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Threepenny Memoir: The Lives of a Libertine [Paperback]

Carl Barat
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2010

'Looking back at The Libertines is like catching flashes of sunlight between buildings as you race by on a train. An old film reel where the spools are weathered and worn, leaving empty frames on the screen…'

In the final years of the last millennium, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty forged a deep musical bond, formed The Libertines and set sail for Arcadia in the good ship Albion; a decade later, Carl would emerge from his second band, the Dirty Pretty Things, after one of the most significant – and turbulent – rock 'n' roll trajectories of recent times. Threepenny Memoir navigates the choppy waters of memory, and gives an inside look at life in the eye of the storm, chronicling how a pair of romantics armed with little more than poetry and a punk attitude inspired adoration in millions worldwide – and proceeded to tear apart everything they had.

With unflinching honesty but real warmth, Carl – who has recently performed with The Libertines for the first time since 2004, and released a solo album – looks back at the creative highs and the drug-addled lows of life with both bands, as well as giving an intimate account of the people and places that have informed his songwriting. From Camden bedsits, impromptu gigs and minesweeping drinks in the Dublin Castle to Japanese groupies, benders in Moscow and chatting to Slash, Threepenny Memoir charts a fantastic course through recent musical history. And, in the aftermath, Carl reflects on the pressures – both external and self-inflicted – that led to each band's demise, and on the challenges and rewards that life as a solo artist now holds.

Frequently Bought Together

Threepenny Memoir: The Lives of a Libertine + The Books of Albion: The Collected Writings of Peter Doherty + There Are No Innocent Bystanders (Expanded Edition) [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007393768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007393763
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Unputdownable’ Q Magazine

‘Very honest, likeable…an appealing roughness’ Metro

About the Author

Carl Barat is an English musician and actor. He was the frontman and lead singer of Dirty Pretty Things and was co-frontman of The Libertines. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Readable 8 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was crazy about The Libertines between 2002 and 2004, and like many young people growing up in that era saw them as a soundtrack to my youth. These days I rarely play their records, and thought the reunion was financially motivated and looked contrived, but I maintain a keen interest in the band members and their respective stories. I therefore eagerly picked up Carl Barat's autobiography as soon as it was released, and was not disappointed. It encompasses his years of substance abuse, his various states of mind, experiences with therapy, his views on various events and his amusing stories of people he knew and loved as well as recollections of his formative years. It's very enjoyable, very readable and highly literary, despite the casual writing style.

It's also extremely disjointed and frustratingly vague about many events (such as Peter's burglary of his flat, which is just dropped in casually a couple of times without ever being expanded upon). If you're looking for intimate details of romantic relationships you'll be disappointed too. Ditto, there are scarce details about any of the songs he wrote, either with The Libertines of the Dirty Pretty Things, which will be a major drawback for those reading this book from a musical perspective, wanting to know the inspirations and writing processes behind some of his great tracks. If you're looking for more detail and cohesion in the story of his life between 1998 and 2005, you are best to pick up The Libertines Bound Together by Anthony Thornton as a companion piece, as it will give many of the events recounted more clarity and perspective.

On the whole though it's an entertaining and often funny account.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest, yet humorous book 6 Feb 2011
I actually quite like this book. It's nice to hear Carl's version of things in a way that isn't disrespectful to other people involved (like Peter which he refered to with sadness more than anger, I believe). It's definitely not a linear, classic autobiography, and people who want to know great details about very precise things or events will be disapointed, but in my opinion it is a very honest, yet humorous, book written with in a way that makes you feel like you understand the man better, his persona, his temper and his perspective on life. The anecdotes are personal, the focus is mostly on his feelings and emotional recollection of the events of his life, which makes this book a little frustrating for people who are interested in The Libertines or the music in general. Some people will although appreciate that, as it allows Carl to write about things that havent been said elsewhere about him and the dynamic of the band. In this book, Carl doesn't deny his flaws and he gives credits where it's due, which I appreciate. Like other people mentionned, it's a quick read but I think some excerpts can be re-read whenever you feel like it.

(English is my second language, so I apologize for any mistake in my review. Thanks)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is probably one of my favourite music memoirs of recent times, for the simple reason that Carl writes this in a way that enables his personality to come across.

Too many books written by celebrities are either a collection of anecdotes without any personal narrative or simply serve to promote a false personal image. This book provides a frank, humerous book that delivers plenty of eloquant disclosures.

A few reviews have criticised the lack of detail regarding more outrageous moments within the Libertines cannon, mainly Pete breaking into his flat. This is covered in the book and because it was known, really does not require any further elaboration. I think the action speaks for itself and reveals the diverse aspects of the main protagonists in The Libertines.

Carl explains his inspirations and explains the main influences in his life. This helps to give greater understanding to his lyrical compositions without ever being boring because they are directly drawn from incidents that occured in his life in the Libertines and beyond.

It is written with brevity, clarity and as such is a well paced tale that moves quickly. The book is full of great detail, yet never outstays its welcome. I wish it was 200 or so pages longer, simply because it kept my full attention in one sitting. The sure sign of a great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endearing 4 April 2011
I really enjoyed this book. Fast paced, yet endearing, it was clearly written from the heart.
Carl has written about Carl, rather than writing yet another Libertines biog. He covers his whole life to date, from his child hood to his solo album, referencing the important people and bands in his life along the way.
It's honest, sometimes brutally so and gives an informative yet very personal account of his experiences both in the music industry and in his personal life.
My only very slight crticism is with the photography, it adds very little to the book - but maybe that was the objective.
I would strongly recommend this book to any fan of music and to anyone just starting out on that road - consider it a warning.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 6 days ago by SammiLou
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read
I was ecstatic when I found out Carl Barat was writing a biography, as a Libertines fan from the age of 15, I had bought a lot of material about them since I was a fan; Stylish... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Liam Matthews
3.0 out of 5 stars okay.
considering i used to be a huge pete and carl fan...i didnt really like this book that much. he uses the word 'catharsis' waaaay too many times until it gets highly annoying. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
thoroughly enjoyed this read.. I am a huge libertine fan, but have tended to focus more on Pete than Carl. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Yasmin Tyson
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book
Just got round to reading this memoir and glad I did, in fact I've read it twice already.

A lot of thought has obviously gone into how this book was constructed- rather... Read more
Published on 24 July 2012 by Holly Newington
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful memoir instead of cobbled-together fan facts
thank god, a musician who can really WRITE. i bought it out of interest as a fan but was quickly well and truly in its thrall and was very sad to put it down. Read more
Published on 11 Dec 2011 by IC
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving in its honesty
While Barat's flat writing style is not what you would expect from someone who's penned such clever lyrics in the last few years, the book is definitely worth reading. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by AliceInWonder
2.0 out of 5 stars Living on the Fumes of the Libertines
Okay, I got this book in the hopes that my opinion of Carl would improve, it did not. To be fair, maybe that is the ghostwriter's fault. Carl says a lot without saying much. Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2010 by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars lives of a Libertine
Excellent book.
Should be read by all those who want to know Carl Barat's better.
Astonishing, really.
Published on 3 Nov 2010 by sabrina
2.0 out of 5 stars Barat the Rambling Man
As a massive Libertines and Barat fan i could not wait for this book to arrive. I've always liked the Libertines and also a fan of the Dirty Pretty Things. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2010 by Sean Fitzgerald
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