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Off The Record - Rock Sound, December 1999

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Marti Zimlin talks about fashion, vanity, cheese and the Stereophonics with Manics hero Nicky Wire.

What was the last thing you bought at a chemist and how did you use it? Hair mascara. It's fantastic! I like the stuff from Boots. Number 17 is my favourite. It's really good.

Which four people would you invite to a dinner party? I would never consider doing that to anyone. There's no one I would want to invite. I would just get my mom and dad down.

What would you cook for them? Fry up some fish and chips. Who's that American woman who does all that kinda stuff? Martha Stewart? She is fantastic!

What was the last lie you told? I told several today actually. To say how happy I am to be in America and that we are really gonna give it a good shot. But all I really want to do is go home. I swallowed a bit of pride today. But it's a new record company. It's made a difference.

Which ABBA song would you most like to cover? Well there's a song by the band McCarthy called 'We Are All Bourgeoisie Now' which we are going to cover when we get a chance. ABBA? 'SOS' is my favourite ABBA song.

What's the most vindictive thing you've ever done? Maybe bagging on Billy Bragg and The Levellers in front of 60,000 people. The Levellers are incredibly bad. Billy Bragg isn't bad just a bit old now. I loved his first album and James learned to play guitar listening to it.

Do you believe in God? I don't know that I believe in God but I do believe that there should be a belief in God. Humanity is reaching an all time low and I don't think that we can pretend anymore that it's systems of government or capitalism or money. It's just that people are shit.

What will you do on the morning of Jan 1st 2000? Hopefully I will be waking up after doing the gig in Cardiff feeling really good. James will still be up, he'll still be drinking beer.

What was the worst job you had before you got famous? Well I never actually had a job. I did work at the Post Office at Christmas for two days but I was so horrible at it I had to get my dad to help me. It's the only job I have ever had.

What's your biggest fashion disaster? Red leather trousers on 'Gold Against The Soul'. I had them made and we'd been going through this stage of having people make us clothes and it never really works you know. I think we are more like a freak show now when I dress up because there's conservative James and then the psychopath on the left in a dress.

What was the last record you bought? I've been buying a lot of Captain Beefheart actually. I saw this documentary, but I'm more interested in his paintings. I also got the Chili Peppers record and the Moloko single.

You accidentally run over Kelly from Stereophonics. Do you a) go back and finish him off or b) take him to hospital? You take him to the hospital. That's evil! I know he said some stuff about us but that's OK. They've said some stuff but the press attacked them. They are still a bit naive I think but there's no hatred for the band, at least on our part. At T In The Park the night before I was lying in my bed and saw Kelly on the telly smashing a guitar, which I think was a copy. A �,000 guitar? It's not going to be real. I just got the bill for �,000 pounds for smashing all the lights and all the amps at V99.

What makes you cry? Dogs. Missing my dog. I have a black Labrador named Molly. When I left her she was all crumpled and had big eyes. I talk to her on the phone. I miss her.

How often do you look in the mirror each day? I am not as vain as I used to be. But I'd think anybody in a group would be lying if they said that. Well anyone full stop now cos everybody's vain aren't they? But there is a difference between true vanity and just looking at yourself.

Who was your worst enemy at school? Um, I managed to avoid any real enemies 'cos I was good at football. I was kind of feminine and had dodgy nicknames but I just managed to avoid it so I didn't really have any gigantic enemies. If you ask James I'm sure he had some. I was lucky.

Who would you like to play you in the film of your life? I'm trying to think of someone tall. Actors are not tall they're usually pretty short. Liam Neeson - no, he's too hard. I think Gary Oldman could do a good Richie. He can get into character like not many other people and he could probably do a good Welsh accent. He was a great Sid Vicious in 'Sid & Nancy'. The Pistols were shit except for Sid. Um... I do think about someone playing me and I can't really. I'm not your sort of stereotypical looking... (tails off)

What was the last thing you looked up on the Internet? Oh I don't go on the Internet. My wife does. She loves it. She looks at all the ice hockey stuff and Manics fan sites. She goes on every night and shows me the cool stuff she finds.

What is your favourite kind of cheese? I like good Cheddar, double Gloucester. I like English cheese a lot. Not so much the rich ones, the nice crisp simple ones. James and Sean like Stilton a lot. I tell you what I don't like; macaroni cheese. I don't like something that looks like a mush. I like Parmesan in Italy where they give you just big blocks of it.

What do you like least about America? I just find that it's the biggest facade of culture in the world. New York is much more real. The basis is that everything in America is done for a profit. That is something that scares me 'cos you can't do some things for a profit. Make a school have a profit?! There are also more guns than people in America. I can't deny that driving through America sometimes is an inspring experience and some of the music and TV. 'Larry Sandler', 'Frasier' and 'Ellen' are some of the greatest shows ever made. I loved 'Ellen'. When she came out in that scene at the end it was hysterical. I like America, it's just that people without any compassion scare me a bit. American rock's crap as well. The big problem in America is all the genre boundaries on radio. Rock can't be hip hop etc etc. But I like Busta Rhymes, I think he's a true entertainer. I have had my moments of Puff Daddy as a kinda Svengali entrepreneur. He is an incredibly talented man as a producer. I like TLC's new album a lot and Lauryn Hill is really good.

What's your current listening tastes? My favourite record so far is Travis. I bought it the day it came out. Badly Drawn Boy. Primal Scream. I think they are really going for it on an artistic level.