Manic Street Preachers

Diary: Manic street preaching

Do the members of the strident Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers volunteer their political insights in interviews, or do their interlocutors feel obliged to request them? Earlier this month lead singer James Dean Bradfield gave his considered opinion on the Coalition, specifically the "disingenuous snakeyness" of Deputy PM Nick Clegg, to Wales on Sunday (you'd almost think he had a new album to promote). His bandmate Nicky Wire chimed in: "Surely someone must be inspired to say what a [dreadful fellow] Nick Clegg is? He is the David Brent of [ahem] politics. He's like a bad motivational speaker." Now, Wire expounds upon the mental state of former PM Tony Blair, to "You just see something in Tony Blair's eyes and you just know he's forever broken," said the bassist, speculating on Blair's guilt about the Iraq war. "You can see it in his eyes. A shell of a man, really." Wire admitted he hadn't actually read the great man's memoir, A Journey, because he "[doesn't] like hardbacks, really."

Album: Manic Street Preachers, Postcards From a Young Man, Columbia

According to the rock-band cliché: "We just make music to please ourselves and if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus." For the Manic Street Preachers, that sort of talk has always been an unforgivable, bourgeois conceit. If you've got something worth saying, you want it to be heard by the maximum number of people. That, at least, is half the story.

Party Of The Week: A night of pop art for Rankin and friends

The singer Joss Stone, Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, magazine editor Jefferson Hack and My Summer of Love actress Natalie Press were out in force on Monday night for the private view of Rankin's exhibition Destroy at London's Phillips de Pury Gallery.

Hit & Run: Where’s our Jon Stewart?

Who said satire was dead? In the US, at least, plenty did. Once President Bush left office, they argued, political comedy would be moribund, irrelevant – specifically that scourge of the Bush administration, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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