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Manic Terrace Preacher - Daily Mirror, 27th February 1999

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Title: Manic Terrace Preacher
Publication: Daily Mirror
Date: Saturday 27th February 1999
Writer: Richard Smith


£2M Nicky is at home in his miner’s cottage.

He may not look like a man who's made nearly £2million in the past year - and he certainly doesn't live like one. This is Manic Street Preacher Nicky Wire's idea of a home fit for a pop idol, a three-bedroom terrace in a row of coal miners' cottages built in 1907.

It's a world away from the traditional pop star hideout - the country mansion in rolling acres with obligatory swimming pool. But the bass guitarist, whose hit band picked up two Brit Awards last week, insists on staying true to his working class roots.

Instead of massive manicured grounds, the former punk rocker's modest abode has a front lawn too small for a stage and a back garden which is jammed up against a Welsh mountainside.

The only visible sign of wealth is a silver Audi parked outside - still a modest vehicle by pop's extravagant standards.

The terrace was originally built for local pit workers. An almost identical house two doors away is currently on the market for £49,995.

And the only difference between 30-year-old Nicky's home and his neighbours - a shop fitter, two pensioners, warehouse manager and trainee caterer - is a discreet wall lamp outside the front door.

But the mascara-wearing star and wife Rachel have no plans to sell up and leave the cottage they bought five years ago. "It's my home and that's why I like it," he said yesterday. "I'm not going to move away."

The Manics were voted Best Group at the Brits and picked up a second award for their platinum selling album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

They've always been proud of their Welsh heritage and Nicky has talked of entering politics.

He even wrote to Tony Blair applying for a job after Welsh Secretary Ron Davies resigned in disgrace and revealed: "I'd be interested in standing as a candidate for the Welsh Assembly. "I'd like to be minister for sport and culture."

Neighbours in Brynawel village - a high unemployment area in Gwent - have nothing but praise for their most famous resident.

Local children often join Nicky, who writes the group's lyrics, when he walks the couple's black labrador Molly on Mynyddislwyn mountain. "He's not a god, he's just a neighbour," said father-of-five Peter Rawcliffe, 36.

"When the kids follow Nicky and his dog up the mountain he never says 'Get away from me, you scruffy little urchins'.

"He talks to them. They go round to his house to get records autographed for their cousins but he doesn't mind.

"So many people sell out when they find success. But he feels part of the community and is greatly concerned with the social issues."

Nicky went to school in nearby Blackwood, where he became pals with singer James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore.

They formed the band in 1988 and are still paying royalties into the bank account of fourth Manic Richey Edwards, who vanished four years ago.

Nicky's next-door neighbour, retired engineering worker Arthur Fisher, 78, said: "Nicky is a very quiet, shy man. He is the perfect neighbour - I never hear a sound."

"Rachel's brother lives two doors away here and her family are from down the road. They have been very kind giving us tickets for the group's concerts so we can raise money for the RSPCA."

The next three-bedroom terrace in the street has been put up for sale by shop fitter Stephen Palmer and his factory worker wife Kay.

They fancy a bigger place up the road, unlike their big-time neighbour. Kay, 37, said: "We don't think of him as millionaire rock star.

"He's just an ordinary boy, no different to anybody else.