This week sees the fifth anniversary of Richey Edwards' disappearance. Here Are a few of the many tributes that have been sent to us by fans.
I was 17 and pregnant and, in a moment of utter despair, I decided to end it all with a bottle of paracetamol and Southern Comfort. I had an old tape deck which played tape after the other automatically. There was a long silence where one tape ended and the other seemed blank. I took a handful of tablets when suddenly the second tape kicked in. It was an interview with Richey I had recorded the week before. I sat and listened to Richey ranting and was so impressed by his intelligence that I finished the Southern Comfort listening to "Motorcycle Emptiness".
Richey Edwards truly saved my life.
I had entered happier times as a mum when he disappeared, and I felt as if I was grieving for a friend when it became clear he wasn't coming back. Richey and James and Sean and Nicky matter as much today as ever, and I have them to thank for reaching adulthood and being the almost-sane persom I am today.
I hope the power Richey had and still has to reach people is of some comfort to his family and the rest of the band.
He's my hero.
I think the tribute to Richey James (it's how he wanted to be know!), is a really good idea, a chance for fans to remember a very special person. But I think it should be remembered that fans is all we are and we never really knew him, unlike his friends and family, to whom I think this remembrance should be dedicated. To show them how much their friend, son, brother meant to so many people, how Richey managed to touch so many lives without even knowing them.
Richey James was one hell of an icon, who, in my lifetime at least, could never be replaced, but his family and friends have lost so much more, and I'm sure are hurting more than we could imagine.
So although to them I'm nobody, just another fan, I would like to send all my regards to the Edwards family and the Manics, also all my respect to Rachel Edwards, his sister, for not giving up hope, and again to the Manic Street Preachers for carrying on so brilliantly after such a loss.
And finally to all true Manics fans everywhere. Stay beautiful.
Kit Jones, Basildon
RICHEY Edwards - 4 Real, 4 Ever.
Gayle Hume, Coatbridge, Scotland
My recollection of Richey is back in 1993 - Sunday September 19, to be precise, when the Manics supported Bon Jovi at the Milton Keynes Bowl. I know it's not a gig that they fondly remember, but I sure do. It was at a time when the "Motorcycle Emptiness" video was popping up on television here and there, and I loved it the first time I saw it - I thought they looked and sounded great!
I arrived at the Bowl not knowing that the Manics were on until they took to the stage, and I was blown away by their performance and attitude. At the end, the drumkit and various other instruments were trashed, much to the horror of those around me! The crowd just completely ignored them onstage the whole way through their set, although I did hear a few "Oh I've heard this" comments when they played "Motorcycle Emptiness".
This was the first and only time I saw the band with Richey, but it was from that moment that I started to love them, and I've loved them ever since and will go on loving them. I feel very lucky to have seen Richey that day and his disappearance is a great loss.
Thanks, Manics, and thanks, Richey - wherever you are!
Julie Anne Simpson, Wokingham
I have dedicated this poem to the memory of Richey Edwards, whether he is still with us or whether he is in a better place, where he can eventually be happy.
And he has left us.
Yet, in his absence,
His presence is
And shall be
Stronger than ever.
For he is
And he is
Inside of us.
We, who witness
Of his flame
And were warmed
But its heat
We, who heard
Of his churchbell laughter
Ring the plains
Or starry downs
We, who stood
In the pure rain
Of his divine
And noble spirit
Are now its
Blessed, honoured keepers.
Within and through us
He shall live on
And our lives
Shall ever be enriched
Wonderous and untold
Sarah Lammas, Wester Super Mare
Whenever I imagine you I first look for your face,
How once I saw a feeling but now I see a space,
If I continue to wonder where you may stand now,
And you'll maybe come back some way or somehow,
When I picture your actions they were toy soul's intervention,
I knew they weren't just a cry for attention,
But attention was one thing you really deserved,
But people didn't listen they merely observed,
Richey I miss you and so does the earth,
And the name runaway loser is not what you're worth
Four small black flowers
Turn at their roots
One of these flower's petals
Blown away by the autumn breeze
No sunlight getting through to its roots
Trampled on by his own thoughts and imagination
Not a dead flower just a crushed flower
A flower that has been pressed and flattened
For far too long
Forever to be missed
Your being helps me through each day
Your words, mind, body and soul is as needed as water
Is to a drooping flower
Stay beautiful like yesterday's stars,
You're with us is not in person then in spirit
And you'll always belong
Clare Newell, Portsmouth
On February 1, every Manics fan everywhere is going to remember one very special man, Richey Edwards. Richey has not only made a huge impact on my life, but on the lives of a lot of others too. He has become a role model for thousands of people everywhere, and given them something to be about in their lives.
Richey is a very important person in my life. He's shown me that I'm not a freak, that there are others who feel the way I do, that I'm not alone. I've learnt that there are others who lock themselves in their rooms for hours on end and seek solace in the beauty and intelligence of Richey and the Manics' lyrics. My life was very bleak and empty until I discovered Richey. I've listened to "The Holy Bible" thousands of times now, and I'll never tire of it, because it's so passionate, dark and honest, all the things I love about Richey. He had a way of summing up everything that's shit in life and putting it into words, something I wish I could do. I find it very hard to express myself in such a way. I admire and love Richey for that, and always will.
