I was just having a chat with someone about my reckless years, and she cleverly linked it to my love of The Libertines, making a very good parallel between the ways Pete grew up having certain things expected of him by his military dad and once he got away from home just threw it all against the wall, got a band together with Carl, wrote some of the greatest songs of their generation and then blew the whole thing up again. My rebellion wasn’t anywhere near as productive or positive or destructive, but it has helped me grow out of it, and to understand it better.
This morning I received my copy of the There Are No Innocent Bystanders documentary and I cannot wait to watch it, I’m a massive fanboy about suck things in fact. I was there at Reading when they played together for the first time in four years (I believe it was). The DVD is the build up to that, and the warm up gigs they did at the Forum. I’ve always loved the Libertines, they taught me a lot about making my own music, and the idea that just because you’re in a rock and roll band doesn’t mean you have to be cold and distant about it, they only ever had love and dreams, and until it all got blown away by drugs that is an ideal for a young man. They openly talked about literature and the wonder of the English way and it was just something different to me, and I fell for it headfirst, I’m still in love with it.
The thing about The Libertines is that it always feels like a tragedy that they couldn’t keep it on the straight and narrow, that they fell away at the top of their game, that it all imploded and you wonder ‘what if’ in the same way you do about the deaths of Amy, Kurt, and the others, or the way The Smiths folded when they were such a force. That’s the joy of it all, knowing that it’s all so finite, you make an album and it’s thirty/forty/fifty minutes of pure joy and that might be all you ever do together, in the Libertines case obviously it was two albums of pure joy (although having read Threepenny Memoir) I’m not sure Carl would agree with me. I love The Libertines because they could have taken over the world, but they just couldn’t do it, they were fallible, they’re human, they’re golden.