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

Alas, Poor Richard : fandom, identité personnelle et fictionnalisation de la vie de Richey Edwards par Ben Myer
Mark Duffett et Paula Hearsum
p. 65-84


En 1995, les Manic Street Preachers font leur dernière apparition sur scène à quatre. Peu après, Richey Edwards, guitariste rythmique et « ministre de la propagande » du groupe, disparaît, à l’aube d’une tournée américaine. Sa voiture est découverte sur le pont de la Severn, mais on ne retrouve pas son corps, et l’on conclut au suicide. Quinze ans plus tard, le journaliste musical Ben Myers écrit Richard, une autobiographie fictive de la vie tourmentée d’Edwards, pour explorer le mystère de ses derniers jours. Cet article analyse le statut de fan revendiqué par son auteur et la réception du roman par les membres du « culte de Richey ». Ces derniers et les critiques réagirent négativement à la publication, mettant en doute les motifs de son auteur et l’exactitude de son récit, l’accusant notamment d’usurpation d’identité et de braconnage textuel. Dans cet article, nous défendons l’idée qu’il ne faut pas rejeter ces réactions comme celles de dévots aveugles et irrationnels, qui s’agripperaient à l’illusion de connaître la vraie personne derrière les paillettes du mythe. Au contraire, les fans devraient être considérés comme des individus qui mobilisent leur savoir au service d’une éthique partagée.

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Texte intégral

“Manic Street Preachers’ fan culture remains without the authenticating materiality that he [Richey Edwards] was indeed “real,” as opposed to only being known to them as a mediated construct.”
Steven Gregson (2005: 144)

  • 1 As well as authors of commercial fiction, in this category we might include amateur “real person fi (...)
  • 2 A note on nomenclature: I am aware that Richey changed his real name to Richard James in his last f (...)

1The study of stars that die or disappear in the face of a continuing fan phenomenon can indicate something about how fans make meanings and understand their heroes. As Ruth Finnegan (1997: 68) has noted, identity is a site of struggle where power relations are reproduced. In a star’s absence, his or her image can become a site of struggle, a contested terrain on which the bonds of affect are privately established and publically performed. Creative interventions and reiterations can extend the star’s myth in ways that are not appreciated by the core of their traditional audience (see, for example, Marcus, 1999). Whether deliberate or by accident, these interventions can exploit and explore specific aspects of celebrity and/or fan culture. Responses to them are worthy of academic attention as moments when fans police others who have transgressed boundaries of acceptable behaviour. By stitching together fragments of what is already known rather than holding up a mirror to a purported essence, and thus by emphasizing the “truth” of the star’s life as a form of (intertextual) coherence rather than correspondence, semi-fictional books about dead musicians seem to disrupt the idea of truth as intimacy that forms the kernel of each star’s romantic myth. A series of researchers have explored the continuing interest in deceased musicians. Jones and Jensen’s book Afterlife as After-Image (2005), for example contained several chapters discussing “posthumous fame” in terms of mourning, hagiography, image ownership and technology. Jennifer Otter-Bickerdyke (2014) has studied fandom, specifically, by considering the “second lives” of cult musicians such as Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain. Other scholars, such as Homan (2006) and Gregory (2011) have examined why audiences continue to be interested in tribute artists. Literary dramatizations of dead musicians have received much less attention.1 Ben Myers’ Richard, an account of the last days of Richey Edwards from the Welsh post-punk rock band the Manic Street Preachers, provides an interesting case study.2 After introducing the novel’s real life subject and examining how its author positioned himself, this article concludes with a discussion of Richard’s reception amongst the Manics’ fan base. We argue that the fans’ general rejection of Myers’ book was more than a blind response to its author treading on the hallowed ground of Edward’s celebrity image. Instead some fans drew on a “moral economy” that included judgments about the author’s ethics in relation to the fan role he claimed to inhabit.

  • 3 If his version of the Sex Pistols story is to be believed, Malcolm McLaren showed that a non-musici (...)
  • 4 When the rest of the band were interviewed for the DVD of the 10th anniversary edition of their Hol (...)

2Richey Edwards had a successful career as the Manic Street Preacher’s rhythm guitarist, lyricist and “minister for propaganda.” Edwards’ shortcomings as a guitar player were unimportant to the punk and post-punk fans that understood that musicianship was not the only way for each individual to make a creative contribution to the project of his or her group.3 As his fragile, creative persona emerged in public, a wide variety of people found themselves intrigued. According to celebrity theorist Chris Rojek (2007: 178), he “engaged in self-mutilation, suffered manic depression and alcohol problems, and in 1995 abruptly vanished and is presumed dead.” It is important, therefore, to recognize that Richey’s personal descent was not (just) a private catastrophe, but was creatively exploited by Edwards himself in his professional life to make a statement about the cultural direction of his band and the authenticity of its project. A romantic reading of Richey’s actions is that he was impaired: vulnerable, exploited, and baring his suffering for his art. Without denigrating the veracity of Richey’s personal trauma or the pain that it caused, we can say that it was publically realized and mediated through his music. The Manics’ third album, The Holy Bible—which was heavily based on Edwards’ creative contribution—used quotations and media clips to evoke the darkest days of modernity.4 The album had a melancholic atmosphere due, in part, to the inclusion of a song about the Nazi death camps. In 1995 the Manic Street Preachers played their last show as a four piece at the Astoria in London. Richey disappeared on the advent of a US tour. His car was found near the Severn Bridge. Although Richey Edwards’ body was never recovered, it was assumed he had committed suicide. Fifteen years after Richey’s disappearance, music journalist Ben Myers wrote a fictionalized first-person account of Edwards’ life story called Richard, a “novelization” designed to explore the troubled guitarist’s mysterious last days. This article is based upon a close reading of Richard, an interview with its author, and textual analyses of online reviews written by Manics fans. The style and reception of Richard raises some complex issues. For example, should such acts of “literary impersonation” be understood as “faked autobiography” or creative fiction?

  • 5 Ironically, Richey’s quotation approach was the very reason Steve Lamacq “had accused them of tradu (...)
  • 6 James Dean Bradfield’s 2009 collaboration with mainstream show singer Shirley Bassey could be read (...)

