“Big Jock Knew”
Richard “Richey” Edwards (born 22 December 1967) was a guitarist and chief lyricist with Welsh rock band the Manic Street Preachers. He is noted for his Eddie Van Halen-esque guitar playing, ferociously right-wing opinions and for mysteriously vanishing as soon as his band started selling records.
The Early Years
Richard was born in the Welsh mining village of Blackwood. His parents, (probably a dirty miner and a dirty miner’s wife) didn’t have much time for Richard, instead they lavished praise on his sister Rachel’s achievements. From on early age this gave him the belief that nobody helps you in this life and only individual effort will increase ones status. Richard’s views were retarded during the miners' strike of 1983. During an interview with The Spectator magazine in 1991, he denounced the miners as work-shy communist fuckwits” who should have gone back to work and allowed the police to do something much more productive, “like rounding up murderers and immigrants”.
Richard had an unhappy school life. His academic ability was hindered by his suffering from anterograde amnesia (like that guy in Memento). In a fit of desperation the night before his Biology exam, Richard attempted to cheat by cutting the names of parts oh his anatomy into his skin. He got an E “for Effort”. He was also unhappy with the compulsory Welsh lessons at his school, which he felt undermined the cultural homegeony of Britain and which was, “not so much a language, more a throat infection".
Despite his dislike of state handouts, Richard was more than happy to accept free higher education when he completed a degree in Business Studies. He only managed to get a 3rd, probably because no lecturer would read his dissertation, "The Economic Advantages of Micro-Managed Slavery". Jobless and penniless upon leaving university and determined never to claim unemployment benefits “like some lazy, drugged-up hippie”, Richard persuaded school bully James “The Dean” Bradfield to let him join his new “pop band” by plying him with cans of Special Brew, cigarettes and his gay porn stash (Bradfield wasn’t old enough to buy them himself). With Nicky “Beanpole” Wire and “Li’l” Sean Moore, the four formed the Manic Street Preachers. Although Richard couldn’t actually sing or play any instruments, Bradfield agreed to play his guitar for him on all their songs in exchange for beer, lyrics and changing his name to Richey. Richard thought his new “chummy” nickname made him “sound like a ponce” but Bradfield insisted, saying, “the kids will fucking love it, boyo!”.
The Manic Street Preachers
Richey wrote most of the lyrics to the band’s first album Generation Terrorists which was a commercial flop, selling only 83 copies, mostly to the band’s friends and family, and was universally critically derided as an apotheosis of big haired stadium rock’s vulgarity and mysogyny. The track “You Love It, Bitch!” documented Richey’s advice on how to treat your woman and “Mototrcycle Madness” told of Richey’s love of fast motorbikes and his admiration for Jeremy Clarkson. Other songs documented his political concerns: “Slash ‘N’ Burn” discusses how to deal with overstaffed corporations and bullying trade unions, while “Little Whingeing Skanks”, a duet between Bradfield and former porn star turned Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips, told of how all feminists were just dirty lesbians who didn’t shave their armpits and were allergic to deoderant.
The band began creating something of a media storm offstage, largely due to Richey’s outspoken opinions when giving interviews concerning politics and the rest of the band. In an interview with The Sun Richey called band leader Bradfield “politically suspect” and “an alkie”, and said that Beanpole Wire’s penchant for wearing women’s clothes made him look like a “flaming nancy boy”. When asked about Li’l Sean, Richey could only reply “Which one’s he? The drummer? He’s a bit shy, I don’t really know him. I know he’s a bit of a wimp. Once, we had the amps turned up too loud and he pissed all over his drum riser.”.
Second album Give Me Gold Not Soul sold a few more copies than the first and the band were booked to play their first major live gigs: playing to primary school kids in South Wales. All the gigs were cancelled however, after Richey let slip to a local news reporter that he didn’t think cross-dresser Beanpole Wire “could be trusted with the little ones”. The album spawned one minor hit, the unashamedly right-wing " La Tristesse Durera" (The Sadness Will Last), which described Richey's despair at the state of modern society and expressed his yearning for a return to the days when "women behaved like women" and "those dark fellows knew their place".
In January 1994 Richey was robbed at gunpoint by an Asian taxidriver. This further radicalised his rabidly right-wing beliefs resulting in the bleak and violent lyrics for the Manic’s third album The Holy Qur'an. The title was an ironic swipe at what he felt was the sweeping away of Britain’s Christian heritage by “asiatic” immigrant influences. “She Is Suffering” refers to a Britain over-run by dark skinned, drug dealing foreigners, “The Intense Humming of Bullshit” deconstructed the “myth” of the Holocaust and Richey touched upon American politics in the polemical “IfWhiteAmericaHadAnyBloodySenseThey’dSendAllThoseUppityBlackChapsBackToAfricaBeforeTheyTearTheirSocietyApart”. But it was the controversial “Live in the Wintertime” which caused the biggest stir within the band. Li’l Sean and the Beanpole refused to have any part of it due to the perceived racism of such lines as “I want to live, live in the wintertime/Because that’s when the Darkies hibernate”. Richey eventually persuaded Bradfield to sing it by bribing him with Jack Daniels and 200 Rothmans.
Another critical flop, the album was nonetheless a shock commercial success. This was mainly because the British National Party decided to use the album as an audio manifesto and bulk ordered several thousand copies. Briefly elated at the influx of real money, Richey quickly sank back into a deep depression at the realisation that the Labour Party were probably going to win the next general election and tax it all away from him. He cut off all contact with his fellow band members and would only communicate with the outside world through the Daily Mail letters page.
His whereabouts uncertain, a letter from Richey dated February 01 1995 was received at the residence of Lady Margaret Thatcher. The letter begged her to reclaim the leadership of the Conservative Party and “save Britain from those awful socialists who are plotting its downfall”. Lady Thatcher did not reply.
Heartbroken and facing destitution, Richey drove to the Bristol end of the Severn Bridge, stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator - and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is HAL, a semi-sentient supercomputer observer from his own time that only Richey can see and hear. And so Richey finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap... will be the leap home.
Rumour has it he is currently occupying the body of Danielle Lloyd and attempting to turn her life around by writing her first pop song, “Me Best Mate’s a Blackie (Honest)”.
Meanwhile, his fellow band members continued without him, releasing their fourth album Richey Must Go in February 1996. The album utilised Richey’s lyrics in several songs – “A Design for Life” is a positive discussion of eugenics and “Enola/Alone” is a lament to the Enola Gay, Richey’s favourite aeroplane. The bands latest album entitled "Journal for Hague Lovers" was constructed with letters left over by Richey declaring his love for once Tory party leader William Hague. Furthermore it featured artwork also left by Richey which was described on The Culture Show as being "not abstract or unintelligible enough." The album was largely praised for being the first Manics album featuring Richey's lyrics to actually make sense.
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