Thursday 16 September 2010

When Nicky Wire met Tony Benn

I've just watched a rather strange (in a nice way) video. Three people in a room: Tony Benn, Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers, music writer (and Manics biographer) Simon Price.

This is like a very far-fetched dream I might have had in my teenage years. I've been a socialist activist since the age of 14 and Benn has been a prominent and inspirational figure on the left throughout the years since then, one who I have heard speak many times. The politically engaged Manics were once my favourite band, while Price was the music journalist I read most devotedly (I was a music press obsessive in the mid and late-90s, with inky fingers every Wednesday as I devoured Melody Maker and NME, so this is no light praise). 

Seeing them together has an unreal quality, but the conversation gets going after a rather awkward start. It's very good after around 10 minutes, with Benn insightful about the Labour Party, democracy, political movements and more. It's also interesting - as Price notes in his introduction - for the often politically gloomy and pessimistic Nicky Wire to interact with someone as determinedly optimistic as Tony Benn (it ends with the latter urging a much younger man, "Keep going, don't give up").

Watch the video (and read Simon Price's intro) HERE.


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