3As Myers outlined in his book, Richey Edwards was an ambivalent but self-conscious agent in the construction of his own image and legend (see Roxie, 2010). His “original” performance was based on the elegant appropriation of literary sources. Richey’s use of literary quotation to define his own stance and personality was characteristically interesting and introvert. His identity was formed in the aftermath of literary canonization; Edwards was therefore a kind of sampler in the world of prose, quoting others to locate himself. His bricolaging arguably emerged from a postmodern, post-punk sensibility that used literary references to achieve significant kudos. As Helen Davies (2001: 306) explained, “When the Manic Street Preachers, an all-male band, quote directly from Philip Larkin in both their lyrics and on their album sleeves, this is taken as a sign of their high levels of intelligence and education.” By the advent of the Holy Bible album, literary quotation had become central to the expression of Richey’s dark and nihilistic attitude.5 Bassist Nicky Wire saw fans of The Holy Bible as “dedicated to the whole lifestyle, the literary aspects, the film aspects, the whole package really. It’s not just liking the music” (Price, 1999: 59). Without Edwards’ input, the Manics turned into what one critic called a “meat and spuds” rock band, one less vibrant with intellectual intrigue.6

  • 7 Suicide remains a taboo subject even in fiction. The media effects argument controversially suggest (...)
  • 8 From “Novel about Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards to be released,” available online: http:// (...)

4Richard maintained the process of literary quotation within the remit set by Edwards. According to reviewer Johnathan Gibbs in the Independent, “Myers gives [Manics biographer Simon] Price a special credit in a bibliography that also runs to the likes of Yukio Mishima, Albert Camus and Guy Debord—all inspirations for Edwards himself.” (2010) At one point we find Myers quoting Richey quoting Camus, saying, “What is called a reason for living is also a reason for dying” (Myers, 2010: 92).7 Later in the novel Richey adds literary quotes to the set list when his band plays their final show as a four piece at the Astoria in London (Myers, 2010: 385). Quotation therefore became a means by which Ben Myers could inhabit Richey’s persona and connect with fans. Myers told the NME, “A lot has been written about Richey Edwards, but I thought a fictional setting would be a better medium to explore his personality, especially because he was a particularly literate person who injected a wealth of literary influences into a fairly staid British rock scene that was lacking any true iconoclastic voices at the time.”8

5In relation to self-identity, the use of quotation has an inherent ambiguity, because it can alternately be seen as the intelligent exposure of a projected attitude, or a carapace: a form of hiding in public by covering yourself over with the words of others. Defining his style like a suit made from the garments of others, Edwards became a kind of literary flaneur. At times, for Myers, this camouflaging was used to signify Richey’s precarious self-esteem: “I feel like I am made of the thinnest paper, I feel hollow, like a creature has crawled out of me and I am what is left behind.” (Myers, 2010: 190) In this context, Richard locates fame as a form of hiding and self-denial, not least because it makes Richey “impervious to criticism” (Myers, 2010: 241). In Richard’s miserable world, fame is redundancy: “I have nothing to say. Nothing. I crave anonymity, peace. I want to be absolved of all responsibility for other people’s feelings. I don’t want any of this.” (Myers, 2010: 198). Yet, of course, fans thought that for the span of his career, Edwards did have something to say. An interest in literature represented one way for them to develop and share their perceptions of Richey.

Justifying Impersonation: The Author as Fan

“As for the writing process it was a case of trying to find the right voice. The novel has two narratives running in tandem—Richey’s early life and the rise of the band, then his final few days, told in the present tense. Finding and differentiating between those two voices and then weaving them together so that they were coherent was the big challenge.” Ben Myers (in Roxie, 2010b)

  • 9 See “Novel about Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards to be released,” available online: http://w (...)
  • 10 For at least one reviewer, however, the vexed dialogue between Richard’s internal voices was “far f (...)

6Myers explained that he had constructed “a version of the truth” about Edwards.9 He therefore began to position the book as a tribute: to use fan studies terminology, a form of “real person fiction” that came from a phase of one fan’s semiotic productivity (see, for example, Hellekson and Busse 2006: 13 and Jenkins 1992: 34). One aspect of this interpretation is that Myers was a former Manics fan who was now a professional music critic and commercial writer. He described his degree of artistic license to The Guardian: “The period details, and the essence of the band, are accurate, but the dialogue exercises artistic license” (Jonze, 2010). Jonathan Gibbs explained in The Independent that Myers “provides Edwards with an italicized alter ego to goad him onto self-destruction” (2010). The author was not just, therefore, collapsing two temporal moments together in the space of a prose narrative. He was also finding a mode of expression for Edward’s personal experience in a way that would portray the inner torment of a young performer. His novel partly used the second person singular voice to narrate Richard’s life with sentences like: “you definitely remember the day when...” (Myers, 2010: 4). This device allowed Myers to create a voice that could signify the shift between Richard’s private self and his star persona: “Somewhere out here ‘Richey Manic’ is gestating... Richey Manic begins to encroach upon your day. And you realize that you actually like his company more than your own.” (Myers, 2010: 8) Given our knowledge of the Richey Edwards’ story, use of the second person singular voice leads to a sense of anguished self-consciousness, dread and fate: “You weigh six stone” (Myers, 2010: 364). The novelization suggested that Richard became Richey in order to escape himself.10 By using such devices, Myers impersonated Richard Edwards in the process of constructing Richey the rock star as a public mask, making an incarnation that ultimately dissatisfied its owner.

7Since Myer’s work rested on his dramatization of Richard’s missing voice, it raised issues of authenticity. What was the ideal position from which to pursue such a project? Intrinsic to the question of recognition and misrecognition is the idea of emotional and critical distance. Commitment to authenticity was not something that Myers himself could, or did, claim. When Myers was asked if he was hurt that Nicky Wire had been critical of his book, he replied, “If I was him I would be skeptical of the book, too; I’m a nobody, an outsider. But Nicky Wire has also said that the band have mythologized rock’n’roll (and themselves) to such an extent that it would be hypocritical of them to put an embargo on this book” (Jonze, 2010). By saying “I’m a nobody, an outsider” Myer’s located himself in the place of an external analyst and rendered his own identity invisible by drawing on the view that only an “insider” has the experiential right to speak about Richey. From this perspective, ultimately, Richey would have been the best person to speak about himself. For fans and reviewers, Myer’s “nobody” status was verified by the fact that he had not suffered similar mental anguish to Richey and was therefore in no position to discover a truth that might have authenticated his own performance. The author had to draw on shared reference points. He included Richey’s struggle to be taken as authentic by explaining the guitarist’s famous self-cutting incident in front of Steve Lamacq:

“But it’s a quiet time, the NME need something to write about and this fits neatly with their whole Van Gogh / Iggy / Sid self-destruction-as-art lineage. You can’t pretend you didn’t think it would go unnoticed. Of course you can’t. That would be stupid and naive. And a lie. And you’re not a liar. You are many things, but a liar is not one of them. You are for real.” (Myers, 2010: 159)

  • 11 Academics have seen it as a strange moment of performed authentication too: “It is both a private a (...)

