The Libertines,man i still remember buying the first single What A Waster....within those three minutes of pure visceral joy i was a fully paid up fan.Libertines were a great synthesis of English bands Jam,Clash,Pistols,Smiths.They looked amazing,stonking tunes,dangerous,unpredictable just what the british music scene needed to rescue us from the bland soul destroying elevator music of Travis and Stereophonics.
As well as the british influence i always detected a whiff of New York Dolls,the calamity,the gutter romance.
For people of my age ten years ago The Libertines were our Beatles,our Pistols...our band,our songs.Fans sincerely felt emotionally invested in this band.Every other group on the scene became instantly redundant.Truly a band of the people.I saw them live three times,as cliched as it sounds now this band were a lifestyle.One of the most profound qualities of the band was their accessibility,i mean i met Pete three times.One thing is for certain the guy has pure star charisma emitting from every pore.
There Are No Bystanders tells the story of The Libertines in the run up to the Reading reformation shows,there is footage from the gigs as well as rehearsals.Fans know this story backwards,sideways....the band were already steeped in mythology within a year of their career which followed a trajectory that other bands cover in 20 years you know..the arguments,the split,the drugs,the side projects,the models,the comeback.
Hearing the tunes again i still felt a frisson of excitement,just sterling tunes Horrorshow,I Get Along,Skint And Minted,Tell It To The King.
This music will always define a time in my early twenties,dumb with youth,drinking,stumbling round Camden.
Am i so blindly devoted to Doherty now?No would be the answer,all that was promised kind of imploded on itself and i am not sure that becoming a slave to addiction really encapsulates the Arcadian dream of supposed frredom.I do wish Doherty would have a wash as well,THOSE FINGERNAILS!But i will save those opinions for a rainy day.For now There Are No Bystanders is a must for fans or those who were there,shouting along at the top of their voices.
Thats what The Libertines were about for me.Being young,being stupid,trying to be as cool as they were.With Up The Bracket blaring.....