"I’ve always had no confidence as a writer."

Their story is complex, a tangled web of solid bonds and friendships that survived adversity. Their journey would have killed lesser men, a rocky road fraught with despair and depression, sickness and solitude, and all played out in the media spotlight.


They are four men whose histories are all too familiar, but for whom the future is unwritten. Let me introduce to you the band you’ve known for all these years…

DIRTY

PRETTY

THINGS

There’s something different about Carl Barât lately. As he strides into the East London studio where Clash is holed up, flanked by his brothers-in-arms and oozing charm, it is immediately clear that this is not the same man we knew 18 months ago.

Rewind a little and we find ourselves at the start of 2005, Carl’s annus horribilis. The previous summer, his urchin soul mate Pete Doherty parted ways from the good ship Libertines on account of his ongoing drug use. While hordes of teenage mini-Pete’s devoured the music rags for the erratic one’s next move, the burden was left quite heavily on Carl’s shoulders to fulfil the obligations that lay ahead of the band in the wake of their second and eponymous album.

Drafting in friend and ex-Damn Personal Anthony Rossamando, The Libertines toured the remainder of their schedule until finally Carl called time on the band he’d fought so hard to succeed. Subsequently, what little we saw of him – popping up at one-off shows with The Chavs (his guerrilla supergroup with Tim Burgess) or DJing at his club – without any news of progress and constantly overshadowed by his erstwhile partner’s media soap opera, Carl appeared enigmatically happy in the sidelines. By all intents and purposes, to his fans he was a broken man.

Today, however he is what can only be described as, well, chirpy. As we sit down to talk in the studio canteen, Carl and Anthony each order a £5 sandwich. When it arrives they are far too eager to talk to notice that the flimsiest of fillings shoved between two lame slices laid before them could never warrant such a hefty price tag.

Let’s go back to the final days of The Libertines and where your head was at just before you decided to call it a day. What were your intentions - did you want a break or did you intend to move on?

Carl: I wanted to carry on, as I always had intended to do before certain things happened to stop me doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a break but I didn’t get one.

All eyes must have been on you at that time. Did you feel any pressure that they were waiting for something to happen?

Carl: Endless pressure. The Libertines was all about pressure at the end. It was too much for me. It was more about pressure than music.

Adding to the mountain of torment he was already facing, Carl had went public with the health problem that had plagued him for some months now; he had discovered a tumour behind his ear and, in 2005, underwent surgery to have it removed and spent several weeks in recovery.

It certainly couldn’t have helped when you fell ill last year; it would have just piled on top.

I was putting the work in, keeping up commitments and playing Libertines all around the world and I was still the bad guy. It was a pretty fucking hard time really.

Carl: Well, I dunno, I suppose in due course, in hindsight, that was the closest we got to having a rest.

Anthony: And you had an operation in your rest time anyway.

Carl: Yeah, but it’s not really a proper rest though, is it?

How did you find out about the tumour?

Carl: My ear went. My hearing just started going, not completely, but mostly. Then I went to the doctors who said that there was something in there that was growing, and that was that. I put it off for ages and then I finally went down and he said “If you’d put it off a week longer then you’d have a paralysed face”. That’d look dodgy, wouldn’t it? It eats through your facial nerves.

Hope surfaced with the news that Carl had inked a solo deal with Vertigo Records and slowly details leaked on who would be joining him on these further adventures… Gary Powell, Libertines drummer extraordinaire, and Anthony Rossamando both signed up for the job, while Didz Hammond waved goodbye to his Cooper Temple Clause compadres to join his new best friend on bass duties.

How long after you’d decided to split the band did you think about getting the other two back together?

Carl: Anthony was there all along. I didn’t decide to split the band, I decided that Pete wasn’t on the same page anymore, which was very sad. I didn’t want to split the band, but without Pete, yeah, the truth of the matter was that the band wasn’t The Libertines. So it wouldn’t be fair on Pete to call it that. He wasn’t interested in getting better; he was interested in carrying on with the band who’d accepted his behaviour. Whereas his behaviour, for me, detracted from the music and what I was there for. So rather than get better he went in another band, so there wasn’t much alternative really. I had to let nature take its course and it’s actually happened quite organically with Stanley [Anthony]. We were obviously of the same mindset and wanted the same things.

Did you sign to Vertigo as a solo artist or with the band?

