I listened to the Manic Street Preachers' cd "Everything Must Go" this morning for the first time in about ten years. What happened to them, I wonder? A truly great band, perhaps the greatest of the late Nineties, and certainly my own favourite back then. How we need their intelligence, their commitment to something other than their own haircuts, now.
It's a ridiculously obvious observation that music opens the door to old feelings. But I will make it anyway. When the cd was playing, it was as as if '96 or '97 had blown in through the open window and set up again in my living room. And that wasn't an especially comfortable sensation.
Richey Edwards disappeared around the time my mother got cancer. "Everything Must Go", their immense, valedictory, first post-Richey album, came out either just before or just after my mother died (the chronology is jumbled, maybe not surprisingly, in my mind). And the songs provided the soundtrack to the stunned, immobilised year or two that followed her death, as well as the beginning of the slide of my housemate (who I've spoken of before), into a madness that nearly destroyed us both. (You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not.)
It wasn't a time I remember with much easy nostalgia. So I may not be playing the Manic's cd all that often, as magnificent as it is. Doing so would be extremely masochistic and self-indulgent, like cutting yourself to see what colour your blood is.
It's red, fool. Vivid red, and let free it runs like an angry river.