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A to Z of The Libertines / Other (The Libertines)

Band interviews & articles Other pages overview


A is for...

Albion - an archaic name for England or Great Britain; used poetically. The Libertines pledged to sail upon the rock'n'roll ideal of the Albion, a mythical ship, headed by Pete and Carl, a self-created romance drawing on an arch nostalgia for a certain indefinable quality of Englishness; British films and literature of the 1950s and 1960s, Hancock's Half Hour, Steptoe and Son, Chas and Dave and skiffle music. A ship en route to Arcadia, a never-never land where rock "means something".

Arcadia - a fictitious land, which was The Libertines' private world; a vision of England in which no one is tied to societal rules, and in which everyone is free to do as they wish.

Albion Rooms - the grandly named though, in fact, run-down Bethnal Green, Victorian terraced house, where Peter and Carl rented a flat in the early days (112a Teesdale Street).

Arbeit Macht Frei - the title of a song on the second album inspired by the shockingly deceptive slogan (which translates as "work will free you" or "work makes you free"), which appeared above the iron gates of many of the Nazi death camps, such as Auschwitz, in WW2 - despite the name connection, Carl says that the song itself was not directly inspired by events at Auschwitz.

Alan McGee - The band's manager from October 2003. The Scottish music industry mogul is famed for founding the independent Creation Records label which ran from 1983 to 2000. His current project is an online-based record/multimedia company Poptones (named after a PIL track).

B is for...

Biggles - Carl's nickname, perhaps inspired by the fictional WW2 airman created by Captain W.E. Johns.

Books of Albion - the legendary series of journals/notebooks maintained by Pete - these started out as diaries but soon became a forum for Pete to explore his thoughts and poetry.

Baby Shambles - Pete's band. A name given to him by the Queens of Noize and a word that had its origin in a scrawl on the walls of the Albion Rooms.

Babyshambles Sessions - a collection of demos which were recorded by The Libertines around May 2003 while in New York. It is rumoured that Carl left halfway through the recording of these songs, leaving Peter to record the rest. There was also some help from John Hassall, where he played the bassline on one song, The Man Who Would Be King. Other songs were recorded with help from musicians Wolfman and Steve Bedlow. Although only one copy of the discs existed at the time, Peter passed the CDs to a complete stranger in the lobby at the Chelsea Hotel and asked her to share the songs with the fans. Thus, the sessions are available online for download from various sources.

Bilo - Pete's nickname.

Beano - the long running classic British comic book, as mentioned in "What a Waster".

Boy looked at Johnny, The - track #9 on Up the Brack. Also, a scathing classic meditation on punk rock published in 1978, written by Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons (NME journalists).

Basingstoke - the Hampshire town where Carl was born.

Brown - a slang term for heroin, as mentioned in the lyrics to "Can't Stand Me Now" and "Horrorshow".

Beigel Bakery - 159 Brick Lane, London, E1 - the Libertines were famously photographed outside this establishment by Roger Sargent.

Banny Poostchi - an Oxford graduate and lawyer for Warner Chappel Music Publishing, with a passion for music. The Libertines first met Banny around 2000. She saw the band had something special from the start and soon became their manager; she worked extremely hard to help the band get signed by Rough Trade, being described by Peter and Carl as a "a lady of vast ambition, like Margaret Thatcher" - she parted company with the band in October 2003.

Bright Young Things - the name of Carl's London club night.

Bernard Butler - ex-Suede guitarist/producer, he produced "What a Waster" and "Don't Look Back into the Sun".

Bill Bones - the name crops up in "Time for Heroes"; also a character from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel "Treasure Island". A drunken, violent and yet terrified man who brings the map to Jim's Inn. He is given the Black Spot by Blind Pew and dies of a heart attack from terror. Bill Bones may also refer to The American Beat poet William Burroughs. Here is a qoute from a Dohery forum post on August 12, 2002: "William Burroughs who i thought was dead, is climbing the steps to the temple, shivers, they find four bodies here a week. they find our bodies here a week ago."

C is for...

Client - Peter and Carl are featured vocalists on electro-pop duo, Client's, second album, "City". Peter adds his jousting vocals to "Down To The Underground" and Carl sings on the kinky ode to monogamy, "Pornography".

Clapham - the somewhat trendy area of south London, as mentioned in "Narcissist".

Chavs, The - formed for one night only for a gig at the Tap And Tin in Chatham in December 2004. The Chavs featured Carl, The Charlatans' Tim Burgess, Primal Scream's Martin Duffy and Razorlight's Andy Burrows.

