Being Pete Doherty’s Business Partner

We caught up with Pete Doherty’s business partner, Suzi Martin, to discuss their new shop, Doherty & Martin: The Rag & Bone Collection

The pair has opened the shop in Camden's market area with Doherty working in the shop himself. Expect to find never seen before artwork & memorabilia.

The official launch party is Tuesday 27th August at 69, Camden High Street, NW1 7JE. 

The timings are as follows:
5 - 7pm Gin in tea cups & cupcakes
7 - 8pm Rag N Bone Live

Pete & friends will be in attendance and there will be an exclusive Dj set from Babyshambles guitarist Mik Whitnall.

The exhibition will run from August 28th to September 1st 2013.

We caught up with Suzi Martin to see how the idea came about, what it’s like to work with Doherty and what we can expect from the new Babyshambles album.

So Suzi, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Ballymena County Antrim and have spent most of my life moving from pillar to post. I settled in Kentish Town nearly ten years ago, having finally found somewhere that feels like home, although at the core of it all a gypsy spirit, I would probably still be flitting around the world in search of paradise, but motherhood has calmed me down somewhat. In the same vain I have always done many different jobs, projects, hairbrained ideas often simultaneously. I'm just not happy unless there's a challenge on the horizon. But music has always been the thread weaving the tapestry of my life together & at the heart of it all.

How/when did you meet Peter?
So, one of my incarnations was running a pub called the Torriano. It was about 7 years ago I met Peter when came flying through the door dressed in his dashing trademark trilby and suit, hot footing from the paparazzi. He found refuge in the bar, we bolted the door till they left, I shook up some cocktails or was it rum & cokes, many a drink we've had since, I can barely remember. 

You've already worked together musically, with 'Birdcage'. How was that experience?
I love writing with Peter it's so easy we dance around & bounce off each other, the process of writing is something I live for and cherish. It feels like accessing the highest realms of the spirit, it's essential to my wellbeing. Like all good things, ‘Birdcage’ was born out of darker days, struggles, pain, loss, and heartache (tiny violins please). I have learnt from this experience that when you do something good and you can't be controlled, your peers, those in power will try to cut you down. It's known as tall poppy syndrome. It's like who is this girl and why does she think she can just write with Peter? But the creative process doesn't work like that it just is, and many years of friendship indeed many lives perhaps led us to this place, we make good music.  Anyway last year Peter called me up 'get your money making booty over here' and before I knew it I'm recording with Stephen Street, dreams manifesting before my eyes, that's a real buzz! 

Can you tell us about the name: Rag & Bone Collection?
Organic is the word that best describes our ethos, when it comes to Rag And Bone we have of course had to put our heads down in parts to commit to the business aspects but these things are slow burners that's how to get the best results. We have a joint passion for old things, a fascination with bygone days. We often trawl through the markets & antique shops in Paris, London, wherever we are. It really started to become a serious contender when I started turning guitars into tables, mannequins into lamps. Peter has a massive collection of mannequins, rare treasures he has gathered up along the way. I guess finally his oniomania has a purpose and outlet, it's called Rag And Bone ..hehe.

What's your role in the venture?
We are business partner’s sounds very serious cause we're both not like businessmen, but we are. It's a joint venture, a creative venture, labour of love, we share our visions and manifest them. This is our collaboration, art in all its forms.

You must have had doubts about going into business with Doherty, given his background?
Like with every relationship, you feel it out. If my intuition was telling me not to do this believe me I wouldn't, but Peter has been a rock in the fight to save the Torriano pub when I was campaigning there, we have made music together he has never forsaken me or said otherwise. He never let me down before, I trust him and he trusts me. That's what binds our relationship. There is no room for doubt.

How's the partnership been so far?
It's a joy; to be given Carte Blanche with a project is a gift. It's great to see Peter so animated when he comes to the shop, it really is home from home for him. In his words he always wanted to have an antiques shop, it's right up his street, so we're just both getting a lot of joy out of the experience. 

The official opening is on Tuesday 27th- what can punters expect?
The shop is actually open in the stables Market, but we are taking a gallery on Camden High Street to do a launch party and exhibition. This will include previously unseen artworks. Peter is riding the wave of a creative tsunami right now, there's a lot of good stuff. 

What's the most obscure item for sale in the shop?
‘Message In A Bottle’ hands down. I got Peter to write little messages, thoughts for the day, poems & musings which we roll into a scroll like fashion and place in one of his many miniature bottles. They're proving to be the Rag And Bones most sought after piece.
Peter has said in previous interviews that he has fag butts belonging to various celebrities like Kate Moss. They're reported to cost £100. How do you price something like that?
For the record the only fag butts lying around the shop are Peters, and prices can be discussed at the shop. If someone insists on buying one, who am I to argue?

How long will the shop be open?
The shop will be open until Christmas at least. The gallery is a 1 week show from August 27th - September 1st.

Do you have any plans to expand and open another shop anywhere?
We haven’t really thought that far, although we have got a bit excited about the idea of taking the Rag And Bone on the road, popping up here and there...Showcase in a suitcase.

Have you had a sneak preview to the new Babyshambles material 'Sequel To The Prequel'? What do you make of it?
I tell you something I have and this album is a beauty, definitely one to silence the cynics, so mature & evolved, a lot of hard work and focus has gone into it. The boys are clearly very together on this one! Peter secretly put it on whilst I was doing the housework, it stopped me in my tracks, I was like who is this?? ‘Farmers Daughter’ is epic. Enough said.

What are your own future plans?
I'm planning to release an EP very soon. I’m writing every day, it's a very creative time in my life but my problem is I'm too self-deprecating. I have so much material now which I've wrongly written off and an abundance of new songs. It's just time to sit down and pick out the ones that strike a chord and share the darn music. Birdcage will also see the light of day soon; we will set that birdie free. Apart from that I'll be looking for love in all the right places.

Words by Lucy Howell