Carl: Yeah, I couldn’t really be on Rough Trade anymore. I signed solo, because I didn’t really have a band together then but I knew that I wanted to put records out and I knew that under the current circumstances it would be beyond the conflict of interest to be on the same label. As much as I love Rough Trade and wouldn’t want to backstab them, I just felt at the time that I was being completely shadowed by Pete’s shenanigans really. It was like I was putting the work in, keeping up commitments and playing Libertines all around the world and I was still the bad guy. I wasn’t getting any help or attention after all the fucking hard work and I was getting shit for kicking Pete out of the band, which wasn’t the case. It was a pretty fucking hard time really.

When you signed the deal did you have any new material written or a stockpile of old stuff?

Carl: I had nothing. I had no band, never wanted to be a solo singer and no songs. That’s a pretty unusual deal if you think about it.

When it came to writing new material you must have been used to writing with Pete. Were you excited about writing on your own?

Carl: I’ve always had no confidence as a writer. I was petrified about writing solo. But when I listen to The Libertines and think about what I did write… There’s a lot of people coming up to me saying, “Everyone says you didn’t write anything on the album”, which is kind of hurtful and confusing, and I end up thinking, ‘Didn’t I?’ So, listening to it, I found out that that was absolute balls. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on that because I don’t want to instigate some new fight or let it rear its ugly head again… But anyway, listening to what I had done and then with a lot of support from friends and stuff, after a long writer’s block I just thought, ‘Fuck it’. Then eventually, very timidly, I played the two songs I’d written to Stanley and Didz. I must have written them in the space of a couple of weeks, or like a week actually. I just went bang and they were there, except for the arranging and that. But yeah, the boys liked them and friends liked them and I didn’t know if they were just shitting me because they felt sorry for me.

Which brings us to the reason we are congregated here today: ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’, the debut album from Dirty Pretty Things, is about to be unleashed into the wild. The four Things first decamped to LA with a handful of ideas to be nurtured under the watchful eyes of producer Dave Sardy then returned to the UK to complete proceedings in Glasgow with Tony Doogan. The resulting long-player is a bold and urgent blast of defiance; a typically volatile wall of razor sharp guitars and drum rolls tighter than a gnat’s chuff, with Carl kicking off the past’s shackles with sneering disdain. Immediately we’re struck by the snarling sea-shanty shards of opener ‘Deadwood’ where he spits “All the years that rolled by you said were so good, but now I know that you were a coward”. And you may have heard the instantly loveable first single, ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead’, which at first is joyous in its bouncy Kinks-ish pop manner, but scratch the surface and it’s darker than you’d imagined: “I gave you a Midas touch, oh you turned round and scratched out my heart” Carl sings to a former friend. Yes, there’s a definite air of spite to matters here.

Are there any underlying themes or mood in the album? It appears to be rather angry.

Carl: Well maybe. It’s just photographs along the way since last September; that’s what the album is really. So it doesn’t really look to the past; I know everyone’s gonna try and make that association. It starts off, like ‘Bang Bang…’ is trying to get away from the past. It just deals with what we went through; there’s a lot of pressure… Yeah, I suppose there is a bit of anger knocking about but, to answer your question, not at Pete, if you were about to ask. Just, you know, angry at The Libertines.

Why did you choose Sardy and Doogan as producers?

Anthony: Sardy kinda chose us I guess. Once we had about half an hour’s worth of stuff, we played when he came down to our practise space, and he was like, (claps hands) “Let’s start recording the record!” Sardy came to a Paris gig that we did and we just talked to him for a bit and he seemed pretty down to Earth and we got a little bit of information on what he had done before. He was like, “OK I wanna do the record” and a week later we were just talking like, “OK Sardy’s doing it”. We didn’t even really sit around and have a meeting or anything.

Carl: I didn’t even know about producers myself. I knew he’d done loads of stuff, but I said, well, he’s a Yank so he might lose our sense of Englishness and that. But then I don’t know how he did that latest Oasis album. He didn’t do it on that, did he?

Anthony: He didn’t make them sound any different than they usually sound, I think that was the kinda thing that certified it. Some producers really put their fuckin’ stamp or their sound on a band. It’s like, ‘I’m gonna put you through my machine of what I make a band sound like’. Whereas Sardy, I really like The Walkmen stuff that he did; all the bands that he’s worked with, they all sound like that particular band.

The first track on the album ‘Deadwood’ sees you singing “What will you do when they forget your name?” Were you singing to anyone in particular? It sounds like quite a bitter tune.