8On the next page Myers added, “You feel good confirming your commitment in cuts that spell ‘4 REAL’.” (Myers, 2010: 155, 360)11 The same pledge of authenticity could not apply to the author himself. After all, Myers’ predicament was sealed by his medium: as a novelist, he could never quite occupy the same stratospheric position as the famous but troubled rock star. In an interview with the “Cult of Richey” fan website he explained:

“Yes, I would consider doing a book signing… If I thought that anyone would turn up. I think I would feel strange doing readings, though, because so much of the book is first person and assuming the identity of Richey in some public way might seem too much.”12

9During any such reading, the author would have, in effect, clearly been impersonating a performer who still had an appeal but no longer had a voice. Myers’ natural reluctance to perform a public reading could actually be interpreted, however, as a concern not to fully expose a “fake autobiography” as an act of impersonation—a process of cultural translation that raises issues of verisimilitude, critical distance, mediation and voice. Whilst Myers created a literary portrait, not a musical tribute, the idea highlights that the value of an act of dramatization is not just assessed on the basis of an empathic leap of identification—factors such as the medium in which the portrayal appears, and its perspective, count too. Richard challenged its author to produce representation that readers with some knowledge of Richey would understand.

10Although Myers declared that he had been a Manics fan, he also, perhaps necessarily, highlighted his distance from Manics fandom as a way to qualify himself as an objective investigator. Richard’s author explained, “The notion that somebody thinks they knew who he was… I mean, I thought I knew Richey, but maybe I didn’t.” (Jonze, 2010) What Myers also, perhaps, alluded to was that knowledge of celebrity personae emerges from cognitive processes that take specific texts as their starting point. In the Guardian he explained:

“Some people have said, “How can you write a book like this having not known Richey personally?” to which I have responded, “If I had known Richey Edwards there’s no way I could have written it.” I think sometimes it takes an impartial outsider to get to the heart of matters.” (Jonze, 2010)

11He added, “I also spoke to lots of people who knew Richey or were there at certain key events. Everyone had a different impression of him, though all spoke fondly” (Jonze, 2010). In The Guardian, Myers located himself primarily as a historian: “I delved pretty deep to get minor details right.” The author clarified his “impartial” role by saying:

“I got into the Manics in 1991, when I was 15… I’d say I was a pretty committed fan for the next five years or so, though I never subscribed to the fervent levels of devotion associated with the band. I’ve always been suspicious of the nature of blind loyalty to bands anyway, because loyalty means you have to pretend to like their awful albums too. I can see the Manics’ flaws.” (Myers in Jonze, 2010)

12With this statement the author used his own biography to simultaneously affirm his credentials as a fan and establish his objective distance as a critic. He told one interviewer from the website A Future in Noise, “I almost feel that I did a lot of research by simply being a fan of the band in the early days” (Roxie, 2010b). As a “pretty committed fan” who lacked “blind loyalty,” Myers may have felt that he could both construct an accurate version of Richey’s life and empathize with readers from the fan community. His own fandom could therefore be envisaged, in some senses, as a voluntarily evicted space, not so much because of any critical distance from the subject matter, but because of the persona he adopted as a writer.

Alas Poor Richard: Literary Impersonation and Fan Culture

“I didn’t speak to any of the band or Richey’s family while writing the book… I do, however, have quite a few friends who knew Richey pretty well. Mutual friends, I think you could call them: people who worked with him in the music business… None of these fall under the archetypal ‘Richey Manic fan’ banner either—and some of them I only discovered knew him in passing. So I’d be talking to a friend on the phone and when I told them what I was working on they said, “Oh, Richey? Yeah, I knew him well…” Ben Myers13

  • 14 This quote is taken from the DVD of Dick Caruthers’s 2006 documentary Heavy Metal: Louder Than Life(...)

13All celebrities are, to an extent, physically separate from the daily lives of their followers. A star’s death or disappearance makes their social status as a lost but shared object, a person reduced to a media image. Talking about the relationship between stars and their fans, the late rock singer Ronny James Dio said, “Without them, we [stars] are nothing. Without us they [the fans] will always be.”14 Dio’s dictum highlights a crucial point: because fans come to “know” their stars at a distance, celebrity fandom is, at least from one perspective, premised on a missing object. No obituary ran for Edwards until November 2008, the month that he was legally declared “presumed dead.” In life he created a spectacle and his disappearance left a kind of void in people’s lives.

14Richard’s author used his own interest in literature as a way to structure his empathy for Richey and the band. To authenticate the book, Myers explained to fans that he’d talked to some of Richey’s friends, people who knew him well. The quotation is interesting because it reads like the famous soliloquy from Act five of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where two grave diggers exhume a skull while preparing to bury Ophelia. Upon seeing it the young prince Hamlet nostalgically remembers his friend the jester: “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.” The irony could not have been lost on Myers, who prefaced his chapters with quotes from Hamlet. One fan located this practice as homage to Richey:

“Mention of Richey and Shakespeare in the same sentence likely conjures up this interview quote from Edwards in the minds of Manics fans: ‘When I was 13, I did a Shakespeare project that was 859 pages long. Everyone else did six!’” (Roxie, 2010).

15Myers’ use of Shakespeare is more ambiguous than just being a kind of in-joke for fans, however. If his first use of a Hamlet quote was simply to mythologize Edwards as an individual (2010: 2), its continued re-iteration linked his novel to the theme of literature and quotation. In the Guardian, Myers defined his appreciation in terms of cultural capital by saying, “I think his [Richey’s] intellectual interests and his continued influence warranted a literary treatment… I value a lot of what they said as much as I value the degree I did in English literature” (Jonze, 2010). He also thought that the mediation of his work as prose was something that would allow him to acquit himself:

“I completely respect and understand how upsetting a book about a real person can be, though the concept rather than the content is perhaps the controversial aspect of Richard. But it is not setting any literary precedents. Half of Shakespeare’s output took real people as starting points and then dramatized their lives. Writers such as Norman Mailer or Truman Capote have done it in the true crime genre, so have hundreds of film makers. Mailer can’t have possibly known what was going on in Gary Gilmore’s head, but that didn’t make The Executioner’s Song any less valid.” (Jonze, 2010)

16Myers’ use of Hamlet is important here because the mediated testimonials of fans enact a public culture of loss that has helped to keep Richey’s image in circulation:

