BA Politics. Class of 1990. Writer. Rockstar. Activist. Bassist.
Nicky is the lyricist and bassist with the rock band Manic Street Preachers. The band formed in 1986 and went on to achieve critical and commercial success. Over the years they have won eleven NME awards, eight Q awards, four BRIT awards and have been nominated for the Mercury Music prize in 1996 and 1999.
How did you end up at Swansea University?
My estimated grades were poor so I accepted a place in Portsmouth Polytechnic but I actually got 2 A’s and a B in my A Levels so I went to Portsmouth for 4 weeks but missed Wales too much. My brother had gone to Swansea and loved it, so I managed to swap and go to there.
What are your favourite memories from your time at Swansea?
The beach - the Mumbles - Shipley’s amusement arcade - Sketty Lane chip shop - Cinderella’s night club - Swansea Market - Derricks Music - John Ham guitar shop- the Kardomah Café - Clyne gardens - a lot of walking - good friends
You graduated with a degree in politics. Has that influenced your music?
My politics degree had a big influence on my lyrics. It gave me a point of reference and a point of analysis for my writing.
Your writing is littered with literary references. Which writers have influenced you the most and why?
R.S Thomas - Dylan Thomas - Albert Camu - Susan Sontag - Greil Marcus - Sylvia Plath - P.Larkin - the lyrics of Chuck D - Bob Dylan- the list is endless
If you hadn’t become a rock ‘n’ roll star. What do you think you would have done?
I would probably have become a Civil Servant or political advisor. Perhaps a journalist or maybe a cleaner.
"Swansea holds many vivid emotional memories for me and it’s always a joy to go back."
You played a gig in Swansea Uni in Oct 1990. What was it like playing a gig in the place you had just graduated from?
It was great to play back in Swansea but even better when we played the Liberty Stadium in 2016. Swansea holds many vivid emotional memories for me and it’s always a joy to go back.