So Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers has been declared legally dead. I’m saddened at this but understand it’s probably the right decision. This erudite and talented musician left his car near the Severn Bridge in 1995 and hasn’t been seen since.
I grew up a hardcore Manics fan and have the self-inflicted scars to prove it. One of the best gigs I saw was the Manics, post-Richey, at the Manchester Nynex (is it still the Nynex?) I liked to think that Richey had holed himself up in a cottage somewhere with a load of books. That’s because I think suicide is a pointless and destructive act, both for the person in question and for their loved ones. Certainly there is a loss of potential – I think that Richey could have emerged as a first-rate poet or novelist when the Manics finally broke up. Not to mention the peace and fulfillment he would have almost certainly found in the end.
I am sorry that Richey was not around to share in the success the band finally enjoyed (or to advise them against some of the sillier stunts – what the fuck was that Cuba gig about?) Still, this sick and tormented man leaves behind a body of work that shames most living and dead musicians. As Nicky Wire said, he was the greatest lyricist of his generation.