Carl: It’s like a lot of that record, innit? It’s quite self-explanatory.

People will expect you to sing about the obvious.

Carl: It would be difficult not to. My feelings as they were, the obvious is there, but I’m not pointing any fucking fingers or digging up any dirt; not digging up any deadwood. We talk about digging OUT the deadwood, not bringing it up, you know what I mean?

Did you consciously try not to write about the obvious?

Carl: I refuse to write the obvious because I knew damn well even if I put it in writing I’d spend the next year talking about that instead of the fucking music, so once again the curse of The Libertines has got me again! And I don’t want that shit, you know?

How easily did the lyrics come to you once you’d started to write?

Carl: The Sardy sessions, the lyrics suffered a little.

Because you were in LA?

Carl: Yeah, that’s it. But the Doogan lyrics, they mean a lot more. I’m not saying the first lyrics are shit by any means, some of them are great. But I’d found my footing more by the second half, had got more confidence together and realised that it was all or nothing. But having said that, don’t write in your magazine “Carl thinks the first half’s shit”!

Anthony: Sardy’s got people everywhere!

A little later and I’m joined by the other half of the Things. They don’t order over-expensive sandwiches; instead opting for picking at the remains of Carl’s smoky bacon crisps. Didz introduces himself to Clash; “I’m Didz, I’m from Reading, I’m a Cancer”. Gary is rubbing his forehead to soothe the ailments reaped from the night before’s goings on: an early night and too much sleep. He is suffering from deprivation of rock ‘n’ roll behaviour. They go on to expound on the bipolar methods of recording…

Were you writing a lot in the studio? Did most of the music come through jamming?

Gary: The second half of the session that we did with Tony Doogan in Glasgow, that was done in the studio and that was about six songs. The first half of the session we did in LA, we had material that we’d been working with. But when we went to Glasgow…

Didz: We only had like the vaguest ideas.

Gary: There wasn’t even bare bones of anything.

Didz: We did kinda want it to be like that though, because we were very aware that the songs were written and although we shuffled them around with Dave a little bit, they were pretty much there. So we kinda wanted the second half to be a little bit more experimental and see-where-you-go and kinda conscious of doing something a bit different. But at the same time, make sure that the album will be intact, not a night and day kinda thing. We didn’t want that.

It’s two polar opposite places to go though.

Didz: We went to LA because we didn’t really trust ourselves in London.

Too many distractions?

Didz: Yeah. So, clever kids, we went to LA, (laughs) where there aren’t any! So then we went to Glasgow, not as a result of that, but it was just kind of luck y that there were barely any distractions.

I did think that on a couple of songs the vocals sound quite low in the mix with the guitars higher, ‘Deadwood’ would be one example.

Didz: We kind of had to approve stuff on the run, and it was like by the time we said yes or no it was a bit too late. But then, and I don’t know how everyone else feels; we haven’t discussed it, but I’m kind of OK with that because it’s honest; it captures the circumstances really. It’s not ideal but.

Gary: We don’t want it to be too professionally polished. I mean, we do actually put the ‘semi’ into semi-professional.

We were discussing earlier that the album sounded quite angry. Did you guys recognise that when you were playing and maybe play a bit harder and faster?

Gary: At some points, yeah. It’s all very quite organic. I mean, you have to kind of lend yourself in whichever general direction the music’s going. And so if you listen to the music from an emotional standpoint, and it feels like it is actually lending itself to being slightly more aggressive, slightly more staccato, then you’ve gotta have a go at it really. And luckily for us, that’s kind of the vein that we all like to play in anyway. Everything we do ends up being kind of angry and aggressive.

Didz: Well there is that kind of ‘angry young man’ to all of us. We’re all kind of frustrated with some amount of things really.

Gary: Women!

There are quite a few rhythm changes in some songs. Did you enjoy that opportunity, Gary, to break away and try some stuff?

Gary: Yeah. A lot of my stuff got watered down unfortunately, so I wasn’t actually able to play as much as I would have wanted. But with respect to the fact that everybody was trying to push us towards an international market and trying to make everything a little bit more palatable for us; I just wanted to fucking play! (Laughs) But that’s fair enough. We all had to kind of compromise to a certain degree, which I don’t really mind. From my own standpoint, when I think about it afterwards, the album won’t sound anything like the live shows, because everything that got whipped out from me I’ll just put it back in for live shows. So it’ll end up sounding a lot more exciting to a certain degree.

