True Confessions: Nicky Wire (NME Student Guide, Sep 94)

Where did you study and what subject?

Swansea University, same as Richey, and I studied Politics. But I went to Portsmouth Poly first. My teachers had predicted really low grades for me because I never tried very hard at my mocks and stuff, so that's all I could get into. I got much better grades than expected, As and Bs. I got to Portsmouth and I was having a thoroughly miserable time, so my mum rang up Swansea and gave them loads of hassle, and they eventually let me in.

Has university served you at all in later life?

As far as the course went I had read a lot of the books anyway. The problem always was that I wanted to do things my own way and study what I wanted, but that doesn't really work at University.

I enjoyed A levels because you had a certain freedom to write what you liked, and also you had teachers who wanted to teach you, whereas at university all the lecturers really want to do is write books, they haven't the first idea how to teach and they don't care about making the subject interesting, they just indulge themselves.

But then I wouldn't have met Richey if I hadn't gone to college. I was already close to James from school but Richey was in the year above me. He was really into the idea of studying, whereas I didn't feel I was learning anything I couldn't read about anyway.

I scraped a 2:2 in the end but by that time the band had got going, we'd got out first NME feature, we'd been on tour with The Levellers, for some bizarre reason (in fact the night before one of my finals we played with The Levellers) so I wasn't too bothered.

A lot of it was three more years of not having to decide what to do with your life. I've literally never done a day's work in my life, not even a paper round, so I couldn't handle going to work in an office. And I guess a lot of going to University is just to please your parents, and they'd always been pretty good to me.

University was the first time I really became independent, though, because before I was very much a bedroom boy - it was my Morrissey period - so I guessed that helped when the band started and I was away from home for long periods at a time. But for the first two years at college I must have gone home and visited my parent every weekend.

Did you get badly into debt?

Yeah. I never spent my money on beer like all the union crowd, I just used to go down into town and play on the fruit machines. I got to be a bit of an expert at it. In fact I was completely addicted, and I ended up #3,000 in debt because of it.

James used to mail me fivers and tenners, which seemed like loads then, because he was working in a bar back home. We used to write to each other three time a week, and the same with Richey and Sean. But I've never drank or taken a single drug in my life, so I guess fruit machines took their place.

I was quite proud of the fact that I never went near the union in the whole three years I was there. So of course I didn't make any friends apart from

Richey! We used to go and play golf all the time. Not very rock'n'roll I'm afraid!

If you met yourself as you were then what would you think?

"What a dork", probably. I was much more outwardly nervous then. I always had a kind of quiet arrogance, and slight bitterness against the world, but I didn't have the guts to do anything about it.

Did you ever ride a shopping trolley home or nick traffic cones?

No, I always kept well away from that. I never hung around with those kind of people. Although I remember Richey once dressed up as a semen (Yes, semen, not seaman! - Ed) for Rag Week, and painted himself all white. He soon learned the error of his ways.

Did you get involved with any student politics?

No, I was always completely cynical about that. I guess they can do some good but it always seemed pointless at the time.

Did you shop at thrift shops?

No, I was never very interested in clothes back then. I was a bit of a nerdy casual. I was into golf so I even used to wear Pringle jumpers! We did used to get stuff from Oxfam when we started spray painting shirts for the band, but that's different. It was only the rich kids that wanted to dress down like that.