Cally Road - mentioned in "Up the Bracket" and refers to the Caledonian Road in north London.

D is for...

Dorian Gray - as name checked in "Narcissist". The Picture of Dorian Gray is a nineteenth century novel by Oscar Wilde, Gray being an extremely handsome young man, but with a vain and selfish character, who is extremely susceptible to corrupting influences.

Dirty Pretty Things - Carl's band featuring Gary Powell, Didz Hammond and Anthony Rossomando.

Dinger - Pete's cat.

Darcey Bussell - the English ballerina, her legs appear on the front of the Legs XI recording. Banny said: "The most famous legs in England. It was appropriate that she'd be a mascot. And that's why it became Legs 11."

Delvin the Wizard - in the early days, Peter and Carl lived in a Stoke Newington squat (a disused factory), which was overseen by hippie, Delvin the Wizard.

Duke of Clarence - 140 Rotherfield Street, N1 - north London pub (now closed) often frequented by the band.
Death Disco - as mentioned in "Don't Look Back into the Sun", Death Disco is a club night run by Alan McGree, which takes place every Wednesday at The Notting Hill Arts Club, W11.

E is for...

Emily Dickinson - the American poet, much admired by Peter, when he was growing up.

F is for...

Filthy McNasty's - 68 Amwell Street, EC1 - east London pub where Pete and Carl once worked behind the bar and The Libertines played gigs.

French Sessions - the band's rare unreleased recordings.

Full Moon Empty Sports Bag - a free literary magazine/fanzine which regularly publishes poetic contributions from Peter.

G is for...

Geoff Travis - head (and founder) of the Rough Trade Records. He signed The Libertines on Christmas Eve 2001, after enthusiastic recommendation from his A&R man, James Endeacott.

1A Gunter Grove - off Kings Road, west London - Pete played a solo gig here in May 2003.

Golden Heart, The - the pub on Commercial Street, near Old Spitalfields Market, which Pete says is his favourite.

General, The - (General Santana) a Rastafarian rapper who Pete became friendly with after they met in Pentonville Prison in early 2005. The pair stayed in touch following Peter's release and they performed together at the Wireless Festival and wrote a song together (Pentonville Rough).

H is for...

Hackney - the east London borough where Pete lives.
Holloway Road - the street in north London where Pete and Carl resided for a spell in the early days.

J is for...

James Mullord - of 1-2-3-4 Records. A friend of Pete from the early days and Baby Shambles' ex-manager. Pete originally wanted to The Libertines to get signed by 1-2-3-4 Records rather than Rough Trade!

Johnny Borrell - the Razorlight frontman who played bass with The Libertines in the days before they were signed. He was never a member of the band but did get close to joining on a temporary basis. Having befriended Pete and Carl, he offered to stand in when their bass player went Awol.

James Endeacott - immensely likeable, former A&R man at Rough Trade Records, responsible for getting The Libertines signed, after they played a showcase for him in October 2001. James now owns his own label, 1965 Records, through Sony.
J.I.B - referred to in "Campaign of Hate". Urban slang; a way of being or thinking, ie "I like the cut of your jib." - to like a person.

K is for...

Kipling - "The Man Who Would Be King" takes its title from a short story by Rudyard Kipling. The story was also the inspiration behind the 1975 film of the same name starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. The theme of the film is friendship.

L is for...

Liverpool - where Pete spent much of his growing up years. He had a proper Liverpudlian accent when he was around 9 years of age.

Legs 11 - early Libertines session compiled of early demos, circa 2001.

Love You But You're Green - Babyshambles HQ Sessions Second Wave track - Pete got the title from a line in Brighton Rock.

Lonely Villein, The - Pete's novel, which he wrote in prison to relieve boredom.

Ladyshambles - Babyshambles transformed themselves into Ladyshambles when they dressed in drag for a gig in Cologne, Germany in May 2006.

Later... With Jools Holland - BBC2 show on which Peter and Carl were thrown offstage for dancing too enthusiastically to Chas & Dave.

M is for...

Mr Razzcocks - aka Paul DuFour, a jazz drummer, in his 50s, who played with the band in the early days and was reunited with them for a show at Islington's Duke of Clarence pub at the end of 2003.

Mr Lombard - John's nickname in the early days of The Libertines.

Mark Hammerton - credited for co-writing "Can't Stand Me Now".