So, on February 1, I will not only feel a great sadness that he is missing and away from us, but also a sense of hope. A hope that wherever he is now - be it Goa, the Canary Islands, wherever - I hope he is happy and finally feels some peace. I'm just so grateful that we were given the chance to know such a beautiful, inspiring person.
Hayley Elliot, Fife
Does this world still belong to you?
Or did you do what you had to do?<BR?
You want us to forgive, forget
Said that you were sorry, that you repent
You became out idol, the Nineties icon
None of that matters now, you are gone
Humanity in those eyes, your face
No other person could replace
I know it's just a stupid rhyme
But I'll remember you my whole lifetime
You proved that like us you could feel
We always knew you were 4 Real
A very sad fan at this time of year
"Motorcycle Emptiness" blasted from my radio, after I decided to switch from crap local radio, sick of adverts for double glazing and car sales. Thank God I did. Manic Street Preachers are the band. I had a picture of four leather-clad men sitting on Harleys under a neon cafe sign. How wrong could I be?
Then, that was it, to be honest, a great song, until I saw Richey on TV one night. My fate was sealed. Everything he said, the lyrics to the songs rang so true. When he carved his arm and I found out about it, I was horrified, but I didn't think, "What a fuckhead". I felt for him, for his loneliness and pain. It only strengthened my obsession.
With someone close to me suffering from a mental illness, I could relate to Richey and the Manics completely. I felt I was not alone, that my loved one was not alone. His disappearance has left a numb void in my life and I think about him every single day. He will never ever be forgotten. Love to you, wherever you are, Richey.
Laura Plowman, Whitstable
The enclosed are a few line in response to your plea for Richey memories. It would mean a lot if you'd please include my contribution. I never got to meet him, but he and his life still mean a great deal to me. Thank you for dedicating such a great article to such a great man.
Whether you're a Manics fan or not, there's no denying that Richey Edwards greatly inspired a generation. He was an icon: beautiful, intelligent and he wrote breathtaking lyrics. We may never know what happened to him, but his family should be proud of the legacy he's left behind him. We, the fans, will never ever forget him.
Helen Clarke, Nottingham
Where do you belong? Where did you go? Why did you leave so suddenly? Only you know.
The years go by, in sorrow, more scares, more horror, winter heals pain, we'll still pretend and wait. You still stay away.
How many more cuts were slashed into your arm? How many more mutilation marks?
What caused the atrocity? Who caused the agony? Hope it wasn't us, your manic fans, new art riot stars, fame and glamour, nothing more than generation sluts.
Where do you belong? Shouldn't it be at home? We cannot lie to ourselves any more, because you are still gone.
Obliterate the past, it's nothing, it never lasts. Tired of looking back at pictures, when the future is all we believe in.
We anticipate your return so all our suffering can go away. Censorship has shown the way to go on, keep hoping you are well. After all, you were not to blame.
But we wonder where the reason lies, under your make-up, under the scars.
We wonder who reads your poems, who you antagonise, who do you trust?
And if you are never to come back, you will always survive within our hearts, we will always be your manic cultured sluts.
I enclose a photo of myself with Richey Edwards for your tribute to Richey. I hope you have space to print it. It was taken when I saw the band at Sheffield Octagon in 1992. I spoke to Richey backstage after the show and found him very interesting to talk to. He came across as incredibly intelligent, polite and fascinating. He was a unique character and beautiful with it. This photo is one of my most treasured possessions. On this fifth anniversary of the day he went missing, my thoughts go out to his family and the band, and of course, Richey himself. Wherever he is, I hope he's doing OK.
Shari Black Velvet
Richey, if you're reading this, thank you for the inspiration not just for writing, but for life. Seeing you has encouraged me to write my feelings down, not to keep them bottled up inside. Now I have a great basis for potential lyrics. It sounds cheesy but it's true.
Sarahtonin Peach, Sunderland
After reading your small article in this week's Melody Maker about the disappearance of Richey Edwards, I decided to send you a couple of photographs that I took from two different gigs.
One was taken at the Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, July 3 1993, and the other from Cardiff University February 4 1994. Both were excellent gigs and nights to remember. I hope you'll be able to use them in your feature. Stay beautiful.
I know it's been said many times already, but Richey helped me through a terrible period in my life. I was in a similar mental state to Richey and through his poetry and words of wisdom, I was able to pull through and get my life back on track. Richey always seemed able to express, in both his words and his actions, exactly the emotions that I couldn't describe. If it wasn't for Richey, I honestly don't know where I'd be now. His disappearance is a sad and tragic occurrence, but it's comforting to know that he's done what he wanted to do. As long as he's happy, that's all that matters.
If I could say one thing to Richey, it would be to thank him for changing the lives of myself and so many other people, and to tell him that I love him.