When I was fourteen going on fifteen, we went to Europe for three weeks. The souvenir my mother bought for my brother was a band biography, Everything by Simon Price. We (me, Mom, three friends from my Girl Scout troop) were bored and waiting for our train to pull in, so Mom agreed to read aloud from this plastic-skinned black brick of a book. She started with the quote that precedes the foreword, the sort of thing no one but my own mother would do. I think she made it through six words before clapping the book shut and exclaiming her disgust. What? What was it that could have put her off so quickly?
Nearly a year passed before I would see the book again. For whatever reason, I wanted to bring it with me on the spring band trip. I think I finished it in three days and immediately began to reread it. I had a mix tape made a few years earlier with the song "Yes" included because I used to hear the rope-skipping bass line through my brother's door constantly. It's a catchy song, musically. His enthusiasm for and relationship to the band made it difficult to feel anything less than he toward them. Everything was the perfect handbook for anyone looking to become a rabid MSP fan. An album like "Generation Terrorists" probably would not have appealed to me at that age because it sounds like a frustrated teenager's re-imagining of Guns 'N Roses. Ah, but you'll miss the symbolism, dearheart. And I'm quite sure I would have glossed over much of the band - b-sides, lyrics, literary and cultural references, band quotes. It would've been all surface and no feeling. Yes, that is a back-reference to MSP. My interest in Everything came at the precise time for the development of my love for the Manic Street Preachers. And this is something that I will always, always value. I read my brother's copy of Everything to the point of disintegration. Really, the binding glue fragmented and bits of yellow resin dust would float out each time I opened it. About thirty pages in the center detached completely. Between the first read in the spring and Christmas of the same year, the book was overloved and trashed. It was a magical Christmas, though. I didn't get the deluxe edition of band photographer/friend Mitch Ikeda's photography book, but I did get another copy of Everything and my brother's complete collection of MSP LPs and singles from 1989 - 1998 (not that I hadn't already appropriated them).
I have never obsessed over anything as intensely as the Manics and Everything. Ten years later, I still feel lines and quotes from Everything pressing along the sides of my inner monologue. Do other people feel this? Do other people have that sort of obsessive residue in their veins, bathing their brains with each pump of their hearts? It's not even conscious and I still have this sliver of ice, this love and pain and nostalgia and sweetness permanently lodged deep in my chest. Do other people feel this way? They must or people like Simon Price wouldn't write books like Everything.
Everything started this love - I say "love" because I can't think of another word that succinctly describes the agony/ecstasy feeling.