“Of course, in the light of Edwards’ disappearance, the media has facilitated a greater degree of ‘interactivity’ which ensures an even deeper tie to the spectacle in the form of the discursive ‘sites’ where stories of ‘performed’ experience can be, and are, posited. At the same time, by circulating the media images Edwards left behind, these ‘sites’ are critical in perpetuating these images’ iconic power, thereby offering the potential for future fantasies to be created.” (Steven Gregson, 2005: 153)

17In Hamlet grief for a departed loved one is mingled with moments of personal madness as his ghost is hallucinated. Mentioning the play may have been designed as a way for Myers to cement his own literary credentials, but it also framed the star-fan bond as hallucinatory, an insane fabrication. Richard’s frequent focus on Edwards’ distance from his fans illuminated a gap that continues to characterize most star-fan relationships, a gap that already seemed apparent in Richey’s story. Academics and popular writers have attempted to formulate this gap in different ways. On one hand fans have been dismissed as blind loyalists: irrational individuals who are collectively able to coalesce in to an over-reaching mass. In this equation, their supposedly inherent Dionysian tendency means that they are perceived as liable to erupt in a dangerous display of vengeance if the myth of their hero is tarnished. To put it a different way, popular culture sometimes positions fans as a proxy for fundamentalists. This is because outsiders sometimes describe fans as too involved with their chosen texts. Examining Bourdieu’s notion of a “bourgeois aesthetic” characterized by the spectator’s critical distance from commercial culture, in a section of his first book titled “Sitting too close?” Henry Jenkins (1992) noted that fans are sometimes seen as overly emotional, too engaged and drawn in to the affective drama of their texts. To outsiders they are immersed in the “pleasures of affective immediacy” and are unable to “access insights gained by contemplative distance” (1992, 61).

  • 15 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 1)” available online: https://richeyedwards.wordpress.c (...)
  • 16 This comment can be found online following Myers’ interview with the Times (Jonze, 2010).
  • 17 This comment followed on the same online page as Myers’ interview with the Times (Jonze, 2010). Mye (...)

18Interviewing Myers before the book’s publication, the anonymous web master of the “Cult of Richey” site noted Richard had caused “quite a stirring in Manics groups all over online about this, spewing pretty deep hatred in your direction—and its still months away from the book being released to the public!”15 Fans challenged the publication of Richard in three ways: suggesting that it commercially exploited his phenomenon, disrespected his family, and failed to approximate Richey’s skillful literary flair. Commentators compared Myers’ book to a recent, exploitative, commercial dramatization that was infamous for twisting its subject matter: David Peace’s portrayal of Britain’s most colourful football manager Brian Clough’s spell at Leeds in 1974, The Damned United (see Jonze, 2010). Since fans “remain the most visible and dedicated of any audience” (Lewis, 1992: 248) we might expect them to form the target market for most books dedicated to particular celebrities. Posting after an interview with Myers was published online, one commentator said, “I’m no Manics fan, but I can spot a blatant cash-in when I see one. Go and write a proper book, Ben Myers.”16 In reply, a poster called chedonize added, “As a cash-in this is a strange choice. The only people who are sure to buy it are the ones who are sure to hate it.”17 Second, its reception was marked in part by the question of respect for the dead. One theme running through fans responses was what other members of the band might have thought about the book. Bassist Nicky Wire found it too upsetting to read (Jonze, 2010). The book was subtitled “a novel,” but prefaced with a statement that it was a fictionalization written with respect to all concerned (Myers, 2010: ix-x). Richard was dismissed by many reviewers as bad biography. Reviewing it for The Independent, Johnathan Gibbs said, “True fans will end up skipping, especially if they have read Simon Price’s band biography, Everything.” (2010) Was Myers’s book nothing more than a poorly conceived biography? Richard was understood as something different to a biography. It also contained end references to runaway and missing persons’ help lines (Myers, 2010: 397).

19Extending the theme of respect, a comment poster who went by the name of Hoppo said after Myer’s Guardian interview was published online, “I hope and assume the ‘certain people’ he contacted were the Edwards family. Will Ben be sharing the profits with Richey’s estate, as I believe the Manics have done with their royalties, or perhaps donating a proportion to a missing persons charity?” (Jonze, 2010) The interesting thing about that demand is that it would not have been made of a music biographer like Simon Price, Rob Jovanich or, indeed, one of this article’s own authors (Shutkever, 1996).

  • 18 An example of Myers’ unfortunate literary heavy handedness: “You know what. Death. Departure. Disso (...)
  • 19 What was interesting was that nobody who reviewed Richard registered any parallel between Myer’s us (...)
  • 20 This makes the reception of Richard similar to a film biopic, where fans and critics usually base t (...)

20A third category of fan complaints framed the book as a poor imitation that did not do full justice to its subject matter. Compared to the previous two types of complaint, this sometimes began from a different place accepting the notion of impersonating of Richey’s voice whilst aiming for greater accuracy. Fans took issue with Myers’ style, arguing that the author had been posturing in his use of literary references. They implied that Richard seemed like bad poetry in places, in a sense: Hamlet reduced to a series of sound bites.18 Sometimes Myers’ work was dismissed by fans and critics not because he had dramatically impersonated Edwards, but because his prose did not seem faithful enough to its original inspiration.19 Richard’s problem was not getting close enough to its subject and failing to fully assume the register of his voice.20 Myers’ attention to highbrow sources frequently therefore became the focus of critique: “In the end, it’s this sense of literary ambition that damns the book. You can’t imagine Richey giving it the time of day.” (Gibbs, 2010) Equally, when Ben mentioned Shakespeare in one interview, a comment poster exclaimed, “Christ, I thought he was bigging himself up by comparing himself to David Peace, but now I see he’s putting himself at the end of a line including Shakespeare and Dostoevsky! What about Virgil, Dante and Tolstoy Ben? Those not good enough for you?” (Jonze, 2010).

  • 21 See Jenkins (1992), (2006a) and Jenkings, Ford & Green (2013).

