Pete Doherty on what ‘Albion’ means in the era of Brexit

"It’s a pretty messed-up old land, and yet our country is so rich musically and artistically. We’ve got so much to fight for and so much to believe in and celebrate."

Pete Doherty has shared how he feels about the idea of ‘Albion’ in the years since the Brexit vote, as well as revealing that he’ll leave the country if freedom of movement comes to an end.

Watch our full and in-depth interview with Doherty above

The Babyshambles and Libertines frontman, who this week released his debut album with new band The Puta Madres, has often referred to Albion in his work – framing Great Britain in traditional and romantic terms. However, in a new and in-depth interview with NME, Doherty said that he felt unease with such ideas being co-opted for “monstrous manipulation”.

“It’s a very thin veneer that separates the monstrous manipulation of ideologies and the truth, which is far darker than anything anyone could garner from a party political broadcast,” Doherty told NME, when asked about imagery of Albion being used in Brexit discourse. “It’s a pretty messed-up old land, and yet our country is so rich musically and artistically. We’ve got so much to fight for and so much to believe in and celebrate.”

Doherty continued: “It’s not really anything to do with nationality, though. It’s just that a lot of us seem to share some gut feeling and surge of true pride in coming from where we come from. Inverted snobbery is just as dangerous as snobbery itself, you know – that pride in having nothing. Poverty is rife and you can get stuck in an ideology. It’s amazing; the number of people who don’t have passports, who can’t read, who can’t write. It’s sick actually. It’s disgusting. God knows what kind of potential it has for this country.”

He added: “I’m not an activist. I’m a fantasist. I just create a self place to get out of all that. People just get into rows about absolutely nothing because they’re too macho to back down.”

Peter Doherty and Jack Jones of the Puta Madres

Later in the interview, Doherty also hit out at what he called the “fascism” spread by many tabloids in the UK.

“You’ve got to remember that these people, The Daily Mail for example, fascists. Completely,” he told NME. “They backed the black shirts, backed Hitler. Who would want to buy The Daily Mail? Funnily my nan, who was brought up in London during the depression and worked cleaning rich people’e floors until she was 65, she reads The Daily Mail. That just shows you what a Christian old place Albion is.”

Asked about his general plans for the future, Doherty replied: “I don’t know, we’ll see what happens with Brexit. If they make it so that you can’t travel any more without a VISA, I’m going to have to leave the country, stay in the EU and probably change my citizenship.

“I can’t have it. If I can’t drive my car across Europe, I’m fucked. I need to be able to move about.”

Pete Doherty

This follows Doherty previously making headlines when he claimed that Brexit would “be the best thing in the world for music”.

Explaining how the political discourse will see a rise in creativity and influence songwriting, the musician said: “You’ll see, you’ll get the most insane new wave of the most incredible [acts]. You see the difference between writing a poem in prison and writing a poem in a cottage by a lake, you know.

“There will be an incredible backlash.”

The singer-songwriter also spoke to NME about mortality and turning 40, and his “fascination” with drugs and prison as well as facing up to headlines from his troubled past.

Watch our full and in-depth video with Doherty at the top of the page, as he talks to us about music, the death of Mark Blanco, and what to expect from The Libertines’ next album and their hotel in Margate. 

Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ upcoming UK and European tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information.

MAY

3 Friday: Belfast – Limelight
4 Saturday: Dublin – The Academy 
5 Sunday: Bristol – O2 Academy 
7 Tuesday: Glasgow – Barrowland Ballroom
8 Wednesday: Leeds – Stylus
9 Thursday: Manchester – O2 Ritz
11 Saturday: Nottingham – Rock City
12 Sunday: London – O2 Forum Kentish Town
15 Wednesday: Paris (FRANCE) – Bataclan
16 Thursday: Antwerp (BELGIUM) – Trix
17 Friday: Cologne (GERMANY) – Kantine 
19 Sunday: Berlin (GERMANY) – Astra Kulturhaus
20 Monday: Vienna (AUSTRIA) – WUK
21 Tuesday: Munich (GERMANY) – Backstage Werk
23 Thursday: Zurich (SWITZERLAND) – X-Tra
24 Friday: Fribourg (SWITZERLAND) – Fri-Son