Daring Pairings: Mark Ayres & Pete Doherty

Drugs, supermodels and disappointing wave oscillations. Everyone's favourite drug monkey, Pete Doherty, tells the story of an unlikely friendship.



Pete: I first heard of Mark when I was but a bairn on these shores of Albion. He made my childhood, the magnificent Mark. I was watching Ghost Light, and heard the crystal clarion call of his music. It was like gods battling in the skies. Magnificent thunder, drowning out the squeaking little words of humans. This, I thought, is music. Someday, I'm going to make music like this. And I like to think I have...


Pete Doherty and Mark Ayres hanging out

Mark: There was a knock on the door in the middle of the night. I was just crushing a few sibillant peaks on The Ice Warriors episode three, and I reluctantly put my Z-compressor to one side and answered it. "Hello, I'm Pete Doherty," he said. "Please take off your shoes and leave them in the hall," I said.


Pete: From then on we were the bestest of buddies. When it's getting a bit close with drug dealers or the brethren of the press, I always head down to Mark's. I hang out down there in the studio with him, just chillin', talking about music, and manually declicking the insufficently bright mag track of The Steel Sky.


Mark: Peter's very good with props. He's never crushed Carole Ann Ford, though it's very easily done. Very hissy actress, and it's easy to over-compensate.


Pete: And Mark's been great for my career. "Just turn all this shit with drugs into music," he said, and I thought, "Diamond!"


Mark: And luckily, everything in the studio is nailed down. Well, it is now.


Pete: He's wild, I tell you. He's got three different types of Rich Tea biscuit.


Mark: Of course, I found crack cocaine quite disappointing. Biscuits remain my true love.


Pete: He'll ring me up and he'll say, "Hey, man, I'm in town. Let's check into a hotel and spray blood over the walls," and I'll say, "Fuck, yeah, but don't forget The Sensorites."


Mark: It's endearing watching him take apart a disappointingly narrow off-air recording, tweaking it level by level, his tongue sticking out, sucking contentedly on a crack pipe.


Pete: But, you know, Mark can go quite far. He's extreme. You know when you've drunk, you've partied, you've smoked, and there are three girls in your bed whose names you don't know? And Mark's like, "Get three more!" I love that.


Mark: He's got his own cardigan waiting for him on a hook, for whenever he comes round.


Pete: Sometimes, he'll play stuff back to me, and I'll say, "Troughton's sounding too bright, you've overdone the Z-gate!" And he likes that. And he'll say, "Let's give the cat some charlie."


Mark: Of course, it's not the first time I've been a guru. I remember saying to Yoko, "We need to take John in a different direction."


Pete: "Fuck forever," he once told me. And believe me, he can.



Pete Doherty's album, Grace/Wastelands is available now.



Daring Pairings: Mark Ayres & Pete Doherty
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