21Fan studies suggests a set of frameworks from which to understand dedicated audience engagement; more specifically, it shifts the focus to what fans do with their favourite metatext, whether this takes the shape of “transformative” creative practices (such as fanfic writing, remixing, or spoiling) or transformative roles (such as activism). Rather than simply a form of reception, fandom is conceptualized here as the pursuit of intellectual creativity—labour or play—which actively reworks or co-creates the celebrity image. The star’s image thus becomes a social resource that facilitates a variety of different readings, some of which may run contrary to those promoted by the media industries. While the origins of this approach lie in the work of John Fiske, Henry Jenkins’ scholarship has led the discussion in the past two decades, contributing concepts such as textual poaching (the notion that fans refashion the given meanings of texts), participatory culture (the collective co-creation of meanings) and spreadable media (the pervasive use of social media to propagate resistant or progressive political memes).21 Because of disciplinary boundaries, such ideas have rarely been applied to popular music fandom. Given the disjuncture between Myer’s novel and fans’ expectations of such a portrayal, it could be argued that he was, in a sense—to use Henry Jenkins’ term—a “textual poacher.” Just over thirty years after Horton and Wohl’s piece, Jenkins (2006b: 40-41) developed this term to challenge a pessimistic popular orthodoxy about media fandom:

“Fandom is a vehicle for marginalized subcultural groups (women, the young, gays, and so on) to pry open a space for their cultural concerns within dominant representations; fandom is a way of appropriating media texts and rereading them in a way that serves different interests… the fans often cast themselves not as poachers but as loyalists, rescuing elements of the primary text…”

22Jenkins’ textual poaching metaphor was developed in relation to telefantasy fandom, not popular music portrayals. It is now a relatively entrenched reference point in fan studies. Rather than dismissing readers as socially inept, it elevates their tendency to “queer” the text as part of everyday engagement. It assumes that media representations are both composite and contested. Readers bring their own unexpected agenda and take away their own meanings. However, what the “textual poaching” idea leaves open is the variety of reasons that might motivate fans to rework a text. These may include, for example: to prolong its life, to “rescue” it from media producers who do not appreciate (or chose to ignore) its existing history, or to include more progressive values or make it more socially inclusive. It also raises the issue of poaching as a practice contested by members of the fan base attempting to rouse support for “proper” uses of the text. The alteration of even fictional characters, for instance, can sometimes be met with accusations of “character rape” (Jenkins, 1992: 193).

23It could be argued that Richard disturbed the protocols that governed how the star’s image was appreciated. In that sense Myers was a “textual poacher” on the margins of the fan community who traversed a celebrity image that the fans shared in a way that they did not appreciate. To quote Henry Jenkins writing analogously about Star Trek fandom:

“Fans respect the original texts yet fear that their conceptions of the characters and concepts may be jeopardized by those who wish to exploit them for easy profits… The ideology of fandom involves a commitment to some degree of conformity to the original program materials, as well as a perceived right to evaluate the legitimacy of any use of those materials, either by textual producers or textual consumers.” (2006: 55)

24To those who disapproved of what he was doing, Myers was an interloper, a textual poacher of the “wrong” sort. When we asked him about this perception, Myers agreed: “I was a textual poacher trespassing on their various versions of Richey by offering / creating my own.”22 In the rest of this section, we examine three perspectives on fans’ concerns about Myers use of aspects of Richey’s celebrity image.

  • 23 Even when they break down the barrier between themselves and their audiences, popular performers ar (...)
  • 24 A good example of this is Adrian Grenier’s 2010 feature documentary Teenage Papparazo, in which the (...)
  • 25 See, for example, Courbet & Fourquet-Courbet (2014), Cohen (2014), Rojek (2015), Conner (2015), and (...)

25The concept of parasocial interaction, which stems from the mid-1950s work of psychologists Donald Horton and Richard Wohl (1956), is premised on the pseudo-interactive nature of celebrity culture in an era of broadcast media. Horton and Wohl’s theory suggests that a star’s emotive performance can misleadingly invite the audience to believe that they really “know” him or her. When fans build up personal connections to their heroes, these connections are interpreted as unrequited and one-way. The idea portrays fans as fooled by mediation into entering a space of engagement that only they, in reality, occupy. The fact that stars are better known as individuals than each of their followers—is accompanied by an informational, physical and affective divide that has the potential to create a degree of mutual misunderstanding. During close encounters the celebrity is cognizant that they do not know the fan, and also that the fan’s knowledge of them has been shaped through analysis of their screen roles and publicity material (Ferris & Harris, 2011: 30). Public knowledge of this imbalance locates fans as potentially intrusive. It posits stars as vulnerable to misguided advances. Media fans have—especially en masse—therefore become represented with ambivalence as a janus-faced object of cultural projection, a receptacle for wider anxieties about the imputed social pressures and undeserved rewards of stardom. One of the interesting things about the popular discussion about Richard, however, was that audiences have become much more sophisticated since Horton and Wohl’s initial discussion of parasocial interaction.23 The concept has becoming increasingly familiar in popular culture itself.24 Recent researchers in media psychology have attempted to separate “normal” parasocial interaction from its pathological variants (see Giles, 2002; Stever, 2011). Although the parasocial interaction idea remains important in media psychology, it has been less prevalent in celebrity studies, popular music studies and fan studies, because each of these fields usually deals with objects peripheral to the star-fan encounter: either related to the music (production, distribution, text and genre) or to “transformative” practices (like fanfic writing) enacted by the audience. One of the authors of this article has also questioned the assumptions of parasocial interaction (see Duffett, 2013: 85-94). Nevertheless, parasocial interaction is not an entirely discredited paradigms. Inspired by the rise of social and interactive media platforms, a variety of scholars, including those working media and cultural studies, continue to pursue academic work in the area.25

26There are at least two problems with presupposing that fans were stuck in parasocial bonds with Richey and believed that they had come to know him as a real person. First, one might have expected the novel to create closure for those who were still grieving the singer’s death. Second, there is evidence that fans knew that they had not had the experience of knowing Richey intimately as a private individual; instead they recognized that their fannish knowledge has significant limits. In more detail, if “the cult of Richey” was based purely on parasocial interactions, we might expect that responses to the book would reveal the intimately personal, one-to-one, “authentic” nature of fan attachments. Perhaps Manics fans might still be grieving their hero or affronted by a fictionalized account. A strong way to test parasocial interaction theory is therefore by considering whether Richard aided fans in their hypothesized search for closure over Edwards’ disappearance.

