Manics' 'Humble' Library Opening - BBC News, 18th June 2009
The Manic Street Preachers have unveiled a plaque with the words to the opening line of their Design for Life hit at a city library opening. The band's "libraries gave us power" lyric has been inscribed on the plaque at Cardiff's new £15m library. Bassist Nicky Wire explained the 1996 single was inspired by a similar phrase over another south Wales' library door. He said they did not usually open libraries but it was a "good and humble and non rock n' roll kind of thing." The band was treated to a rendition of A Design for Life by the Cardiff Arms Park Male Voice Choir which Wire described as "spine tingling". He said the song had only ever been sung to him by drunk fans at concerts.
The Manic Street Preachers offically open Cardiff Library
Wire also described how the single came to be written, their first after the still unsolved disappearance of band mate Richey Edwards. "It's a long time ago now," he said. "The song Design for Life was inspired by George Orwell. At the time I was reading a lot of George Orwell and my wife was working in the libraries of Newport. "I think it's at Pill library, over the door it just says "knowledge is power" and it was just a question of putting the two together. "The song was about Welsh working class culture and everything seemed to fit." Wire also said libraries played an intrinsic role in his and the other band members' youth in Wales, contributing greatly to what they became as a band. Nicky Wire Nicky Wire still visits libraries with his daughter "I used to do a lot of revision in Blackwood Library for my O Levels and A levels and my mum always used to go there. To have a facility of this magnitude in Wales, in Cardiff, is just brilliant." He said he still visits libraries in Wales with his daughter and does not mind being recognised. "It's always a pleasure, never anything bad. To be still getting recognised at my age you have to be thankful." Rodney Berman, Cardiff council leader, said the Design for Life inscription was fitting for the new Cardiff library, home to more than 90,000 books. As well as state-of the art listening pods, the library also has a baby grand piano which the public can have a go at playing. The five storey building is the city's most sustainable one and has already proved to be a hit with thousands of visitors since it opened to the public in March. Mr Berman said: "The opening line of A Design for Life seemed to us to perfectly sum up the ethos of the new library."