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Music / The Libertines

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"They say never work with children or animals. The Libertines were both."
Paul DuFour, Bound Together: The Definitive Story of Peter Doherty and Carl Barat and How They Changed British Music

The Libertines are an Indie Rock, Post-Punk revival band from London, England. They rose to fame in the early 2000's with their two albums, Up the Bracket and self-titled album The Libertines. They were famed for their warts-and-all performances and the intense, toxic and all-consuming relationship between their two lead-singers, Carl Barât and Pete Doherty. The Libertines split up in 2004 over escalating problems with Pete Doherty's heroin addiction and the friction that it caused between the four members. Despite this, they have remained consistently popular throughout England.

They reformed in 2010 for the Reading and Leeds festivals, although at the time it was a one-off performance. A film by Roger Sargent titled "There Are No Innocent Bystanders" chronicles the reformation of The Libertines and covers their early years. In 2014, the band rekindled their friendships and signed a contract with Virgin, officially reunited. In 2015, Pete Doherty went through rehab for heroin addiction in Thailand, where they recorded their first album in 11 years, titled Anthems for Doomed Youth. It was released in September of the same year.

This work provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Pete and Carl called one another "Bilo" and "Biggles."
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted. Gary could get just as wild as the rest of them in live performances, but the rest of the time, he seems subdued when compared to Pete Doherty.
  • British Rockstar: Carl and Pete in their louche debauched glory.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: "Time For Heroes" has a hilarious example.
    "There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap."
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Not nearly as extreme as the trope name might suggest. John just has a more stoic personality compared to the rest of them, which sometimes makes him seem more boring. The mammoth popularity of Pete and Carl, as well as Gary's outgoing nature have a little to do with it. In the band itself, they all have equal status.
  • Ode to Sobriety: "Don't spend your days in the haze of the Iceman." The eponymous Iceman is, of course, a meth dealer.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Lots of it.
  • Televised Torture: The video for "Heart of the Matter". Slight variation, as the torture is part of a peep show.
  • Undying Loyalty: The friendship between Pete and Carl is so strong, that after their reunion, Pete was quoted as saying he was "ready to die for him again."
  • You Bastard!: The entire concept of the video for "Heart of the Matter".