Whether you consider Pete Doherty to be a misunderstood genius or a lowlife junkie, you cannot deny this former Warwickshire schoolboy's predilection for getting his name in the newspapers.

But apart from dating supermodels, kidnapping teen groupies and being into hard drugs - like Popeye was into spinach - there is also a less commonly known side to Doherty.

He is also a musician. And so last night Birmingham was home to the chaos that is Babyshambles live.

The band had supposedly cleaned up its act. Well, "cleaning up" allegedly consists of Doherty swapping the colour of his daily intake from brown to white - and I'm not talking about bread.

But rather than adding more tabloid-like scribbles to the perpetual tapestry that is Doherty's chaotic personal life, let's get back to what he originally became famous for, the music.

And to be fair, at Birmingham's Carling Academy last night, Doherty continued to build bridges of comparison between his former band The Libertines and his latest group.

But first, The Paddingtons, with a lead singer spitting fury from a frame as thin as Joey Ramone.

If there is ever to be a punk revival in a real sense, then The Paddingtons would surely be fronting the cavalry charge.

Friends of Babyshambles, and no wonder when most of the talk from Doherty's fans on the internet was about securing tickets for the only three concerts of the tour where The Paddingtons were supporting.

Doherty was straight into his rhythm as Babyshambles launched proceedings with the baseline from Joy Division's She's Lost Control.

However, things only really took off when they gave the fans what they wanted, Gang of Gin, Kilimanjaro and F**k Forever.

To answer the question whether Doherty is more substance than tabloid column inches, there is no way he is original but for our times now he is one of a kind.

However, it was not very "punk rock" of him to walk off stage after one too many plastic pint glasses were thrown at the stage.

Neil Connor

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