(Manic Street Preachers)
Oakdale Comprehensive School '78-'85
Jonathan Medcraft remembers:
"As you might expect. RIchey was always very modest, and very self-concious too. He had skin problems, as did I, and obviously that diminishes your confidence. I certainly don't remember him ever going out with a girl, but he wasn't what you'd call an outcast, and everyone liked him.
"I remember Richey's gothic phase, when he was wearing eye-liner and Oxfam coats and stuff. Image-wise he was kind of androgynous even then, and there were early signs of anorexia. I mean, in Wales you don't find that high cheekbones occur naturally - you need to starve yourself. At one point, he befriended this boy whom nobody else would talk to - this boy was universally ignored. Richey got to be really good friends with him.
"Richey was certainly never acting a part, he was completely on the level. I think maybe he would have been disappointed with the way the Manics have gone nowadays, but while we didn't discuss aspirations that much, he did sometimes tell people that he'd be famous. Not in an arrogant way - he's one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet, and he didn't specify that he'd be a pop star. I mean, at that point everybody knew that he couldn't play a thing.
"After being at school, we both ended up at the same university and we always got a lift back together at the end of terms - it was him that suggested it, actually, when I didn't have my own lift sorted out. I remember the first time we just talked about politics all the way home. I suppose the Manics didn't have it that bad at school - James' dad ran a video shop abd Richey's dad rented out houses to people. Actually, Richey's uncle taught history at the school, which I suppose explains his interest in history.
"The other Manics were all around too - Nick was the only one who had long hair at the time, and Sean used to go out with a girl who lived two doors down from me. We used to call James 'Joe 90' and flick his ears."