It's 2004, and I'm 15. At the London comprehensive time forgot, I’m either into rap and hip-hop (whereby I’m cool), or I’m a “rockhead”- a slim-jeaned ponce with a taste for punks, piercings and the odd good grade.
But music remains mapped between the isles of Coldplay and N’Sync, a barren wasteland. One day, however, a friend comes into school with a wine stain on yesterday’s shirt. He hasn’t slept. He has long talks with the English teacher, enthusiastically discussing last nights “flat party” antics and the rolled up copy of NME he’s clutching.
So I decide to look up 'Time For Heroes' - the subject of their discussion. And to my surprise, it blows me away. There it is. An unhinged, roaring ball of energy. A sense-engulfing fantasia that presents me a buzz so strong, I am unable to shake it off days later.
I’ve never known music to be both exciting and romantic. The sound is unpolished, but the words are resonant, poetic. I am a stylish kid in the riot. This is my rock and roll renaissance. And this, here, is the art of finding one’s self.
The Libertines introduce me to a world where heroes exist. An illicit and charming underworld, where idol and idoliser are interchangeable. They become my homework, my friends, my go-to, captains of the good ship Albion on which I see myself and all those around me sailing. Into infinity, Arcadia.
I believe that we’re a community. That we’ll all die in the class we were born (because that’s a class of our own my love). I skip and whistle this on my way to morning exams, happy. Because yes, I can finally, proudly say I am a rockhead. And there are others who feel the same.
I flap around and shake at concerts. Hair matted and panting, I am willing to break a sweat (and even bones) to touch home ground – the stage. And I too, suede-wearing, gin-drinking dramatic, will fall for you, once leather-clad wideboy. We’re one.
Well, in 2012, everybody grows up. That’s the motto, and being a Libertines fan these days is akin to joining Fight Club. The first rule is, you don’t talk about it.
From Jarvis to Mick Jones, I now possess a fondness for the literati-muso. And it would seem natural for my adoration of older bands like the Smiths to precede those party seeking, gig crashing days of teenagehood. But those bands were never of my generation. Try as I might, I can’t get the dance right.
Though no one song can ever change a person’s life, it can certainly cement a time. And for me, that’s exactly what it was. A time to remember. A time for heroes.