I’d like to think that GQ Magazine‘s tongue was somewhere near its cheek, instead of Noel Gallagher’s butt cheeks, when it made him 2013 Icon of the Year. But I doubt it. And 1990s boy-band wonder Noel used his interview on the occasion to vent some choice cuts about books and people who write and read them.
Holding forth at London’s sophisticated, up-market and – dare we say it? – literary Groucho Club, Noel – known to his friends as Noel – sprinkled his whole conversation with the f*** word – which f***ing well gets into ef*ing Facebook these days, and even the f***ing Guardian, if not onto the f***ing pages of the f***ing GQ. So I f***ing well apologize for any f***s in the following f***ing quotes.
For one thing, Noel has a real problem with lies. Fibs. Untruths. Stuff that isn’t … you know … real. “Novels are just a waste of f***ing time. I can’t suspend belief in reality… I just end up thinking, ‘This isn’t f***ing true.’ I like reading about things that have actually happened.”
And the reason why this winds Noel up? “People who write and read and review books are f***ing putting themselves a tiny little bit above the rest of us who f***ing make records and write pathetic little songs for a living … I don’t get it. Book sellers, book readers, book writers, book owners – f*** all of them.” Clearly, things have moved on a bit since Mick Jagger recited Shelley’s Adonais in Hyde Park.
To be fair, Noel doesn’t only diss on books. Other groups that are a tad more popular than Oasis right now also get some stick for writing “banal pop music, like One Direction.” Still, when we get down to it, “Novels and the people who write them, like I say, are putting themselves a few rungs above the rest of us. They’re purporting to be intellectual, and… for you to write a book, is for you to say, ‘I am better than you.’ My 68 million records beat your one book.”
Well said, Noel. Even if you had to use a big, bookish word like “purported” to say it. If I wanted to articulate attitudes that would keep your social-classmates in poverty, joblessness, and ignorance all their lives, I couldn’t put it better myself. So much so that I wonder if some right-wing Monday Club think tank that believes in permanent social segregation and a British caste system isn’t paying you a backhander to say what you said. And you can see how effective it all is here. And here. And here.
GQ too might want to think a bit about what happens if the public follows their Icon and heeds the commandments of the Church of Gallagher, as the interviewer puts it. After all, where are they going to find readers when the English can no longer read? But then their mag is full of pretty pictures, so perhaps those will be enough to keep the sales coming.
Still, perhaps I’m worrying myself needlessly about how far anyone will pay attention to Noel. Just as a front-line perspective on this, from a pal who was a UK youth worker just a few years ago, most teenagers she encountered didn’t even know who Noel Gallagher was. And “those who did thought his music was boring, and only listened to by ‘old people’.” Maybe Oor Noelie’s feeling the years and courting senile dementia – which would do a lot to explain what comes out of his mouth.