December 12, 2017
Noel Gallagher thinks books are bad because his mind is an irradiated terrarium that should be flung into space like the bad guys at the beginning of Superman II
by Ian Dreiblatt
So, Britpop, according to scholars, was a thing. A very big, moody, often moppy-headed, periodically money-stuffed thing, that ranged from symphonically pompous bucketheadedness on one end to slyly joyful incitements to ferality on the other. This is to say, Britpop, which was a thing, was also, really, many things. Such is the way of the world.
One thing nearly all Britpop has in common, though, is Gallagher-scentededness — participation in an aura cast over the whole scene by the two Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel, whose band, Oasis, constituted one of the purest, moppiest expressions of the movement. In the obscure corner of global history known as the 1990s, their brattiness was very legend, their melodies but a name for the shape of the air that we all, together, breathed.
Fast-forward a couple decades, and, boom, it’s all busted. Wonderwall is as old today as Band on the Run was when Wonderwall came out. Noel Gallagher is a fifty-year-old adult hominid. The Oasis of our youth has been reclaimed by desert sands; perhaps it was always a Mirage.
Which is what makes the interview he gave to the nouveaux vipers of Civilized—a website devoted (ahem) to reflecting “the folks we see enjoying cannabis but not represented in current cannabis culture”—so striking. For a feature called “Under/Over,” in which famous persons decree various aspects of culture be either under- or overrated (get it?), Gallagher was recently asked to rate a couple things: Kanye, books, donuts, electronic assistants, humility, mustaches, Ed Sheeran, self-driving cars, and Twitter.
His opinions are, generally, feeble—sure, who doesn’t want to listen to an aging millionaire joking about his own lack of humility and wishing death on his equally beloved brother?—but there’s one answer here that’s a special kind of hoot:
“What really fucking annoys me about books is when you go to the book shop and you’ll see a book. The book’ll be titled The Happiness of the Homosexual Squirrel. And I’ll say, What’s that book about? And he says, Oh it’s about drug addicts. What the fucking hell is that title then? You know. How to Catch a Hippo. What’s that about? Oh it’s about one woman’s fucking erotic journey across fucking eastern Europe. People who write books are fucking idiots.”
It is genuinely hilarious that this is what the desiccated nub of Noel Gallagher imagines books to be like. (The “erotic journey” bit is also, for the record, a low-key Seinfeld rip-off.) It’s perfection, only sadder. Noel Gallagher hasn’t read a book, but listen, he know what he’s talking about. Don’t even get him started on a flea markets.
Because he remains phat and bomb diggity and is definitely not a narc, Gallagher goes on to say that electronic assistants like Alexa, Amazon’s home espionage module, will be cool “when they can go get drugs for you.” Then he adds, “They built the pyramids without fucking electricity.”
He also drops a deuce on donuts, avows that Ed Sheeran is nice but makes shit music (plausible), and says that growing a mustache makes you think “that you’re, like, a fourteenth-century French fucking musketeer.”
Cool, Noel. You are a really cool guy.
UPDATE: It turns out this is nothing new, and Noel Gallagher has for years been touting his belief that all books have titles with animals in them and are nonsense. Could be anything. The Disco Pants Party Jellyfish and it’s about a child who becomes famous for painting the dreams of alchemists. The Marmalade Zebra and it’s about a ballerina with the trots. Noel Gallagher is a fucking machine. Don’t even try to tell him there are books that either (a) aren’t completely stupid or (b) don’t have animals in the title. Noel knows.
Ian Dreiblatt is the director of digital media at Melville House.