Apparently I saw The Libertines play once, supporting Supergrass sometime around 2001/2. That’s what I’ve been told, at any rate, and I have to take it on trust because I have literally no memory of the event whatsoever. I see this total lack of recall as my personal tribute to Pete Doherty, whose own memories of the moment are probably as vivid as mine. Bandmate and Basingstoke alumnus Carl Barat has presumably also forgotten quite a lot of what went on around this time, or else why would he possibly agree to get the band back together in 2014 for a series of headlining gigs?
The cynics now point to large bags of cash dangled in front of the band, and in particular Doherty who probably didn’t invest any amount of his earnings in low-yield bonds. The more romantic among us may prefer to consider the unbreakable bond of love and friendship that has always existed between the two, and the chaos at the heart of The Libertines that made them the musical embodiment of Harry Lime’s speech about the Borgias and cuckoo clocks. In The Libertines’ case, it didn’t result in “Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance”, but it did produce a series of glorious ramshackle and semi-unhinged punk/garage classics, of which Up The Bracket, the title track from their debut album, is just one.