50 incredibly geeky facts about The Libertines

Today (March 12) is Pete Doherty’s birthday. To celebrate the Libs frontman’s special day, here’s 50 geeky facts about The Libertines.


Carl lived on a commune in Somerset with his mother as a kid, his parents were divorced and his mum was a member of various peace groups including the CND.


Carl had a twin brother who died soon after they were born. He has a sister, three half-siblings, one step brother and a step sister.


When the boys moved into their North London flat, they formed a band with neightbour Steve ‘Scarborough Steve’ Bedlow and called themselves The Strand, creating an early incarnation of The Libs. They performed a lot of their early gigs in the flat.



Pete and Carl first met when Barât went to Brunel University to study drama and shared a flat with Doherty’s sister Amy-Jo in Richmond.


Gary Powell has worked with JME and Skepta, as well as composing show music for fashion designers Todd Lynn and Roland Mouret for London and Paris fashion weeks.


Pete gave himself the username ‘heavyhorse’ when talking on The Libertines fans forums as the band started to show tensions between Barat and Doherty.


Pete and Carl followed one common dream whilst in The Libertines: “It’s either to the top of the world, or the bottom of a canal”, Barât once said this to Doherty when they first became friends.



Carl Barât very nearly became a junkie. In an interview with The Word in 2004, he revealed, “There was one point where I very very nearly, just to be close to him (Pete), started taking full-on heroin.”


NME journalist Roger Morton offered to be their manager after seeing them play at Macnasty’s Whiskey Café in Islington where Pete worked as a barman.


Carl was left partially deaf after having a tumour behind his ear removed back in 2005.


‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’ is about Johnny Borrell from Razorlight – who the band hung out with in London before releasing their debut album. He even played bass with them for a while.



Gary Powell used to be a session drummer for legendary reggae artist Eddy Grant.


When he was part of the band, Johnny Borrell missed an important showcase for James Endeacott at Rough Trade because he was on tour “living the high life” – but Barat and Doherty managed to impress Endeacott enough to get signed.


Their first single – a double a-side of ‘What A Waster’ and ‘I Get Along’ – was produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and released in 2003. The band were on the front cover of NME for the first time that week.


Pete and Carl took the band’s name from the 17th century Marquis De Sade novel ‘The Lusts Of The Libertines’ – which features the risqué subjects of sexual perversion, bondage and sado-masochism.


‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’, a new film chronicling The Libertines’ past, present and future, premiered in London last week. “All I’ve tried to do is to show these four people as human beings rather than tabloid monsters,” said filmmaker and photographer Roger Sargent of the documentary.


The band lived next to a brothel. “They’ve cleaned it up a bit now,” Carl said in the band’s new film, ‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’. “I used to sleep in a big, black iron cage.”


Working with Mick Jones, The Clash man would often allow the band to record the same song lots of times and pick the best take – rather than interfering with their recording process.


The pair hadn’t spoken for almost a year when they met at the Boogaloo Bar in Highgate, North London. Carl turned up at the bar and was told there was a high chance of Doherty being there later, Barat told NME journalist Anthony Thornton, “it might as well happen now, because it’s going to happen sometime”.


After a long period of not speaking, Pete and Carl were spotted together at a Tender Box gig at the Dublin Castle in Camden in July 2006. Barat later said that it was “all a bit public for my liking. I was blind drunk that night.”


Pete and Carl covered Beatles track ‘A Day In The Life’ for a Radio 2 project to rerecord the whole of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ for the 40th anniversary of the record in June 2007.


In 2008 the pair were rumoured to be working on a ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ musical for London’s Donmar Warehouse, but Carl told NME that reports that they were recording new material were rubbish and that the musical was off.


Playing together in public for the first time since April 2007, Carl appeared onstage when Pete was performing a private gig at Camden’s Prince Of Wales pub for London Fashion Week. When he spotted Barat, Doherty exclaimed, “Stone me, Carl!”


In 2009 Pete revealed that the band had been offered millions to reunite for Reading And Leeds Festivals, but that Carl had turned it down. Carl told BBC 6 Music, “I’ve just freed myself up so the last thing I wanna do is completely burden my mind. No, not right now.”


Their debut album’s title (‘Up The Bracket’) is a reference to a phrase from Hancock’s Half Hour, a slang term that means a punch in the throat.


In June 2008, Pete commissioned a sculpture of himself on a cross for one of his solo shows in London. It was carved in marble and depicted Doherty surrounded by newspapers, symbolising his crucifixion by the media.