After a series of cryptic messages, a brief epoch of groundless hysteria, and strong hints from Carl Barat, the rumours of a Libertines reunion are finally set in stone. The boys in the band will be hosting a headline show at Hyde Park on the 5th of July, with acclaimed artists such as Spiritualised, The Pogues, Reverend and The Makers, and I am Kloot as support. The last time Peter, Carl, John, and Gary were seen on stage together was at the Reading & Leeds festival in 2010. 2014 also marks the 10th anniversary of the bands last self-titled album; the iconic biographical album about the breakdown of Carl and Peter’s, attenuating and at times destructive relationship.
The news of a Libertines reformation appears to have cultivated two binary camps of opinion, those who have longed to see Peter and Carl together for years, and those who feel like a reunion for a stack of cash every once in a while is sacrilegious to their legacy and artistic merit. There is also the residents of Mayfair camp, who protested against the Hyde Park gig due to their ambivalence towards Peter Doherty as an individual, and the sort of people he will attract. Suggesting that Libertines fans will be a ‘nuisance’ was probably not the best idea, as now their pre-emptive and fleeting generalisation statements may provoke the undesired reaction that they feared. Fortunately, this irrelevant stiff neck camp can be silenced with the irresistible carrot of capitalism that they live for; money. But, let’s not fall into the same trap of hypocrisy and make fleeting (or not so fleeting, depending on your disposition) assumptions.
Those that have protested against the Libertines reunion as tampering with the legacy, fail to acknowledge the rough trajectory of the Libertines’ story. The Libertines’ legacy was tampered with when Peter, the creative nucleus of the band, was kicked out and left on the side of the road. The trajectory that followed was that of drugs and incarceration, and since then their legacy has been fragmented. However, in terms of their lasting and impressionable mark on the hallmark of music history, The Libertines fail to fade away into obscurity. This manifested itself on BBC6 Music’s two hour Libertines inspired playlist, in which fans explained why The Libertines made such a lasting impression. Russell Brand expressed his reverence for the band and chose the song ‘Tell The King’ and befittingly explained, ‘I think Peter Doherty, and Carl, I think they were very very brilliant artists and musicians, and I think they’re talking about how you can achieve something from nothing and I think they render it very, very well’. Brand hints at one of the fundamental inspiring aspects of their legacy. Peter, Carl, Gary and John often thought of themselves as the last gang in town, the last musicians who hadn’t sold out and dumbed down their sound like Razorlight (sorry to namedrop), and fought relentlessly to revive British rock music against the swamp of 00’s popular culture. Of course, many would protest and argue that this one-off stint for cash reverts the point Brand makes. However, all is not lost. The Libertines have also suggested that there could be new material in the arsenal, as well as a warm-up show which will undoubtedly be held in an intimate venue, to follow their legacy of breaking down the ironclad barriers between the band and the fans.
…it just happens to be amazing rock n’roll music…
Peter himself has admitted that he is in an undesirable financial situation and the cash offered was too much to turn down. But is this really so undignified or artistically impious? The fact that he is so overtly honest with the motivations for a reunion gig isolates him from the conveyer-belt artists who falsify their expedient financial motivations, and instead state that they’re doing it for the ‘love’ of it all. Doherty justified himself in an interview with NME by saying ‘We signed to Rough Trade, right? Purely for the money… It’s a fucking horrowshow, it just happens to be amazing rock n’roll music’. That is the most important basis of the Hyde Park show, no matter what the motivations were, the good old days will be rekindled for a night, and we shall be reminded of why The Libertines are one of those timeless bands. Money is a pushing factor for anyone, no matter how much we may deny that we aren’t driven by the emptiness of materialism. But The Libertines were and still are everything for Peter and Carl, as they both have the word ‘libertine’ tattooed in each other’s hand writing, and more than that, it’s imprinted in their identity, which fans continue to identify with. Overrated hype, doesn’t sell 50,000 tickets, and mere ‘hype’ doesn’t inspire a generation of British guitar bands, who continue to ride the beaten vessel of Rock & Roll. It’s a time for heroes, so get out your dusty leather jackets and Doherty-worthy trilbies, and let the stylish kids in the riot reprise.