The best way to represent Dirty Pretty Things on record, it seems, is to capture the essence of the group’s unit – it’s Dirty Pretty Things, NOT Carl Barât and Dirty Pretty Things. As such, each Thing plays a key role in making ‘Waterloo To Anywhere’ a storming debut, and Carl has the humility to let them share centre-stage. Another album highlight, ‘The Enemy’ in fact stemmed from seeds sown by Mr Hammond; it’s his voice you hear on the song’s hauntingly ominous introduction.

Was that a song that you brought to the mix?

Didz: Yeah, I kind of had that little start bit…

Were you trying to push for a whole song?

Didz: No, not really. (Laughs) I said to Carl, “I’ve got this little bit. Let’s see if we can work it up into something’. And ‘The Enemy’ is what came out of it really. I think that was the first one where we collaborated on it from the beginning really, whereas the others… Up until that point, Carl had kind of written ‘Bang Bang…’ and ‘Deadwood’ and a bit of ‘The Gentry Cove’ and a bit of ‘Gin And Milk’ and then we came to it later. Whereas this was started by me and then he wrote it from there and we put the rest of us together, Gary’s beat being a particular landmark indication of where we should go with it.

Earlier, Carl opened up a little to reveal the song’s esoteric theme that was expertly juxtaposed with the contagious bounce that propels it to mass sing-a-long status.

In ‘The Enemy’, you sing “The enemy as I know it is right inside my head”. Can you elucidate on that at all?

The Libertines was all about pressure at the end. It was too much for me.

Carl: It’s pretty easy. I’m just saying that most problems you make yourself, nine times out of ten. And then you’re your own worst enemy. It’s about depression really – you’ve got to keep that enemy happy.

‘You Fucking Love It’ is apparently inspired by the seedier side of life that you’ve experienced?

Carl: Yeah possibly. Me and Pete used to live in a brothel. It’s more about… the idea came from the cards you see in phone boxes. When you’re a kid you collect them. And it’s the line between the humour and the sadness but the quintessential British-ism as well I kind of allude to. Every culture’s got its own failure, hasn’t it? Over in Japan there’s those little girl clubs that they go to.

When you’ve written a great song are you aware that you’ve written a hit?

Carl: I guess it’s exciting to know that, but so long as it’s got that energy and repetitivity. I just want songs to strike people, I want them to mean something to people, so if they’re a hit then I guess they’re more striking. But you wouldn’t want just hits, would you? They’ve just got to mean something to people really, so people care about them. I’d like our songs to be of use to someone. But if it’s a vessel for people going mental on the dancefloor, if that’s what you call a hit then fair do’s, I’d love that.

If you were out and someone played one of your songs would you dance or just sit and listen?

Carl: I’d rather hide really, because I know everyone would be staring at me and I don’t like that… or if I was particularly drunk. I want to look at the DJ and go ‘Ugh!’

Anthony: I’ve been out with Carl before and like our presence is known at the disco or whatever and the DJ’s like, ‘Oh man, yeah’, like it’s the cleverest thing in the world to throw on a Libertines track because the guy’s in the band is there.

There’s some horns at the start of ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead’…

Anthony: We didn’t actually expect that to make it into the track, did we?

Carl: No.

Anthony: We always just did a kind of bunch of like not-taking-it-too-serious tracks with Sardy. Like, once we got the tracks done it was kinda like ‘Let’s do some shit and see what might be good’. Then we got the mix back and he’d put the trumpets right at the beginning of the song and we were like, ‘Hmm, good!’ Who are these? [Looks up at MTV]

That’s Girls Aloud.

Anthony: Is it? They’ve grown up.

Carl: Do you think they’re fit?

Anthony: I can’t tell. The blonde one.

Carl: Is that Cheryl Tweedy? She’s the racist who slapped that woman?

Anthony: I like the blonde one.

Carl: We did Top of the Pops once, the first time we ever did it - The Libertines…

Anthony: They’re really experienced. They’ve got a great dance routine, don’t they?

Carl: …and I remember the ginger one, she came by and she swaggered by in these leather trousers and we were just sitting there… In fact every time we did Top of the Pops they did it as well! Anyway, she swaggered past and me and Pete were like, ‘Ooh’, and she gave us a look like [haughty pout]. Then two minutes later I heard this guy shouting at her and then she came back crying! (Laughs) And we were just like ‘Ha ha ha’, because she got told she wasn’t allowed to wear what she was wearing.