27Richard was certainly based on the known evidence about Richey’s last days: room 516 at the Embassy Hotel (his last room), the Severn Bridge (where his car was found), and various “sightings.” For reviewer Tim Jonze (2010) in The Guardian, Myers’ novel worked as a therapeutic insight into Richey’s troubled mind. Jonze explained that “from an outsider’s perspective the book approaches its subject with sensitivity and a real understanding of the tensions bands have to endure—both internal and external—in order to make it.” Myers’ book did not, however, become read in that way by the most vocal of its detractors. Given such a tragic mystery, on one level Richard might have seemed like an act of creative closure. It is relevant here to mention “psychological autopsy,” a term first adopted in 1958 by Edwin Shneidman and used, first by Coroners then dramatist, to piece together the inner life of the subject in the last few days before he or she departed. While the methodology guiding psychological autopsy is rather varied (Brent, 1989: 43-57), the approach has been used to investigate the demise of icons from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis Presley (Ronan, 2011). When we conducted a research interview with Ben Myers he said, “Closure? I couldn’t say. I suspect not. I’m not sure it’s that simple.”26 As Myers perhaps understood, Manics fans appreciate their hero’s creativity, but do not claim to “know” the “real” Richey:

“When questioned as to whether they would like to meet him [Edwards], the majority of fans I questioned said that they would not because they have a high level of awareness of the chasm between their own personal fantasy image of him and the mediated image of him and him as an actual person: ‘It’d ruin my perception of him, which I’m aware is completely constructed. What he is like as a real person isn’t important to me, because that’s not what I know of him.’” (Gavin) (Skirvin, 2000)

28Equally, reviewing the book as a fan, the web master of the “Cult of Richey” website explained:

“Richard really isn’t for fans and here is why. We know everything already. ‘We have read all the books,’ was Richey said in an interview. We’re going to pick up the novel and expect broken stream of consciousness writing. But that’s not what Richard is—because it’s not meant to be reality. If you want Richey told by Richey then go to his lyrics. If you want Richey as Richard, Ben Myers’ rendition, read the novel. It’s that simple.”27

29Such statements open up a completely different perspective on fans comments about Richard, a perspective that transcends the assumptions of parasocial interaction—a term that tends to reduce the apprehension of complex textual constellations to relatively simplistic notions of “authentic” and singular personal identity. In order to understand the limits of this idea, we will consider mythologization.

30A further framework for understanding fan engagement suggests that the celebrity’s image is reformulated as a relatively simply myth: a popular, satisfying interpretation that may be shaped or shared by the performer, but really matters because it is celebrated by his or her following. Elsewhere, one of us has argued that biographies cannot deliver a pristine, unmediated truth, because in a sense there is no such true to deliver—only a self-referential series of reports spun around a kernel of whatever was thought to have happened (see Duffett, 1999b). When fans engage with a “text”—say, for example, a song or feature film—they share the same focus of attention, even if they interpret it in various ways. On one level, however, celebrity images are quite different. We might understand them as a “metatexts”—texts understood as composite assemblages of others: in Richey’s case, live and recorded music, public interventions, interviews, scandals, publicity and other paratexts. However, the collective entirety of these texts is inevitably vast and constantly evolving. More importantly, different audience members have access to different subsets of this material, and find themselves at various points in their own biographic and learning journeys. To address this problem, we either have to posit “neutrosemic” readers—individuals who each, in effect, constantly assemble the celebrity image from their particular stock of knowledge in their own way (Sandvoss, 2005)—or suggest that they have shared ground for communicating and understanding. One form of this ground is mythology. Jennifer Otter-Bickerdyke (2014) has done relevant work on the reception of Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis. She argues that fans, in tandem with industrial agents, promote mythic versions of their hero’s identities that are in themselves clichéd. These include the idea the star as social rebel; the star as a representative of youth culture; the star recognized as a martyr who dies for his art; the star sanctified as flawless; and, of course, eventually the star as a brand.

  • 28 By that stage Edwards had already become the focus for a wide variety of fans: a small but signific (...)
  • 29 As Myers reminded readers, “You wanted to be the tortured, detached artist and now you are” (2010: (...)

31Mythologization suggests manageable simplification of the celebrity image in a way that can include parts that may be true or false, but what matters more is that it offers a compelling and widely satisfying interpretation. Myers framed Richard as an attempt to subvert the ongoing mythologization of Richey. Edwards’ tragic personal descent inspired media representations that have secured the ascent of his myth. An uncomfortable but key moment in Edward’s simultaneous personal descent and media ascent came when NME journalist Steve Lamacq questioned his band’s authenticity and values. Edwards famously cut the letters “4 REAL” on his arm and created media controversy (Pattie, 1999).28 At one point Myers also describes Richey smashing up his hired guitar at the last Astoria gig as “a brilliant and unplanned act of auto-destruction,” a phrase that lingers as it implies Richey’s disappearance was a crucial element in the making of his legend (Myers, 2010: 385). In an interview with the website A Future in Noise, Myers explained his motive for writing: “I felt as if his story was getting lost within the myth that seems to have arisen in his absence” (Roxie, 2010b). He went on to explain that the idea of the troubled, isolated rocker was incongruous with the fact that Richey sometimes enjoyed himself, chatted up girls and even moon walked drunk across a bar in Portugal. Elsewhere he noted that Richey had attended an East 17 concert just before his disappearance. By battling with what he saw as mythic misconceptions, however, Myers was, ironically, helping to extend the legend of Richey the rock star. Although Richard may not have been the only time Richey had appeared in fiction, it was the first time he been given the lead role. To Tim Jonze in the Guardian, Myers said, “I actually see Richard as flattering; no one ever spent two years writing a novel about Shed Seven” (2010). Richard was an intervention into the Edwards phenomenon that therefore marked its coming of age.29

  • 30 Ironically, Adorno rarely talks about fandom for music celebrities, even in passing. He wrote a lot (...)

32Theodor Adorno’s research offers a perspective on the way that audiences align with celebrities.30 Adorno claimed, “What the gramophone listener actually wants to hear is himself, and the artist merely offers him a substitute for the sounding image of his own person” (2002: 274). This notion reflects Adorno’s adoption of psychoanalytic theory. One interpretation is that it suggests that the listener narcissistically invests in, and projects on to, their favourite artist. Taken to an extreme, it therefore implies that fans choose heroes who can easily be employed as “blank slates” because their images are able, to some degree, to neutrally accommodate a wide range of specific projections—whether those are idiosyncratic individual interpretations or shared myths. However, there is a different way to read Adorno’s dictum, which is that fans find it hard to chose performers who have contrasting value systems to them. Evidently, self-harming or not, for example, Richey’s fans shared some of his outlook on the world. One explained to Francesca Skirvin that he “did not consciously choose Richey but ‘just became attached to him because he is a manifestation of my ideals of humanity’” (2000).

  • 31 It is possible, of course, that negative questions were not selected by the web master who conveyed (...)
  • 32 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 2)” available online: https://richeyedwards.wordpress.c (...)

