Just a quick post- yesterday (February 1st) marked the 17th anniversary of the disappearance of Richey Edwards- guitarist and chief songwriter of one of my favourite bands, Manic Street Preachers.
On the 1st February 1995, he checked out of the Embassy Hotel in London and was never seen again- he was due to fly out to America that day with bandmate James Dean Bradfield in order to tour the States with their 3rd album, The Holy Bible, which is still one of the most bleak, nihilistic albums in British pop music history.
Edwards had many problems with depression, anorexia nervosa and alcoholism, and often self harmed- in a famous incident, he calmly carved ‘4 REAL’ into his arm using a straight razor while giving an interview to Steve Lamacq. During 1994, he had been sent to several health farms and clinics, while the band honoured tour and festival dates as a 3-piece- a sign of things to come.
While writing and recording songs that would eventually make their way (albeit vastly changed) onto the next album, Richey began withdrawing money from his bank account- £200 a day for 2 weeks. Then he vanished.
Over the next few days, various sightings of Edwards were taken by police and to the band- he had been spotted in Newport, Wales- first at the bus station, then at the passport office. On the 14th, his car arrives at the Aust service station, on the banks of the River Severn- a well-known suicide hotspot- which is found abadoned 3 days later. This is the last known whereabouts of him- reports from Goa, Tenerife and various other places are noted, but none are particularly credible.
The Manics soldiered on, releasing Everything Must Go in 1995 to critical and commercial acclaim, which contained some of Richey’s lyrics. The band have since gone from strength to strength, selling out arena tours, sweeping the Brit Awards and playing a show with Fidel Castro in attendance. However, in 2009, Journal For Plague Lovers was released- which contained the last words left by Edwards.
And that, it seems, is that.
17 years on, we still miss you.
There are two books which are very interesting reads- one, ‘Everything: A Book About Manic Street Preachers’ by Simon Price, is an in-depth explanation into the inner workings of a man, and by extension a band, in turmoil. The other (which I prefer), is a semi-fictionalised account. ‘Richard’ by Ben Myers is a fictionalised account from Richey’s own head- with the various events leading up to his disappearance, and the aftermath. I found it quite hard to read- I knew which events certain parts were leading up to, like a downward spiral. However, as a novel, it is fantastic. I strongly recommend it.
That’s all for now- I know I promised doodles and nonsense, but I felt it would be inappropriate for this. I shall return soon, with the aforementioned doodles and nonsense.