The Libertines’ first album was released as me and my mates were starting sixth form, their second just after we’d finished our A-Levels, and so they basically soundtracked our formative years. Mixed Bag every Thursday and Le Bateau every Saturday, without fail (we’d moved on from the Walkabout by this point.) We’d spend all our time in the common room discussing the previous weekend’s nights out and planning the next. Nothing much ever changed from one week to the next, but we didn’t want it to because we were having a ball and The Libertines existed and nothing else mattered. We devoured the NME for every last scrap of gossip about them and were swept along in the romance of it all (as romantic as a heroine addict robbing his best mate and being sent to prison can be, but it seemed so to us at the time.) They played the Zanzibar when Pete got out and I remember being there with all of my friends and feeling like I was going to burst with happiness because of this brilliant band and I just knew that Pete and Carl were going to be friends forever.
Obviously, the bubble burst soon afterwards. The Libs split up. Pete and Carl had fallen out. Fast forward to Leeds Festival 2010 and they were back together. However Pete freely admitted it was just for the money, and my word did it show. I remember watching them just going through the motions, not caring about anything, least of all the music and I was so very disappointed.
But then Glastonbury 2015 comes around. Grohl’s broken his leg, Florence has taken the Foos’ place – and we wake up on the Friday to rumours that The Libs were taking her slot. I can’t quite describe the joy we felt when the banner displaying their name was unveiled. We were seventeen again. The only thing that mattered was passing our A-Levels and having enough money for Pub Thursday and our taxi money home from Le Bateau. No debts, no job, no worries. Pete and Carl cared again, they loved each other again, they loved music again. And I looked at our Paul going mad for them too – sixteen years old, too young to remember when they were around the first time – but they will mean the same things to him and that’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve barely listened to their new stuff; I don’t really want to. Those two near-perfect albums are enough for me. This song’s probably my favourite.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about music that means something to me, despite the fact that I’ve managed to do it wrong by dragging it out for weeks rather than doing it on seven consecutive days. (I’d like to say that I’ve been too busy to keep on track with it, but if I’m being perfectly honest I’ve only been busy having naps and watching telly.) I could probably carry it on forever to be honest. Here are a few notable omissions from my list that could have been included:
LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great
This song reminds me of living in a flat in town and thinking I was having a ball but I wasn’t, far from it. I was unemployed, slightly unhinged and my bedroom had no windows, for God’s sake. I would have included this properly but the accompanying spiel would probably have been extremely depressing – I thought I’d spare you. See also: All My Friends, notable for a smidgen of it being included in the latter stages of Hot Chip’s utterly glorious Glastonbury 2015 set. I cried, obviously.
The Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There. Girl power and all that. We’ll ignore the absolute travesty that was Viva Forever: The Musical. Still not over it.
The Lion King soundtrack – Hakuna Matata
It means no worries, after all. (I once did this on karaoke. Video footage may still exist.)
Elbow – One Day Like This
I saw this live at Glastonbury on one of the best days of my life to date. It reminds me of love, loss and someone who changed me for the better, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.
Joni Mitchell – Little Green
An ex-boyfriend introduced me to this album; my incessant playing of it thereafter probably contributed to the demise of our relationship. “You’re sad and you’re sorry, but you’re not ashamed.” Beautiful.
I’ll wrap this up here with another Libs lyric, otherwise I’ll be chatting on all night: if you’ve lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won’t be long.