P is for...

Pigman - Carl's nickman for Pete (he sent Pete postcards with pigs on, when he was serving time in Wandsworth). The name also crops up in "The Good Old Days".

Pitzia - the goddess of Arcadia, so says Pete.

Pentonville Prison - north London prison, where Peter served time in early 2005.

Poetry Society, The - a Hancock's Half Hour episode from which Peter lifts the Sid James line "Lead pipes, fortune made", for inclusion in the lyrics to "Vertigo".

Q is for...

Queens Park Rangers - the west London football club, followed by Peter with a passion. He calls them the best football team in the world and in his teens contributed to the QPR fanzine, All Quiet on the Western Avenue.

Queen Boadicea - she who is named checked in "The Good Old Days". A formidable lady warrior who, at the time of the Roman conquest of southern Britain, ruled the Iceni tribe of East Anglia alongside her husband King Prasutagus. Boudica has secured a special place of her own in British folk history, remembered for her courage; the warrior Queen who fought the might of Rome. There's a bronze statue of her riding high in her chariot located on the Thames Embankment next to the Houses of Parliament.

R is for...

Rising Damp - the classic 70s sitcom, of which Peter is a fan.

Rhythm Factory - 16-18 Whitechapel Road, E1 - a bit of a dive, this east London music venue became a regular haunt for The Libertines.

RAK Recording Studios - the St John's Wood studios created in 1976 by Mickie Most. Up the Bracket was recorded here.
Rough Trade Records - independent west London record label. It started out as a record shop in 1976, and evolved into a record label in 1978. The Libertines were signed by Rough Trade at the end of 2001.

S is for...

Siegfried Sassoon - writer of the 1918 poem, "Suicide in the Trenches", recited by Peter and Carl at the 2004 NME awards.

Stone Me, What a Life - Baby Shambles track; the title is inspired by a Tony Hancock expression.

Sandra the Wood Nymph - a French dancer, who used to perform with the band in the early days. She was introduced to the band by Delvin the Wizard and her repertoire involved crawling out of a plastic egg, with fire around her.

Spaniel - music hall era inspired nicknames, adopted by both Pete and Carl in the early days.

Steve Bedlow - aka Scarborough Steve, the band's original singer (now the singer with Scarborough band the IV's). Steve is the type of bloke who is, apparently, capable of causing more havoc than all four Libertines put together.

T is for...

Tony Hancock - brilliant, yet suicidal, post-war British comedian, much admired by Pete. Pete perhaps inherited his love of Hancock from his father; Peter Snr ran the local branch of the Hancock Fan Club!

Thomas Chatterton - English poet, circa mis-1700s, who committed suicide aged 17. His work is admired by Pete.

U is for...

Ulysses - as mentioned in "What a Waster"; the classic 1922 novel by James Joyce, which follows the lives of two Dubliners, through a single day.

Up the Bracket - the title of the band's debut album. Tony Hancock (and Sid James) used the phrase "up the bracket" (meaning a punch in the face) in their radio shows.

V is for...

Vicky the Cellist - Vicky Chapman played cello with the band in the early days, for about a year. The Music When The Lights Go Out demo from Legs 11, features Vicky on cello.

Vallance Road - named checked in "Up the Bracket", a road in Tower Hamlets, London, E2.

Virgin Megastore - Peter and Carl take a detour into a Virgin record shop in the "Don't Look Back into the Sun" video (there's some subtle in-store pilfering going on).

W is for...

Wandsworth Prison - where Pete served a one-month sentence for burglary in the summer of 2003.

Wolfman - Peter Wolfe, Pete's somewhat scary mate and occasional musical collaborator. Wolfman wrote "For Lovers".

Wombles - The Wombles (an acronym for White Overall Movement Building Liberation through Effective Struggle) are a group of hardcore London Anarchists who wear white overalls to demos - they crop in the lyrics for "Time for Heroes"; this song was based on Pete's experiences at the 2001 May Day riots.

Whitechapel - a part of London which Pete says has played an important part in the band's history.

Y is for...

Yo ho ho - in the lyrics to "Tomblands"; another reference to "Treasure Island's" Bill Bones? - ("Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum...(hic)"

Yeti - John's band, in which he sings lead vocals and plays bass guitar.

*Please Note: this page was copied directly from the old Libertines.TwinklingStar website, that closed down in 2008. Although a couple of things on the list are out-of-date, I felt it important to preserve the original A-Z, that otherwise might get lost forever.