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Following on from my post about what makes the Manics so great, I’m dedicating a whole post to their bassist and most outspoken member, because he’s someone I admire greatly and who has been a big influence in my life this past 10 months or so.
His lyrics. Well, he’s made a few lyrical misfires, but he’s had a lot of time to do that. His non-political introspective lyrics are probably his best. Wire can describe a feeling or a mood almost perfectly.
His big mouth. Let’s be honest, he comes out with some absolute shite sometimes. But he doesn’t really care, he just says it anyway, even though he knows he might regret it later (e.g. the Michael Stipe incident). He’s like one of us; he makes mistakes and makes them publicly and it makes him seem even more human. It’s part of the reason why I admire him.
His openness in his admiration for women. Or rather the way he is about gender in general. He’s a man. He’s a straight man. Yet he wears womens’ clothes and make-up and glittery accessories. That confuses some people, which he finds hilarious. He admits to spending time watching his mother apply make-up and trying on her dresses as a teenager. He’s very open and honest when it comes to gender-related issues - Born a Girl is the best example of that. He doesn’t care if people think he looks ridiculous when he’s wearing womens’ clothes and make-up because it’s what he wants to do and as a result he’s just fantastically ridiculous in the best way possible.
He’s opinionated. You might not always agree with what he has to say, but at least he nearly always has something to say. Which is more than you can say for a lot of celebrities at the moment.
He’s got a politics degree. Didn’t you know? Bet you didn’t. He tends to keep it quiet. And he also loves hoovering. He keeps that one quiet as well.
He’s just a hilarious man. Want an example? Watch him on Something For the Weekend trying to stuff a turkey breast with garlic butter or skipping on stage at the 1999 Brit Awards in a leopard print dress, or watch his acceptance speech at the 2008 NME Awards (although he was pretty drunk then). Surely you’ll laugh. And he’s even funnier when drunk as the above example and the videos from his solo tour show.
He killed the zeitgeist. Well, alright, the solo album’s only really known by those within the Manics fan community, and people either seem to hate it with a passion or love it. Personally, I think it has a lovely ragged charm to it. The man can’t sing but his voice works really well in the songs on IKTZ and whenever he’s taken over the lead vocals on a Manics track.
The energy he’ll expend during a live performance. He’s got dodgy knees and dodgy back yet he’ll never stand still on stage.
His smile. Look at a photo of him smiling and try to tell me that that doesn’t make you feel even slightly happier. You’re lying if you do.
He’s not the most skilled musician ever but it doesn’t matter. That’s not the point of Nicky Wire. And besides, he’s very self-deprecating with this - he’s a much better bassist than he gives himself credit for. And he’s started to help James out by composing a few of the Manics’ songs recently.
This article, about the proposed closure of some libraries in the UK to save the government money. I think this needs a mention and I have nothing more to say other than JUST READ IT.
I find it hard to put into words exactly why I love Nicky Wire so much and I don’t think I’ve done it particularly well here, but I’ve tried my best. Quite simply, the man is fantastic. There’s no-one else quite like him around, just like there’s no other band quite like the Manics around. And I love him all the more for it.