I saw The Libertines live for the first time this summer. I thought I had missed my chance to experience the Libs the way God intended-in a tiny pub with one hundred sweaty indie kids-but just as I was about to tap my Oyster Card at Finchley Road I got a call from my friend, Josh.
"Where are you? If you're already on the train you're going to kill yourself."
Josh then proceeded to explain there was a very real chance the Libertines would be performing a secret gig that night. The Libertines landmark, The Boogaloo, had been shut for a private event. His brother had informed him Carl Barat's manager had just instagrammed a picture from inside the venue. The voices on Twitter, which that afternoon had been only murmurs progressed to people shouting over one another declaring with total conviction it was true. As convoluted as this seems, I so desperately wanted the rumour to be true I immediately got in an Uber. I mean, it was worth a punt.
In all seriousness, this was not what I was supposed to be wearing when I found myself in a situation this cool.
It so happened that this particular week I was doing work experience in the offices of a once-popular music magazine. It was also the case that this particular week that London was in the grips of a cruel heatwave. A heatwave that rendered a carriage on the central line hotter than the earth's core. That Wednesday it reached a titanic 33 degrees, so I did the best I could. I even took a water bottle on the tube, like the adverts tell you to, like the responsible adult I pretend to be.
That morning I only planned for a day at the gorgeously air-conditioned office: I wore a black maxi skirt paired with a sleeveless black crop top, 17 layers of deodorant, and a brand new pair of Aldo sandals. I thought I looked quite chic, even with my hair plastered to the back of my neck with sweat. However, we can all agree this was not appropriate attire for the evening ahead. Yet I gathered my maxi skirt in my hands, threw caution to the wind and after queueing for two and half hours, I was inside the compacted pub with a beer in my hand.
My friends and I sat and speculated as to whether Peter would even turn up? What style of hat would they wear? Did the bassist from Baby Shambles just walk past? (Yes, Trilby and maybe).
When they finally slid over the bar and began to play the room erupted and the crowd surged towards the band. Nothing separated us from them apart from the three security guards. I was in touching distance of a band whose songs I used to illegally convert from YouTube videos to mp3 files so my thirteen-year-old self could listen to What Katie Did over and over on my walk to school.
As their set progressed the crowd got looser and looser and soon enough the space was so hot, the cool air from the air conditioners condensed on contact with the atmosphere. The steam curled around the corners of the room whilst Peter and Carl bellowed Gunga Din. Glasses smashed during Time For Heroes. Friends and lovers crooned to each other during You're My Waterloo. I had a truly singular experience; I went to a Libertines guerilla gig, and from the looks of it, it may be the last one for a while.
Learn from my mistakes ladies and gentlemen...The number one item of clothing not to wear to gig: sandals. You're welcome.Suggest a correction