October 23, 2013

Noel Gallagher looks back in anger at the book industry


It’s fact over fiction for Noel Gallagher

Never one to mince his words, former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was recently named British GQ’s icon of the year, and during an interview celebrating his new title, he took the opportunity to get some thoughts about books off his chest:

“I only read factual books. I can’t think of… I mean, 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.”

Fair enough, Gallagher’s not into novels, so instead he gave us a reading recommendation about a non-fiction title he is currently enjoying:

I like reading about things that have actually happened. I’m reading this book at the minute – The Kennedy Tapes. It’s all about the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis – I can get into that. Thinking, ‘Wow, this actually f***ing happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!”

But Gallagher didn’t stop there. He went on to make a very perceptive point about book titles, which might put an end to a recent trend that has emerged in publishing:

But… what f***ing winds me up about books...is, like… my missus will come in with a book and it will be titled – and there’s a lot of these, you can substitute any word, it’s like a Rubik’s Cube of shit titles – it’ll be entitled The Incontinence Of Elephants. And I’ll say “What’s that book about?” And she’ll say, “Oh it’s about a girl and this load of f***ing nutters…” Right… so  it’s not about elephants, then? Why the f*** is it called The Incontinence Of Elephants? Another one: The Tales Of The Clumsy Beekeeper. What’s that about? “Oh it’s about the French Revolution.” Right, f*** off. If you’re writing a book about a child who’s locked in a f***ing cupboard during the f***ing Second World War… he’s never seen an elephant. Never mind a f***ing giraffe.

Finally, someone has been brave enough to say what we’ve all been thinking, and so eloquently too. The Guardian quotes the Bookeller’s Cathy Retzenbrink, who believes Gallagher’s angry missive reveals a more serious point about how many people perceive books:

“He’s saying what loads of people in this country think, but don’t normally have a platform to say…There are vast amounts of people who feel this way, who do feel that people who are comfortable with words look down on them.” This was summed up by Gallagher in his comments about book culture:

“…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.”

But it is a shame that Gallagher hasn’t found a single virtue in novel reading, and his suggestion that “The winner of the Pulitzer Prize [for fiction]. What a c***. Whoever that is, has got to be.” although funny, is somewhat misinformed. At least he’s got it right about one book, though: “Fifty Shades Of Grey? Fifty shades of s****. I’m not having it.”


Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.