Will Fidel Castro spend his retirement watching Manic Street Preachers?

Watch the Cuban president meeting with the Welsh trio

Cuban president Fidel Castro has announced his retirement today (February 19) from the leadership of the Communist country – prompting questions about what will he do with his new free time.

Although the revolutionary has said he won’t accept another five-year term as president as he’s dealing with health problems, he has declared he is not “saying farewell”.

So how will Castro, who has ruled Cuba since he led the 1959 revolution on the island, fill his days?

Well as one wag at NME.COM suggested he might get back into gigging.

Ok – as far as we know he’s only actually attended one rock concert, but he seemed to have a good time when he met the Manic Street Preachers around their 2001 gig at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana, declaring the show “louder than war”.

So just in case the retiring president – or anyone else for that matter – wants a reminder of what the show was like, we we’ve dug up a few clips of the meeting and popped them on the NME Office Blog

Head over there now and watch Fidel Castro meeting the Manic Street Preachers from a clip from their Cuban tour documentary ‘Louder Than War’.

Plus we also have footage of the Manic Street Preachers’ gig that Fidel Castro attended to watch now.

Meanwhile Manic Street Preachers – who are being named Godlike Geniuses at this year’s Shockwaves NME Awards – are playing the Shockwaves NME Awards Big Gig at the O2 Arena in London next Thursday (February 28).

Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Klaxons and The Cribs are also playing the show.

For more information and tickets go to NME.COM/biggig.

The Shockwaves NME Awards 2008 are coming soon – and it’s time to have your say. Vote now by heading to NME.COM/awardsvote and you could win VIP tickets to the ceremony, which takes place in London on February 28.