Maybe it was a Libertines/Girls Aloud package deal.

Carl: Maybe. Probably.

Anthony: [Still staring at screen] Jesus!

It is a predominantly angry album, but the last song finishes with some laughs, it kind of redeems hope.

Carl: Yeah, it finishes on a big knees-up, doesn’t it? I think that overcomes it really. Maybe we’ll make that go on to the next album… if we ever get to make one!

Do you have any plans for a second? Do you have anything written already?

Carl: I’ve got a new song actually. I’ve not even told Stan about it.

Anthony: Huh?

Carl: I’ll tell you about it later. I’ve got a bit of a curse about talking about songs, because I never write them after that; I feel like it’s done.

Dirty Pretty Things is the name of a recent film, and I know that you’re a bit of a film fan…

Carl: Yeah, but I haven’t seen it.

Did you just like the name and nick it?

Carl: I didn’t nick it, because we were doing a club night before…

So they nicked it?

Carl: I don’t think there was any nicking! You’re always trying to find a villain aren’t you, you press types!

No, I would have just had a word with them for you; sorted them out.

Carl: I think their film is probably a bit bigger than our band at the minute.

You studied acting, Carl. Do you have any ambitions to go into acting?

Carl: I wouldn’t mind meeting Audrey Tautou! Yeah I’d like to act one day, but I’m losing my confidence on a day to day basis regarding acting. I’d have to go and practice or something for a little while but I haven’t got time… unless anyone’s got any offers of course!

When last Clash encountered Dirty Pretty Things it was thousands of miles away in the weeklong music and booze fest that is South By South West in Austin, Texas. Acoustic renditions of ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Bang Bang…’ at MTV2’s secret morning broadcast from the city’s park were worlds apart from their proper gig in the Eternal club downtown at midnight. Packed to the hilt with a leering mob that was wondering just who was going to follow The Flaming Lips, the club eventually – although briefly – rocked full tilt to the raucous clatter of the Things firing on all cylinders, until the plugs were pulled by officious representatives from the local law enforcement.

Didz: We don’t really know why that was, but looking back it was quite funny! (Laughs) I felt that at the time, but everyone else seemed very angry so I played it down a bit.

Gary: I called a cop a “fucking cunt”.

Didz: Yup.

Gary: All I did was ask him why we got shut down and he was very rude to me, so I said “You’re a fucking cunt”… And then ran away very quickly.

Didz: You ran down the street singing; you were singing anti-racist songs.

Gary: I was singing ‘America Is The New Soviet Union’. And there was a shit load of Police around who didn’t take very kindly to that either!

Didz: Anthony got arrested for the idiot’s act of drinking on the street - and he’s the real American in the band!

Did you get home okay? The weather afterwards was atrocious!

Didz: It took me two days to get home.

It took Clash two days as well.

Didz: Maybe you were on the same flight as me?

No, we had to get a six-hour bus ride from Austin to Dallas and missed the London flight.

Didz: I managed to get a flight to that and then couldn’t get out for like a day. We stayed at the hotel but they [the airline] wouldn’t pay for it, but they gave us a, what was it? A “distressed passenger” rate.

So did we! We managed to make the most of it though; we went to the mall in Dallas the next morning.

Didz: We went to TGI’s then we got some drinks and I managed to befriend the guys from Transgressive on the plane, so we were kind of all together. Then we all got in a car with a very stoned girl who nearly killed us all by going over the central reservation very narrowly missing the signpost. And then I left my phone in her car, which is incriminating, when there was actually no criminal act to be incriminated for…

On the subject of travel, talk ventures south of the border to Mexico, where the ‘Bang Bang…’ video finds our heroes kicking up a storm in the land of burritos.

So was the video shot in Mexico, the ‘Bang Bang… ’ video?

Anthony: Yeah, in Mexico City.

Carl: What shop?

Anthony: The video was shot in Mexico.

Carl: Oh, I thought you said “video shop”. I was thinking, ‘Bang Bang Videos’? (Laughs)

Did you like it out there?

Carl: Yeah, it’s a different world really isn’t it? I said to the Japanese the other day in an interview it’s the opposite of Japan. They just looked absolutely blank… [To Anthony] Just like you’re doing now!

Anthony: No, yeah, it is.

Carl: There’s a bit of a Wild West going on there, isn’t it?

Anthony: The Police are so corrupt they’ll just kidnap a westerner off the street…

Carl: Like that film Man On Fire.

