Monday, 19 December 2011

On the street tonight, an old man plays with newspaper cuttings of his glory days

I may not wear heavy black eyeliner, leopard print and a tiara these days, but I'm still prepared to brave the crowds and cold to see the Manic Street Preachers. They played a one-off singles gig at the O2 arena in Greenwich on Saturday, and it was fantastic.

Nicky had a costume change during the interval, and ended the gig wearing a white 'Spiller's Records' hoodie, a printed miniskirt and pedal pushers. Those of you with Welsh connections will probably remember Spiller's Records, a gem of a record shop in Cardiff. They had a special Welsh rock section, and when I was living in Swansea, I would often go there to get Manics bootlegs and fanzines. Sadly, like many record shops, it has closed down.

I felt a shiver down my spine when James sang the opening to Life Becoming a Landslide. And I'm getting soft in my old age - I was close to tears during Your Love Alone is Not Enough and when Nicky spoke of Richey. I'd never heard Nina Pearson sing live before, and I was mesmerized by her raw, beautiful voice as she sang lines like 'I could have written all your lies...I could have shown you how to cry'. Gruff Rhys also made a guest appearance on Let Robeson Sing - apparently, he was meant to sing this with the Manics when they went to Cuba, but he didn't make it.

James and Nicky were on top form, chatting to us and each other. 'You never f***ing liked this song, did you?!' James said at the end of Why So Sad. Some of us did, James! 'We used to write songs about the miners' strike,' Nicky told us. 'Nothing's changed. There's still a lot of a c***s in power.'

The golden Holy Bible era may be long gone, but I hope the Manics continue to write songs about the things that matter.

I am all the things that you regret
A truth that washes, that learned how to spell.


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