One of the best things about The Manics (the best thing, according to Nicky Wire in our new interview, online here) is the effect they have on their fans.
What other band would convince someone like me, someone with little musical discrimination, no artistic sense and very little interest in marketing and selling and money, to write, lay out, promote and sell a fanzine? Not only that, but then to go on and launch a record label, put on regular gigs and host a huge website (this one!). And then to keep me inspired and excited by rock'n'roll, and appalled and angry at the way the world is, well beyond the age it is expected that one should give up such youthful follies?
What other band indeed?
It could only be the Manic Street Preachers.
It is in this spirit that we welcome a new Manics fanzine, 'Stay Beautiful'.
I don't know what Grace was like before she found the Manics, but I doubt she was involved in writing, laying out and producing a paper fanzine stuffed with views, pix, badgers and reviews of our heroes, nor that she was involved with the wider Manics community or that she was inundated with e-mails from readers demanding that she interview the band. I doubt that she was writing lyrics either, some of which she has sent on (with apparently encouraging results) to James Dean Bradfield.
For that is the creative metamorphosis that the Manic Street Preachers inspires in people.
This fanzine provided me with no little pleasure and a lot of amusement. For the record it has interviews with Patrick Jones, Shari Black Velvet and someone from Spillers Records. Also quite a lot of badger references! But better still, it reminded me why I love the Manics so much - because they transform people from passive consumers into active creators.
And that's the best way to Stay Beautiful.