Kate and Pete: the new Charles and Di

Kate Moss is pretty but dim; her boyfriend Pete Doherty is posh and poetic. Meet Britain's new First Couple.

Emily Hill

Topics Culture

‘Sonny and Cher we’re not.’

Kate Moss and Pete Doherty, the nation’s favourite celebrity couple, have hit the headlines again with a graphic home video, which gives a rare insight into the state of their relationship. Sorry, did I say, ‘rare’? I must have been paraphrasing freebie newspaper London Lite, whose exclamation mark and asterisk-dotted obsession with Kate and Pete seems to reach new heights of mania on every evening’s commute. I meant ‘yet another’ insight into the state of their relationship – and there is no denying that it is a very dull relationship indeed.

Kate and Pete (or ‘KP nuts’ as Pete has now dubbed them) are the Charles and Di for the noughties. One of them (Pete) is posh and given to a pseudo-poetic sort of rambling – a non-conformist in a talking-to-vegetables sort of a way. The other one (Kate) is a bit dim and exceptionally beautiful. And like Charles and Di, they’d be better off looking vaguely interesting and in love from a distance, instead of plunging headlong into a kohl rimmed doe-eyed Panorama phase with confessional interviews or their ‘much too much information’ moments with their home videos. It can be only a matter of time before the KP equivalent of the transcript of Charles and Camilla’s tampon-related phone sex will be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Or before Pete ODs on nit lotion and a nation mourns the People’s Junkie.

Can’t someone put a sock in them before they inflict any more trauma? No chance: this month there will be a KP orgy, for Kate has a clothing line to launch and Pete, depending on what time of day it is, has addictions to fund and rehab to buy.

On 1 May, the label ‘Kate Moss’ launches at trendy British high street chain, Topshop. Kate’s involvement with Topshop has already apparently caused Topshop’s acclaimed brand director, Jane Shepherdson, to jump ship, so there’s a lot riding on its success. In a bid to help achieve such success, Kate has pierced the wall of silence which once set her apart from the other celebrities of her generation, and which gave her a certain mystique and air of dignity, by running around giving interviews to Vogue and The Sunday Times. She comes across in these interviews as a sort of wilful child, with the destiny complex of someone on acid. Explaining her knack for riding a trend, Kate explains to The Sunday Times Style magazine: ‘I’ll think, “Mmm, I fancy wearing a legging”, and then, all of a sudden, on the runways, it’s all leggings. And it’s not like we’ve talked. You just know, it’s like a collective consciousness.’ In the pub, Kate and Pete have fun: ‘[W]e were playing a game of, “Ooh that’s me! And that’s me again!” Because Pete will go, “Is that you?” about any model in a magazine. And I’m like, “No, she’s Chinese.” “Is that you?” “No, she’s 12.” It’s quite funny.’

Pete’s band, Babyshambles, posted a home video of the pair on the internet, which gives documentary evidence of this sort of raillery. Kate, in the words of London Lite, is ‘seemingly out of her head’ and wearing a transparent white dress. Pete is strumming on his guitar and singing, with his trademark hat on. Kate swings on a chair which hangs from the ceiling, stretching out her lithe legs, puffing on a Marlboro, she begins by whistling along before kicking him off his chair and chanting: ‘Rot in jail you cunt! Rot, rot, rot, rot, rot.’ When Pete starts a refrain about being ‘Underneath the oak tree’ Kate cries, ‘What oak tree?’ before staggering up and cutting the home video short by declaring she’s ‘off to get a drink’ before two seconds later, reappearing, with a cry of ‘Oi cuntface’ when Pete hasn’t followed her.

What are we to make of it all? Why would anyone put that on the internet? And why have they not taken it down? Is it true, as the Sun‘s Bizarre column suggests, that Kate and Pete are to make a documentary about their lives together, much along the lines of the carcrash home video series featuring Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Chaotic? Certainly, the pair of them seem to think the public is fascinated by them (and hell, now they’re on spiked, who’s to argue?)

But the interesting thing is that where Kate and Pete project themselves as being wild rule breakers, they don’t actually stand for anything. They are, in the truest sense, rebels without a cause – and are not even that rebellious.

Kate Moss, whilst she kept her mouth shut, could have anything projected on to her. Her beautiful face could become iconic of anything. Now that she rambles on about her clothing line, makes jokey anecdotes about life with Pete, life as a mother, life as anything, life as you or me, she’s just another face in the crowd: profoundly ordinary – like poor old Princess Di without a tiara and a dynasty to procreate.

Pete Doherty is a spoilt, middle-class son of an army major. At school he won poetry prizes. His mother has written a book about him and his drug addiction. He has as little to offer the planet as Prince Charles, whose role in life is to wait for his mother to die. For Pete, if people predict anything for him, it’s not the success of his next album, but his own imminent death. And whereas musicians of the past famous for their drug problems (Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Keith Richards) are primarily known for their music, Pete Doherty is almost wholly known for his addiction to smack.

During the heyday of Britpop, it is widely alleged, the lead singers of both Pulp and Suede were addicted to heroin – and their people were desperate to cover it up and maintain a focus on their musical output. Pete doesn’t care. During the early days of their relationship, it was reported in Private Eye that he tipped off the paparazzi himself when he was due to meet Kate to get a cut of their profits for his drug habit. Like Prince Charles’ bore-fest eco-posturing, a rent-a-quote on everything from architecture to public morality, Pete Doherty will do anything to get in the news.

Are Kate and Pete outrageous and groundbreaking? Not a bit of it: conformism and plenty of pictures in the paper is the best we can hope for from our new First Couple.

Previously on spiked

Kate Moss, Cocaine, tabloids and controversy – welcome to Celebrity Drug Bust said Mick Hume. Neil Davenport showed us how Pete Doherty became Britain’s favourite crackhead, and why his band, The Libertines, were more like TV celebrities than old school rock stars. Sandy Starr couldn’t resist the fights, hissy fits and bitching that makes Big Brother so grimly compelling. Or read more at: spiked issues Drink and Drugs and Celebrity.

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