Let’s take a break from your regular programme. I am an excited little bunny today because my ticket to see the Manic Street Preachers on December 10th came through today. Okay so far, so good but the reason I’m almost levitating is because it is one of 7 UK gigs for the 20th anniversary of their bleakest, most powerful LP The Holy Bible. It’s really bizarre to think that I am going to see the 20th anniversary tour of a tour I saw the first time around, but the Manics and I have history.
Partly fuelled by the fact that they’re Welsh, but mostly by the fact that they were an angry, hyperactive, hyper-intelligent, hyper-sensitive antidote to the bulk of the dour British music scene at the time* most of whom seemed to be contented to be small-time grunting dullards, I quickly learned to love this band. I first saw them on the day their first LP, Generation Terrorists, was released and going to see them at Leeds Poly was (the future) Mrs 1537 and my second, or third date. In the intervening 22 years, we’ve grown, they’ve grown – we haven’t seen eye-to-eye with them all the time on wax, but it doesn’t matter they’re always a warm, classy live act and we always go and see them as long as the venue isn’t too big – they’re part of our history as a couple and when I see them on the 10th they’ll overtake AC/DC as the band I’ve seen live the most. They mean a lot to me.
I saw them supporting The Holy Bible at Leeds Town & Country Club on October 16th 1994, it was a tough time for me, I wasn’t happy – stuck in a crap job, earning peanuts, living a long way away from my beloved. The coruscating bile of The Holy Bible really struck a chord with me then. My brother came up to stay with me and see the gig and I have happy memories of doing that with him, despite injuring my hand punching a stage diver, hard, during the third track! It was intense as hell, the band all decked out in camo and fatigues, playing coldly and intensely with none of the bonhomie you get with them these days. We knew things weren’t right with them and in particular guitarist Richey Richards, who looked fragile but determined all night; little did we guess what was about to happen.
This time it’s all a bit different, I’m less alienated than I was** but still feel the need for some occasional caustic in my life, the Albert Hall in Manchester is a beautiful old chapel newly converted into a music venue, I’m waiting delivery of a lovely box set edition of LP, the ticket cost me £27 more than it did in 1994, I’ve booked the day after the gig off to rest up (and write-up) and neither Richey, or my brother is with us any more. I’ll still punch anyone who comes over my head boots first though.
477 Down (Still)
*well, the guitar driven bits of it at least.
**although I still have my moments, like all good 42 year-old teenagers do.