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"I Can Remember Hearing Alex Turner Slag Off Take That And Nearly Losing It. I Went To Stand Up And James Grabbed Me By The Arm..." - The Western Mail, 20th August 2009

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Byline: Nathan Bevan ; Andrew Dagnell

THEY'RE angst-ridden, emotionally-wrought musically and lyrically heavy.

But even card-carrying Generation Terrorists need a day off once in a while.

Which is why Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire has shown no shame in revealing to fans his greatest guilty pleasure - he secretly loves Take That.

"That Gary Barlow is a genius, I won't have anyone argue against him," said the 40-year-old bassist of the Blackwood band, whose own albums have previously trawled the thematic depths of everything from suicide to Sartre, consumerism to Nazism.

"That single of theirs, Patience, is the greatest comeback single in history, and that's not an ironic choice," he added, referencing the tune which saw the long-split Brit boy-band's return to the showbiz spotlight.

"Now, if Neil Young had written it, people would be calling it a masterpiece.

"Those words, 'My heart is numb, has no feeling/So while I'm still healing/Just try and have a little patience', they're just so dark," said Wire.

"There's also a maturity about it that suits the boys all grown-up."

The cerebral rocker also revealed the occasion when he had to be physically restrained from lashing out at the singer of indie upstarts Arctic Monkeys when he took a pop at his beloved pet band from the podium at an awards bash in 2006.

"I can remember hearing Alex Turner slag off Take That and nearly losing it," he laughed.

"I went to stand up and James (Dean Bradfield, the Manics' front man) grabbed me by the arm, saying, 'Don't Nicky, keep it together'."

And Wire recently claimed that after recording Journal For Plague Lovers - the Manics recent emotional tribute to tragic late guitarist Richey Edwards - the trio's next outing would be a more playful-sounding mix of heavy metal-meets-Motown.

But he still deferred to the blond ivory-tinkler Barlow's superior song-writing skills.

"You get so many alternative bands banging on about how to make perfect pop, but he kicks all their a****," said Wire.

Pop critic Simon Price, who is also the Manic Street Preachers' biographer, said there may be more similarities between the Welsh rockers and Take That than may at first be apparent.

He told the Western Mail: "I think the Manics had a lot more in common with Take That than people might realise.

"In the early '90s when Take That were writhing around in their leather trousers and baring their chests, the Manics were doing something similar.

"If you look at Richey and Nicky, they were wearing tight white jeans and baring their chests too - what they were doing wasn't actually that dissimilar. They always understood the value of a pretty boy in pop music.

"And there are similarities in terms of their lyrics. If you think of the Take That lyric 'a fist of pure emotion' [from charttopper Back For Good], it sounds like something you can almost imagine coming from a Manics song.

"I think the Manics definitely understand the power of a pop song and they've proved themselves very, very skilled at writing them. I'm sure they can recognise that Take That can do that as well."

My guilty pleasures Max Boyce - Sex Pistols, Never Mind The B * * * * * * ! "I had this TV show in the '70s and had to write a joking punk song for one of the sketches.

"So I called my group Johnny Mildew And The Scum and went out and bought a load of LPs by those sorts of bands - purely for research, mind.

"Not long after I'd done that, I played a gig at this club in Stoke, only to find Johnny Rotten and the boys had played there the night before me.

"You should have seen the state of the dressing rooms - they'd even knocked through the stud wall into the next room."

Opera singer Shn Cothi - Def Leppard, Hysteria "I was a big Def Leppard fan and have most of their albums.

"Pour Some Sugar On Me - that's a song title by the way, not a request.

"I was also in the Adam Ant fan club and loved George Michael's Careless Whisper - his naff highlights in the video will stay with me for all time.

"I was also in a girl band called Cwlwm with the Minister for Rural Affairs Elen Jones. We were a close harmony group, a sort of pre-Spice Girls."

Singer and songwriter Steve Balsamo - Boston, More Than A Feeling "People talk about this track being a guilty pleasure, but it's such a brilliant song.

"The singing is outrageous - and I think it's one of the best rock songs of all time.

"I believe that if a song moves you and makes you want to dance or makes you want to cry, that's what music is designed for.

"There shouldn't be any feelings of guilt attached to enjoying a song, even if it's cheesy."

Former Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable - Stevie Wonder, Superstition "Stevie Wonder is a massively talented man. Some of things he describes in his lyrics are incredible considering he's blind.

"He talks about stuff that most people in this world who could see wouldn't be able to write about.

"He's a musician who does everything - in his early music he would play all the instruments.

"I don't think he's too much of a guilty pleasure though, simply because he's so talented."