Nicholas Jones (aka Nicky Wire) graduated with a BSc in Politics from Swansea University in 1990.  He is the lyricist and bassist with rock band Manic Street Preachers.

The band was formed in 1986 and went on to achieve critical and commercial success. Over the years they have won 11 NME awards, eight Q awards, four BRIT awards and were nominated for the Mercury Music prize in 1996 and 1999.   

Nicky Wire was awarded an honorary degree from Swansea University during a concert held at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall in 2005.  He described receiving the award as ‘a great way to start a gig.’

Nicky Wire in a white suit in front of flowers

How did you end up at Swansea University?

My estimated grades were poor so I accepted a place in Portsmouth Polytechnic but I actually got two As and a B in my A-Levels so I went to Portsmouth for four weeks but missed Wales too much.   My brother had gone to Swansea and loved it, so I managed to swap and go there.

What are your favourite memories from your time at Swansea?

The beach, the village of Mumbles, Shipley’s amusement arcade, Sketty Lane chip shop, Cinderella’s night club, Swansea Market, Derricks Music store, John Ham guitar shop and the Kardomah Café,  Clyne gardens, a lot of walking, good friends.

You graduated with a degree in politics. Has that influenced your music?

My politics degree had a big influence on my lyrics. It gave me a point of reference and a point of analysis for my writing.

Your writing is littered with literary references. Which writers have influenced you the most and why?

R.S Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Albert Camus, Susan Sontag, Greil Marcus, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, the lyrics of Chuck D and Bob Dylan- the list is endless.

If you hadn’t become a rock ‘n’ roll star. What do you think you would have done?

I would probably have become a Civil Servant or political advisor. Perhaps a journalist or maybe a  cleaner.

You played a gig at Swansea University in October 1990. What was it like playing a gig in the place you had just graduated from?

It was great to play back in Swansea but even better when we played the city’s Liberty Stadium in 2016. Swansea holds many vivid emotional memories for me and it’s always a joy to go back.