Shambles. It’s the centerpiece of our ’20 must-see rock documentaries’ feature in the new issue of NME, and it’s probably, in my personal opinion, the best under-the-radar rock doc of all time.
It takes a pretty intriguing subject to soak the limelight up from Pete. But after being edited from its original form through Max’s eyes, it ended up becoming a programme about the filmmaker and his descent into fervent fannish madness as he chases his subject around alleys, dressing rooms and studios, seduced by Pete’s initial trust and whipped into depression through frustration when his access is pulled.
It’s dark, intriguing, funny stuff – and has more cringes than The Office box set. He promises some young friends a meet and greet with Pete then explodes with rage in a car park as they question him for failing to come through with the hook-up. Pete nonchalantly sparks up some heroin on their first ever meeting, then later he literally stalks him down to the studio and attempts to interview him on a balcony – only for the battery in the camera to run out.
The frustration and rage that funneled throughout the making of the film was too much to leave just mental scars, though – Max ended up black and blue, allegedly beaten up by Pete after flogging snaps of him taking drugs, although the singer got away due to lack of evidence.
“I set out to seduce Pete with my charm and I think it worked,” Max asserts at one point in the documentary, looking back on his time with Pete. Well, you could say that. Whether you believe him or not, though, ‘Stalking Pete Doherty’ has to be watched to be believed.
Watch the rest of it here then let us know which under-the-radar rock docs should have some more light shone on them.