Good music journalism spotted in the wild. Well, in Q

Things are afoot at Q: the new issue (which reached subscribers yesterday and should be on the newsstands within a day or two) has two excellent and very different articles.

The first is a look at the iPod that asks the question, “what happens if it’s attacked by a toddler? Dropped from a great height? Set on fire?” – something we’ve all wondered, I’m sure – and the second is an interview with Pete Doherty of Babyshambles, formerly of the Libertines.

The interview reminds me of one of my all-time favourite bits of music journalism, when NME sent Danny Baker to interview Michael Jackson (if anyone can find it on the web, I’d be eternally grateful) on his last UK tour. Like Baker’s interview, Q doesn’t just print the Q&A; rather, it talks about the background to the interview itself. In the case of Doherty that means repeated cancellations, incoherent ramblings so pointless that the journalist turned off his tape recorder, repeated requests for/offers of cocaine, and Doherty’s falling asleep mid-interview.

The picture of Doherty that emerges from Johnny Davis’s interview is a desperately sad one, and it’s an interesting contrast to those sections of the music press that have dubbed Doherty the “coolest man in rock” – not, one suspects, because of his talent, but because they derive vicarious thrills (and increased newsstand sales) from watching someone self-destruct. At the risk of sounding like Alan Partridge, is this cool?

Pete Doherty, however, looks shocking. His eyes are watery pink. His voice has a husk. There are open sores around his lips. His teeth are ruined.

It’s an excellent (and fair – Davis clearly believes that Doherty has talent) piece of music journalism – and worth reading whether you care about the Libertines/Babyshambles or not.