I may have mentioned once or twice that the Manic Street Preachers are my favourite band and have been since I was 13-years-old. As a result of this long and slightly obsessive relationship, I have over the years accumulated rather a lot of Manics related stuff.
After months of teasing fans with hints of a Holy Bible 20th anniversary tour, the Manics finally got around to announcing a string of December dates last month. With just a few gigs planned though, I knew it would be a mad scramble to get tickets and ended up hardly sleeping the night before they went on sale because I was so worried I would miss out. I can't tell you how many times I thanked fuck when Dan said he'd managed to get us a pair for our preferred date - Manchester 11th December - especially since so many people missed out.
But once the tickets were secured, my thoughts immediately turned to what to wear. This is always a concern for Manics gigs, because occasionally I've gone in my standard gig uniform of jeans and a band t-shirt and have felt somewhat under dressed. So this time, what with it being a special gig n all, I figured I would dig out some of my old Manics gig wear and get dressed up.
For many years the majority of my Manics stuff has been stashed at my parents house, because my house is so full of CDs, records and books that I just don't have room for all the crap I have hoarded over the years. I put aside a Sunday afternoon to dig it out and discovered that there was loads of stuff I'd forgotten I had. I also found that even after all these years everything is still covered in feathers, despite having chucked out the old feather boas years ago. Anyway, I had so much fun trawling through it all that I figured other Manics fans might want to take a look too. So this is part one of my 'what's in the box?' Manics Monday.
This is the box that contains a lot of my Manics junk. I've kept all sorts of stuff, such as books, tapes, videos (even though I have nothing to play them on...), magazine clippings, postcards, posters, calendars (!), clothes and accessories. I've also got a separate box of Manics zines, while my CDs and records have always live in my front room along with all my other music.
Since I'm currently working on my Holy Bible 20th anniversary tour outfit, I'll start with clothing. Clothes were always an important part of Manics fandom, with many people styling themselves on the 'Generation Terrorists' look - white jeans and spray painted blouses - and the sheer amount of glitter, feathers and leopard print you'd see on display at gigs made us the best looking bunch of fans around. In fact, other than My Chemical Romance's black parade look, I don't think there has been a gang of distinctive music fans since.
Channelling the Manics and Bikini Kill in one shimmery, spray painted hit
What you can't really tell from this picture is how filthy this shirt is. I only wore it to that one gig, but it is covered in make-up and feathers. Also, I'm pleased to say the skinny white jeans were ditched a long time ago. These days you can choose what style and colour you want your jeans to be, but it was actually really hard to find skinny white jeans in the mid to late 90s. In fact, the only ones I could find were baggy, so I ended up getting my mum to take the legs in for me so they were tight fitting. Thanks mum.
This spray painted skirt was my favourite item of Manics inspired clothing and was the reason I dug the box out in the first place. I was hoping that I could wear it for the Holy Bible gig, but while I can still (just) squeeze into it, it is tiny on the waist. It's a Topshop number that was another charity shop bargain. I loved this skirt so much that it wasn't just reserved for gig wear, I actually used to wear it all the time. I even wore it on my very last day at school, teamed with some rather fetching stripy tights. In a sea of boring, identically dressed teenagers, I did stand out somewhat. I also wore it to see the Manics at V99 in Staffordshire, which was an awesome show.
The arse view...
I also had a few official t-shirts. This is my favourite one because of its glittery silver print and the slogan on the back...
I used to wear this to school all the time.
As you can imagine, it didn't make me too popular with the other kids.
Other t-shirts in my collection included a dark blue 'Everything Must Go' era 'Violence for Equality' shirt and a 'Too Many Festivals' shirt that I got from V99. I had given up wearing these long ago as they were both way too big for me, so last year I chopped them up - eek - and added them to a band t-shirt patchwork quilt I was making. I did worry that I would regret it, but actually it means that they are used and loved once again instead of sitting in a box and not being used.
I was disappointed to find that there was one particular item missing from the box that I thought would come in handy for the gig. I used to have an over-sized green army shirt, one of those with the German flags on the sleeves, that I'd spray painted 'Clash city rocker' on the back of. I don't remember chucking it away and would be surprised if I had got rid of it, because I rarely get rid of anything, so I'm a bit gutted it's gone walk about.
So after all that, the only things I've found that I can actually wear to the Holy Bible gig are some badges and some dog tags, which aren't going to cover much. Luckily during a recent trip to Manchester I did find time for some army surplus shopping and picked up a rather awesome burgundy beret and green camo t-shirt. Now all I need to do is decide on which lyric to stencil on the t-shirt...