Oh eck… where to begin? I have had too much Southern Comfort and too much Best of The Libertines: Time for Heroes and therefore I think that blithering on at you drunkenly is a good idea.
But that’s what rock’n’roll is all about, innit?
See I love The Libertines. I love The Libertines so much it hurts, and getting a Best Of… album to review is all the excuse I need to drag out a few old bootlegs and reflect on how, legitimate song for legititmate song, I probably own more Libertines bootlegs than any other type of music at all. Maybe because they produced more, maybe just because they were just worth having more than anything else.
I should never have liked The Libertines. I was way into my 30s before I first discovered them, supporting Morrissey of all people, and before anyone knew it I was obsessed with young Mr Doherty and his long suffering pals, sending mates who worked in HMV off to find me obscure CD singles before they’d even heard of him. Oh how I laughed when he started to take over their celebrity magazines and popbitch column inches. The Libertines are so fucking good.
I watched the car crash of the Max Carlish documentaries with wonder, knowing that his obsession with Pete was not too far from mine. I read the Books of Albion, closed my eyes and dreamed the dream. I only saw The Libertines that once with Pete, although I saw them twice again without. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things. Sometimes they touch the magic, but even when they do I wonder if it’s half in my mind.
I have only crowd surfed once in my life, to Dirty Pretty Things at the Astoria, as they launched into I Get Along. In memory of The Libertines.
And what is this all about? Nothing really, except that since submitting my review of The Best of The Libertines this morning, I have done little else but listen to variations on Legs 11 and the Chicken Shack sessions all day. Beautiful, fragile versions of songs that would not become more familiar for years, such as Music When the Lights Go Out and Kill A Man For His Giro (not sic) plus those we have never been treated to officially.
I love The Libertines. The mark of a great album is one that leaves you wanting more, and this is what the Best Of… did this morning. If you don’t already have more, go and find it, now. Download to your heart’s content, because there’s so much all over the internet that you’ll never get it all.
They are the band of the century so far. I hope, oh God do I hope, that there will be others as good as them, but if not, at least we had them.