• Alas, Poor Richard: Fandom, Personal Identity and Ben Myer's Novelization of Richey Edwards' Life Story

      Duffett, Mark; Hearsum, Paula; University of Chester; University of Brighton (Cairn Info, 2017-12-13)
      In 1995 the Manic Street Preachers played their last show as a four piece before their rhythm guitarist and “minister for propaganda” Richey Edwards disappeared on the advent of a US tour. Although his body was never found, his car was discovered at the Severn bridge. It was assumed Edwards had committed suicide. In order to explore the troubled guitarist’s mysterious last days, fifteen years later in a novel called Richard the music journalist Ben Myers wrote a fictionalized first-person account of Richey’s life story. This article assesses Richard as a perceived act of literary impersonation by focusing on the way its author positioned himself as a fan and also on how fans and reviewers responded to the book. Addressing ideas such as parasocial interaction and mythologization, the piece shows that the “cult of Richey” apprehended Richard’s author as an unwelcome textual poacher. Fans challenged both Myers’ motives and the accuracy of his portrayal. We argue that rather than dismissing them as irrational, blind loyalists who cling to the false belief that they know the actual person, fans should be studied as individuals who use their accumulated knowledge to serve shared ethical concerns.