33When fans were given a chance to “answer back” and ask Myers questions on the “Cult of Richey” website, few if any were actually as negative as might have been expected from the comments Richard received before publication.31 One called Franny asked, “Ben, how far do you think writers should be allowed to ignore factual detail in the writing of biographical fiction? Your book ignores certain facts but I feel that this is justifiable.”32 The web master further pursued this “realist” line of thinking:

“About halfway through the novel, Richey reflects on a quote from Mein Kampf and seems to agree with it in some ways regarding himself [in a negative light]. I never knew Richey, but I still found this part particularly unbelievable. I don’t feel, given his lyrics and interviews done on the subject, that Richey would ever have found anything redeeming about Adolf Hitler—especially in regards to his [Richey’s] self-image—no matter how depressed he may have been at times. What motivated you to write this scene?”33

  • 34 What is interesting here is that fans often take Richey’s lyrics as evidence of his identity, a pos (...)

34Such statements suggest dedicated fandom is premised on amassing expert knowledge and recognizing the complexity of the celebrity image, not reshaping it by simplication.34 A similar conclusion can be drawn from fan reviews. Almost everyone talking about the book felt the need to explicitly distance their relationship to fandom as a way to position what they had to say. Some online reviewers aimed to step outside of their own fannish identities:

“Although as a reader it has been tricky to distance myself from the heavy Manics listening and related exploration of the group I’ve done myself, I’d like to think that Richard could stand alone as a work not necessarily requiring knowledge of the band as a pre-requisite to reading.” (Roxie, 2010)

35This begins to suggest a different view to parasocial interaction or mythologization, one in which learning about a star is a process of piecing together knowledge, of constantly reformulating more and more complex assessments of his or her personal identity. In this alternative reading, fans are motivated by their empathy to become guardians of knowledge and form a community in celebration of the person’s identity, life and creative contribution. In our own interview with him, Myers explained:

“All I asked at the time is that people read it, and then offered an opinion. When they did, the critical responses ran right across the board, from people who really seemed to understand what it was I was trying to do—or at least saw the book in the context of literature rather than biography—to those who despised me on principal. I thought all responses were valid.”35

36One way to understand the phenomenon of those who criticized Myer’s project “on principal” is to borrow from EP Thompson’s (1971) notion of “moral economy.” As a historian studying the poor in eighteenth century England, for Thompson (1971: 79), the “moral economy” was defined by a stock of assumptions that presupposed “definite, and passionately held, notions of the common weal” which were “grounded upon a consistent traditional view of social norms and obligations” and which could therefore be drawn upon to provoke outrage and call for action. Henry Jenkins has already adopted the term in relation to media fan activity (Jenkins, 2006: 58). It emphasizes those in the fan community may already shares certain norms that can be levered to police transgressors. The interesting thing here is that members of Richey’s fan base objected to a novel on ethical grounds before reading it. They were not, therefore, simply aiming to maintain one myth—a notion that would presume the specification of some kind of meaningful content.


37In conclusion, although Ben Myers was sometimes perceived as an interloper, his book and its controversy helped maintain public interest in Richey’s story. This article has used this critical response to Richard as an entry point to examine the cultural politics of literary impersonation as a mode of celebrity portrayal that exposes the relationship between a fan base and the image of its dead hero. In relation to fan studies, what the reception of Richard has shown is that acts of “textual poaching” are not perceived by fans from a neutral standpoint, but evaluated on the grounds of a specific moral economy of fandom. According to celebrity theorist Chris Rojek (2001: 19): “Strictly speaking, the public faces that celebrities construct do not belong to them, since they only possess validity if the public confirms them.” While fans that call upon shared norms do not necessarily speak for everyone in the fan base, they offer examples of how audiences attempt to control the popular representation of their heroes. Once portrayals are released, fans usually assess them by comparing their existing stock of knowledge about the celebrity. Their contestation is neither based on parasocial interaction (grieving the real Richey’s loss or speaking for him) nor mythologization (reducing the complexity and variable reception of his celebrity image). It shows that rather loyally clinging to simplifications of their hero, fans use their growing knowledge bases in service of shared projects that support the continuation of their own phenomenon.

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Lopez Chris & McCullock Fergus (eds.) (2004), « Band Interview », The Holy Bible, 10th Anniversary Edition, SME, Sony BMG.

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1 As well as authors of commercial fiction, in this category we might include amateur “real person fiction” fanfic writers, and those who claim to channel the famous, or conduct celebrity séances.

2 A note on nomenclature: I am aware that Richey changed his real name to Richard James in his last few months of his time with the Manics, That change—which could be read as hastening his disappearance—in set aside in this piece. Here “Richey Edwards” refers to the real person (and sometimes, following Ben Myers, I use “Richey” for his stage persona). Richard refers to Myers’ novel and “Richard” to the character in the novel who speaks (albeit with a divided inner voice) as the “real” Richey Edwards. I have avoided the nickname that the press bestowed on Edwards“Richey Manic”as it does not contribute anything new to the argument. For an academic discussion of the split between the private and public self see Rojek (2001: 11).

3 If his version of the Sex Pistols story is to be believed, Malcolm McLaren showed that a non-musician could have significant creative input. McLaren then emerged as a musical auteur in his own right to capitalize on perceptions of his creative capabilities.

4 When the rest of the band were interviewed for the DVD of the 10th anniversary edition of their Holy Bible album, Bradfield and Wire said that around three quarters of the album had lyrics written by Richey.

5 Ironically, Richey’s quotation approach was the very reason Steve Lamacq “had accused them of traducing the spirit of the music, of shamelessly mining its history for their music and attitude, and of committing the ultimate crime of inauthenticity” (Pattie, 1999: online). Lamacq’s tired rockist ethos could be read the advocating a particular way of expressing identity (being who you are) when Richey instead performed his identity, in an alienated way, through quotation.

6 James Dean Bradfield’s 2009 collaboration with mainstream show singer Shirley Bassey could be read as an indication of the group’s loss of edge.

7 Suicide remains a taboo subject even in fiction. The media effects argument controversially suggests that media products can determine the conduct of “vulnerable” audience members. Although it did not have a directly causative function on otherwise healthy individuals, Richey’s mediated suffering and presumed suicide became a social resource for vulnerable, depressed teenagers who felt a kind of kinship through their own suffering. Two years after Edward’s disappearance, for instance, the body of a sixteen-year old fan called Christopher Goodall was found washed up on the tidal banks of the Severn. Summing up at the inquest, his coroner said that “clearly Christopher was influenced by this media pop idol and undoubtedly he was in a very disturbed state, probably following what he had read about this idol” (Skirvin, 2000). For some, Richard raised media effects issues: “Obviously, there are dangers in representing a human mind set on suicide.” (Gibbs, 2010)

8 From “Novel about Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards to be released,” available online: (retrieved 09/06/17).

