Your first ever show on your own - how did it feel?
"I did feel wracked with nerves at the start. And quite aware that if I was gonna jump up and down I was gonna knock myself out on that beam, so I didn't have my usual moves. I usually start with a hop, skip and a jump, go up in the air and that gives me like centrifugal force to spin around. But I couldn't, 'cos I would have fucking knocked myself out in a Spinal Tap manner. But apart from that, it was actually very emotional towards a lot of Manics fans here, despite the disparaging way in which they convey themselves - it's warm and really witty. It actually makes you look back in a proper way and makes you wanna reward them for staying with you. You do feel like you wanna give something back to them. I can't actually believe how long they've been with us now, and a lot of the same ones as well."
You played 'Sleepflower'!
"Of course, yeah, because it doesn't cost much to be polite does it? If somebody asks for something you've just got to play a little bit. Jesus Christ what a magnanimous fucking creep!"
Does it feel weird without Nick and Sean beside you?
"I think this process would be much harder for me if this was the only thing I was doing at the moment. No matter how artistically fulfilled you're gonna be doing this album, and no matter how happy you are with it, it's still gonna feel as if you've left home, kind of thing. The Manics is the home, it's the hearth and it's the fire. This does feel like a holiday, and I'm so glad that
we've nearly done the Manics album 'cos it's given me a perspective. It really is true. Every time I go and listen to Nick's new songs I think our next album's gonna be so brilliant 'cos we've managed to free ourselves again, and we've managed to evolve."