Sunday, April 01, 2012

Standing on the Shoulders of the Jolly Green Giant

Noel Gallagher's interview by Mark Lawson was not just an advert for his Low Flying Pigeons project, oh no. Lawson got to the heart of the man.

Gallagher didn't exactly have the most advantageous of upbringings, beaten by his dad and not in the least inspired by school.

But Lawson wanted to get to the heart of the tragedy of Gallagher's failure to conform.

"And did they used to give you the talk? 'You're obviously a bright boy, you could do something with this.' Or did they just ignore you?"

Of course they didn't give him the talk. It wasn't as if he was a gifted scholar, able to fit in if only he applied himself and stopped hanging around with the wrong sorts. He had no interest whatsoever in any subject. Once he'd learnt to read and write that was it. Everything else was just boring and irrelevant to the future of a working class kid with interests as varied as music and football. And Noel was unique amongst the local lads in that he was actually interested in something other than Man City.

"You could do something with this". With this intelligence you could be middle class. You could learn to take an interest in science or literature, once you get into it they're really fascinating, you know. Your English teacher and your Maths teacher and your Physics teacher are itching to get you enthused. A boy with your intelligence shouldn't waste that intelligence, there are fields of study, vast open fields of knowledge, all you need to do is walk outside and smell the atmosphere, breathe in deeply young man, the world is yours.

But Gallagher didn't answer the question. It was a stupid question to ask. It would have been stupid to ask it of other intelligent men and women who didn't give a stuff about the establishment's stupid subjects. But ask it of a multi-millionaire?


  1. Hmm. Noel Gallagher obviously had talent and drive, fair play to him, but I think one of the things that makes Oasis' music ultimately boring is the fact that he's not interested in, well, anything. His heroes, the Beatles were working class boys but with wider interests - they stayed in a conventional pop format for so long, churning out rhymes about diamond rings, but then they went off and found out about India and philosophy and art and the avant garde and it all started to get interesting. I don't think ideas should only be the preserve of the middle classes. What I mean is that it's good to be arrogant in some ways, but not wilfully ignorant, which is how he sometimes strikes me in interview (though I didn't hear this interview.) Bjork slated Oasis once for this sort of reason, she said their music was dreary and you could hear in it that they still thought Britain had an Empire.

  2. He wrote two albums' worth of good pop songs, which is pretty good going if you're doing it by yourself. Then the tunes dried up but he kept churning out rubbish like most of them do. I think the Beatles were interesting right from the start, covering American rock 'n' roll songs and making them their own. I love their own songs right from the early ones to the late ones but the Beatles always had tunes. Noel is not the artiest musician around but neither are Shaun Ryder, Lemmy, Noddy Holder, Dizzee Rascal, Paul Weller, etc.

  3. The achievement of the Beatles is that some bands have made entire careers out of riffs on one or two Lennon/McCartney songs. Oasis were just ELO for the 90s.

  4. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Apart from the fact that the music bores me to tears, I really dislike their yobbish anti-intellectualism. It's our English disease, a form of inverse snobbery just as unattractive as its opposite.

  5. Tim - But Jeff Lynne is a pop genius!.....I'll get me coat.

    Looby - Intellectual pop stars are few and far between.

  6. Arabella11:55 PM

    I liked some of the early tunes and hated the hair. I spent most of the britpop time playing Hank Williams. Thought Blur were a bunch of wankers.
    I love ELO. I love ELO tainting Tom Petty even more.

  7. They were a breath of fresh air in the beginning. I was mainly listening to dance music and soon embarrassed by some of the Britpop albums I bought. I got Tom Petty's greatest hits last week and impressed how he held it together in the 80s with the help of Jeff Lynne.

  8. Am I banished for playing ELO YouTube clips as background music last week while I was tidying up my house?

  9. How could you? Music is not there to be enjoyed!