9 See “Novel about Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards to be released,” available online: (retrieved 09/06/17).

10 For at least one reviewer, however, the vexed dialogue between Richard’s internal voices was “far from convincing” (Gibbs, 2010). Part of the problem with the second-person singular voice in Richard was that it read more like pre-ordained celestial injunction than a frustrated personal confession.

11 Academics have seen it as a strange moment of performed authentication too: “It is both a private act, a moment of bizarre intimacy between James and Lamacq; but it has a strongly public element to it—it is, after all the most visible sign possible that the Manics’ public image was an authentic one, and it is hard to imagine any other statement carrying the same emotional impact of James’ desperate, last-ditch assertion of authenticity” (Pattie, 1999).

12 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 1)” available online: 09/06/17).

13 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 1)” available online: 09/06/17).

14 This quote is taken from the DVD of Dick Caruthers’s 2006 documentary Heavy Metal: Louder Than Life.

15 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 1)” available online: 09/06/17).

16 This comment can be found online following Myers’ interview with the Times (Jonze, 2010).

17 This comment followed on the same online page as Myers’ interview with the Times (Jonze, 2010). Myers (2011) has also said, “Perhaps the most common reaction has been ‘I hate this book—where can I buy a copy?’”

18 An example of Myers’ unfortunate literary heavy handedness: “You know what. Death. Departure. Dissolution. Demise. Extinction. Passing. Parting. Whatever you want to call it. Self-slaughter. Seppuku. Oblivion. Quietus. Curtains.” (246) From quote this alone it is easy to see why commentators thought he lacked Richey’s sensitivity and eloquence.

19 What was interesting was that nobody who reviewed Richard registered any parallel between Myer’s use of quotation and any processes of adaptation inherent in Edwards’ own art. According to lead singer James Dean Bradfield: “A song like Yes is an observation on other people’s lives and also he blurred the distinction between other people’s lives and his own. And I can remember thinking: How am I supposed to get in the mindset of some of the people he’s writing about and also the way he’s feeling right now?”

20 This makes the reception of Richard similar to a film biopic, where fans and critics usually base their discussions on issues of verisimilitude.

21 See Jenkins (1992), (2006a) and Jenkings, Ford & Green (2013).

22 “An Interview with ‘Richard’ author Ben Myers” can be found at: (retrieved 09/06/17).

23 Even when they break down the barrier between themselves and their audiences, popular performers are still seen as social important people who do not have the time for all their followers. Recent updates to parasocial interaction theory have stressed that Horton and Wohl’s work needs more elaboration (see Giles, 2002; Stever, 2009). The most dedicated fans also engage in staged and unstaged real life encounters with celebrities on a basis that is more frequent than imaged. They also suggest that fans are highly cognizant of the various social imbalances in their interactions with celebrities and carefully tailor their behaviour in real life (see Ferris & Harris, 2011: xii). Finally, I have argued that all relationships are to some extent parasocial in so far that we all compile varying degrees of knowledge about each other in our heads. If every individual is, to us, an idea, then the notion of an absolute difference between mediated relationships and everyday ones is falsification (Duffett, 1999a: 111).

24 A good example of this is Adrian Grenier’s 2010 feature documentary Teenage Papparazo, in which the cast of the USA TV series Entourage discuss parasocial interactions with their fans.

25 See, for example, Courbet & Fourquet-Courbet (2014), Cohen (2014), Rojek (2015), Conner (2015), and Clark (2016).

26 “An Interview with ‘Richard’ author Ben Myers” can be found at: (retrieved 09/06/17).

27 From “Richard a Review” available online: (retrieved09/08/17).

28 By that stage Edwards had already become the focus for a wide variety of fans: a small but significant minority of whom found kinship with his struggle and a parallel escape in their own self-harm.

29 As Myers reminded readers, “You wanted to be the tortured, detached artist and now you are” (2010: 149).

30 Ironically, Adorno rarely talks about fandom for music celebrities, even in passing. He wrote a lot around the subject, however, discussing such notions as regressive listening, the voice as trademark and the standardized nature of music production.

31 It is possible, of course, that negative questions were not selected by the web master who conveyed them to Myers.

32 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 2)” available online: 09/06/17).

33 From “Manics Fans Interview Ben Myers (part 2)” available online: 09/06/17).

34 What is interesting here is that fans often take Richey’s lyrics as evidence of his identity, a position that sees them as traces of authentic expression. Several points about the lyrics are important here: Richey was their undoubted author; they align with other aspects of his public image (not, for instance, contradicting his interview quotes); finally, they express a creative persona.

35 “An Interview with ‘Richard’ author Ben Myers” can be found at: (retrieved 09/06/17).

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Mark Duffett et Paula Hearsum, « Alas, Poor Richard: Fandom, Personal Identity and Ben Myer’s Novelization of Richey Edwards’ Life Story »Volume !, 14 : 1 | 2017, 65-84.

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Mark Duffett et Paula Hearsum, « Alas, Poor Richard: Fandom, Personal Identity and Ben Myer’s Novelization of Richey Edwards’ Life Story »Volume ! [En ligne], 14 : 1 | 2017, mis en ligne le 13 décembre 2020, consulté le 24 mars 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Mark Duffett

Mark Duffet est senior lecturer en media et cultural studies à l'Université de Chester. Son travail de recherche porte essentiellement sur les fans et Elvis Presley. Il a dirigé deux numéros spéciaux de la revue Popular Music and Society. Il est l'auteur de Understanding Fandom (Bloomsbury, 2013) et il a également dirigé l'ouvrage Popular Music Fandom paru chez Routledge en 2014. Il vient de publier un livre d'introduction aux débats autour d'Elvis pour la série « Icons of Popular Music » (Equinox Press).

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    Cross-racial listening and the attribution of sociocultural distance in popular music
    L’écoute trans-raciale et l’attribution d’une distance socioculturelle dans les musiques populaires
    Paru dans Volume !, 10 : 1 | 2013

Paula Hearsum

Paula Hearsum est une ancienne journaliste musicale et occupe désormais un poste de senior lecturer en media et cultural studies à l’Université de Brighton, où elle se spécialise sur les musiques populaires et le journalisme. Elle a écrit, en 1996, l’ouvrage Street Preachers: Design for Living (Virgin Books). Ses recherches actuelles portent sur le vedettariat, la mort et les notices nécrologiques.

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