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August 7, 2006 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

The Libertines Up the Bracket

It occurred to Chris and I recently that ‘Albums For All Occasions’ is a misnomer. Without us intending it, this column has morphed into ‘Albums to Get Depressed/Angry To’. This realisation has led to an attempt on my part to rectify this. Begging the question, what makes me happy? There are few things that make me happier than airing the Libertines, and there are stock situations in which this occurs. This is the best: easing round your flat, your best friends in tow. It’s the evening of what promises to be either the best night of your life or the night you wake up in an unidentified suburb with two kilos of stolen ham tucked under your arm. A fresh pack of cigarettes, a few whiskeys down, being full of swagger and smacktalk, maybe wearing a new t-shirt, that sort of thing. Plenty of scope for tearing up the dance floor and maybe pashing that kid you fancy later on, equal potential for diatribes on the Indigo balcony with exes and breaking onto the Interislander. Anything could happen tonight, of all nights. The only thing that’s certain is Welcome Takeaways and Jagermeister.

When The Libertines arrived in 2002, I knew I’d found my band. I was in London that year, and they summed it all up: the drugs, the late nights, the chavs, love, hate, class warfare and the existential crisis forced upon everyone in those formative drifting years between 18 and 25. They did it in a way that made you punch the air and start a band, and they grabbed my imagination in a way few musicians have before or since. In Pete they had the most compelling and vulnerable front-man of our generation, and for a few months in 2004 we were convinced that the reformation of the Libertines would end the Middle East conflict, cure AIDS, defeat Bush ‘n Blair and in short, save the world. Playing ‘Time For Heroes’ loud as permissible, chainsmoking and shouting “it’s not right for young lungs to be coughing up blood” is my mission statement for a night of debauched mayhem. It’s not happiness, precisely; it’s that intoxicating feeling that anything’s possible.


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