Anthony: There’s some pretty dodgy bits in Mexico City. You don’t wanna get caught with anything because they’ll just take all your money, and getting out of a Mexican jail is nearly impossible unless you’ve got serious diplomatic connections.

Are you speaking from experience here?

Anthony: Yeah, well a long time ago, my first experience we went to Tijuana, and one of our companions decided he’d just have a piss on the street. Next thing we know, four cops locked us up, searched all our pockets and then decided we could either go to jail or give them, like, $800, or whatever we exactly had amongst us that they’d already checked. And that was it. And you have NO choice; you have to give them money. It’s kinda scary.

Carl: I was there once, and we was up all night and we were in the van on our way to the next gig or something. It was like 8 in the morning or something. The cops pulled us over and they were talking to the driver for ages and then basically he came back and said “It’s $100 or they have to take you all in!” And then I bought a driving licence there! I can’t drive; there’s no test out there anyway! I blagged one. I went to the office, like you do here, and just queued up - my mate organised it - and I got a licence!

Anthony: Money goes a long way down there!

Does that mean that you could drive here?

Carl: Well technically it does, but I lost it on a ferry.

Anthony: Trying to drive it!

Carl: I could drive here for a year, but I could only hire cars because no insurance company would cover me without a licence. But I mean you can change an international licence on this agency on the Internet and blah blah blah blah.

And finally, it’s over to the rhythm section and the dichotomy of life as Dirty Pretty Things in the public arena after the notoriety of their former lives. “We’re quite conscious that we can’t rest on any Libertines laurels and we have to prove ourselves as a band,” says Didz. “It’s not Libertines Part 2 and to a certain extent we have to prove to people that’s the case, so we’re ready, willing and able to do that.”

You’re throwing a couple of Libertines songs into the set though, right?

Gary: We are playing a few. We’ll be playing ‘Death On The Stairs’, ‘I Get Along’ and maybe a few others, but not in addition to the ones that we’re already doing; we may take something else out and put something else in its place.

Didz: We are conscious that people would really want to hear them, but we’ve kinda did it…

Right, you don’t want to leave them disappointed but at the same time you don’t really want to spoil them.

Didz: Exactly, this is the quandary that we are in. Not to moan about it and be like a whiney rock ‘n’ roll bastard…

Gary: Those songs are part of our history so we should kind of to a degree be allowed to play them if we wanted but, you know, our future is the material that we’re playing as Dirty Pretty Things. So we should be in a position whereby we play just all of that stuff.

Didz: I mean, it’s a real band and it’s a fucking good band. On a level it’s a shame that we have to go to great efforts to step out of that shadow, but at the same time what about the people that are interested already? So it’s kind of like a beast with two backs.

All through the Libertines career, Carl would always stay very attached with the fans and they always stayed very dedicated. Is that something that you will continue?

Gary: Yeah that is definitely something that has continued. We’re not the type of band that will turn up at the venue, cloaked in our sunglasses, run to the dressing room, sit in the dressing room, play the show, dive back in the dressing room, have a few drinks with our rock star friends and then dive onto a tour bus and run away. That’s just kind of lame and boring. There has to be some kind of mystique, I’m guessing, with respect to bands, i.e. there are certain people they want to maintain a kind of mystique with reference to their heroes and so forth, and make up their own minds and assumptions with reference to what people are like. But we are individuals as well and we like to hang out. So whenever we have the opportunity to hang out, say before a show to check out the supporting acts, after the show, meeting new people, taking them out for drinks, mugging them, taking their wallets, their purses, a bit of Rohypnol involved… It’s a good night.

Didz: Essentially the dopier you can make people, the more money you can take from them.

Gary: Essentially we’re all having fun together so why shouldn’t we do anything else than just still have fun together?

So that’s what is different with Carl Barât lately: he’s having fun again. He is a man fully in control again of his own destiny and, bolstered by the camaraderie of his trusted allies, has found a new confidence and identity in the ranks of the last gang in town. It’s there in their cocky swagger, it’s there in their private jokes and it’s there in the intimate embrace for the photos. Mostly it’s there in the imposing sight of four men in black; an impenetrable dark wall. “Well we are a bit of a gang,” Didz confesses, “we feel like brothers really.” Quite scary brothers too, Clash adds. “Don’t be scared… just be careful!” Didz warns, knowing all too well that there’s still plenty time for heroes.

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