28 years ago, I fell in love with 4 beautiful boys from South Wales. All white skinny jeans, spray painted frilly shirts and eyeliner, they sang about Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair, had an opinion on just about everything and to me, they were utterly fabulous.
As a shy and awkward teenager, they spoke to me in a way no-one had ever done before. The fact I had never met them, and our relationship existed through the pages of the weekly music press made no difference, I hung on their every word. Their influence affected almost everything I did, the books I read, the films I watched, my conversation and even the clothes I wore.
They were the Manic Street Preachers and they would forever be ‘My Band’.
We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, I can’t lie, we went our separate ways and lost touch for a while, but right now we are firmly back together.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their brilliant album This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours, the Manics have just completed a sold-out tour of the UK. James, Nicky and Sean still have the sparkle and charisma which caught my attention all those years ago. Early gigs were a frantic 35 minutes long, ending with splintered guitars and James stage diving into the crowd, these days it’s a more sedate 1 hour and 45 minutes and the guitars are carefully packed in their cases.
The Manics have often thrown in a cover song and this tour is no exception, with a nod to their rock and roll heroes a note perfect Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns and Roses is a great addition to the evening. Long ago, I remember the band’s manifesto claimed their first album Generation Terrorists would sell 16 million copies, just like G’n’R , then they would split up and live in bunkers like JD Salinger (or something…). 18-year-old me prayed this wouldn’t happen! 12 albums later, I’m a little more relaxed!
I will forever be thankful to the Manics for always being there when I needed them, sometimes in the background, other times the most important voices I’ve ever heard. Four voices then three, in song or in print, for shaping my life and so many others.
Love you Manics xx
The Zine UK’s very own Dead End Dolly. Epic Photographer and Manic Street Preaching photo-journalist with a love for cats.