Noel Gallagher Is Esquire’s December Cover Star

Noel Gallagher Is Esquire’s December Cover Star05 November 2015By Alex Bilmes | Photographs by Simon Emmett | Styling by Catherine Hayward | Grooming by Gemma StaffordTwenty years after Britpop, Noel Gallagher is still our most outspoken rock star. Exclusively for Esquire,

he talks about the highs and lows of Oasis, marriage, midlife crises, fame, fatherhood, going solo and life as the last of a dying breed. Little spotty herberts (and Radiohead) need not read on… FullscreenI hope it won’t sound too much like dereliction of duty but when the subject of an interview is as garrulous and opinionated and indiscreet and just plain entertaining as Noel Gallagher is, the job of the journalist is simply to turn up with a fully charged Dictaphone and press “record”.There’s little need for searching questions or penetrating insights, and good luck with trying to get a word in even if you had arrived armed with those. (I’d had a bash, of course, as you do, but I needn’t have bothered.)Better to sit back, keep quiet, and enjoy the show. It’s not that one is a non-participant exactly, just that the vacancy is for an audience member and the requirement is to nod, laugh or grimace at the right moments.Only a handful of times in the two hours and more we spent talking did I – gently – attempt to steer the conversation, to pick Noel up on some small point of fact, or challenge an opinion.“Honestly,” he said, exasperated, after perhaps the third such timid intervention, “you’re like my missus, you are. You’re interrupting! You’re putting me in a corner!”“Sorry,” I said, but he’d already started on the next anecdote, so he didn’t hear me.We met in the sitting room of a substantial house in Hampstead, North London, on a late afternoon in early autumn. This wasn’t Noel’s house or mine, the latter possibility less likely given the size and neighbourhood and air of deep-pocketed seclusion. It had been hired for the day as the location for the Esquire cover shoot. Neither of us had been before and it’s not likely we’ll go again. But for a couple of hours, the tasteful greys and muted beiges, smooth surfaces and soft furnishings of this spacious room served as Noel’s stage. I settled myself at right angles to him on a low suede sofa and waited for the fireworks. I didn’t have to wait long.It’s hard to express quite how refreshing it is to interview a famous person who not only feels that giving funny, honest, even outrageous answers to a journalist’s questions is part of the job of being a performer. More than that, to meet a celebrity who genuinely enjoys the process of being interviewed, who wouldn’t rather be somewhere, anywhere, else doing something, anything, else.At one stage I wondered if Noel has any hobbies.“This is my hobby!”“You mean, music?”“No! This: doing interviews. I fucking love it. I could do this all day long. It’s sick.”“Why do you love it so much?”“Because I get to be a gobshite, and I get to do that thing: to be the last of a dying breed.”A trim, 48-year-old father of three in a navy knitted shirt, light grey jeans and dark grey trainers, the last of a dying breed is not a big man, but he fills a room. It’s not just that he’s instantly recognisable: the caterpillar eyebrows, the screwed-on-sideways hair, the features hewn from Northern granite and the accent straight from Central Casting (Kitchen Sink Department). It’s that in spirit and action he’s exactly as advertised: wry, cocksure, spectacularly self-assured.What might in anyone else be insufferable – the absolute certainty of the rightness of his own exalted position, the total belief in the value of his judgments, his tastes, his world view – is made somehow acceptable, even charming, by the self-mocking smile, the delighted laughter at his own hyperbolic pronouncements and the man-of-the-people lack of vanity. He’s the working class hero who makes boastfulness likeable. He’s been getting away with it for years, and he knows it. If he’s not careful, he’s likely to become a national treasure, like his hero Sir Paul McCartney: Lord Gallagher of Burnage.Those who came in late need know only this: that for almost two decades, from 1991 to 2009, Noel was the leader of Oasis. (I’m calling him Noel not to be overfamiliar but because that’s what you’d call him if you bumped into him in the street; a more likely event than you might imagine, given his freewheeling approach to fame; given his freewheeling approach to everything.)He was Oasis’s songwriter, guitarist, spokesman and sometimes singer, too, though not the only face of the band: his younger brother Liam, the comically truculent lead singer (“our kid”, as he was more often called), took equal top billing, in the tabloids and on TV if not in the studio. While lurching from triumph to disaster and back again, Oasis released seven studio albums, sold 70m records and played to countless stadiums full of numberless fans: a roiling human sea of shaggy hair and Premier League shirts under anoraks, a lairy

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