Apparently this is ancient news to anyone who keeps abreast of celebrity goings-on, but I was nonetheless surprised to pick up a copy of one of the local tabloids and discover a picture on the cover of my old mate Jamie snogging Kate Moss.
I haven't seen too much of Jamie in recent years - in fact it's probably been a couple since I've seen him at all - but he was a regular fixture on the relatively obscure London punk scene ever since he came to London at the beginning of the 90s. The first time I remember meeting him was upstairs at the old Laurel Tree in Camden, when he was playing with Scarfo, one of the earlier British emo bands (note to my younger readers: emo meant something rather different then; though I wouldn't want to go so far as to suggest "different" meant "better," it certainly meant at least "less bad").
Actually, Scarfo were pretty decent, considering their genre, though it's hard to say, as I was going through one of my rare "open-minded" periods at the time, wherein I tried, or at least pretended to try to like almost everything new and adventurous. Hell, I had just come back from touring with Huggy Bear, and if you've ever heard them... Well, suffice it to say that if you know me at all, you won't be trying to hire them to be the entertainment next time you throw a party in my honour.
Even though he lived in South London, I used to run into Jamie from time to time in my neighbourhood, and he was invariably charming, especially considering that I didn't know him all that well. I tend to marvel at people who can do this, struggling as I do with being charming or for that matter civil even to the people I know and love best. I saw a bit more of him once Allison from Discount moved here and teamed up with him to form The Kills, aka the über-stylish British White Stripes (yes, I know that's horribly simplistic rock critic-type writing, but it's Saturday morning, I'm a bit foggy, and have no other facile analogies on offer).
Being in The Kills seemed to transform both Allison and Jamie, her more than him, as she went from being an almost painfully timid nonsmoking teetotaler to, well, the opposite, and he, well, he mostly did more of the same, only much more darkly and intensely. I went to see them a few times and appreciated the artistry that went into the whole package that was The Kills, but couldn't get that far into the music. Well, let's be honest: if they weren't friends, I probably wouldn't have listened to it for very long at all, but that's also because that interval of open-mindedness I wandered into back in 1994 didn't last very long at all, and I've since made up for it by refusing to listen to much of anything except what I already know in advance I will like. And those who know me personally will attest that this is only the very slightest of exaggerations. If at all.
Apparently the News Of The World and the rest of the tabloids have been round to see Jamie's old flatmates offering shedloads of money if they'll spill the beans on what "the real Jamie" was like, but none of them seem to have taken the bait, and any journos who stumble across this blog should be advised that I've already said everything I know here and that some or all of it might be made up. In the absence of genuine sources, the media have had to fall back on their usual stock in trade, i.e., hysterical speculation, like the Daily Mail speculation over whether Jamie is just another "bad boy rocker" like "Pete" (I love how the upright Voice of Middle Britain is on a first-name basis with garden-variety junkies when and if they date somebody rich enough).
I also don't have the faintest clue what a "bad boy rocker" is or if Jamie measures up in that department. Personally, I've never seen him use drugs other than alcohol and cigarettes in the entire time I've known him, and anyway, I never thought being a pathetic, sniveling junkie à la Pete Doherty made anyone "bad." Pitiable at best, and even that's a stretch. Anyway, God bless the young lovers, wherever they are; judging from a quick run through just this morning's tabloids, they'll need it.