Noel Gallagher pops up in the Mail On Sunday today, giving an interview that will probably excite Mail On Sunday readers:
'It was all better under Thatcher': Noel Gallagher on Britain's glory days, turning his back on drugs and the end of OasisMail readers - who probably believe that Gallagher is some sort of role model to young people - will dance with delight; they might even see this as some sort of rock capitulation. Instead, it's a very rich man sounding like a very rich man.
There was a slim hope that he was just making a misguided claim that rotten government is good for culture, and there is a bit of that:
‘Under Thatcher, who ruled us with an iron rod,’ he says, ‘great art was made. Amazing designers and musicians. Acid house was born. Very colourful and progressive.’I can't quite remember which member of the Tory cabinet it was who represented the birthplace of acid house - was it David Waddington or Douglas Hurd who had the Chicago seat?
Now, it's inarguable that great art was made during the Thatcher era, but to suggest that that makes the Thatcher era great is just stupid. Everyone can agree that For The Good Of The Cause is a damn-near perfect short story, but it doesn't really make the Stalin era look good from a distance.
And Gallagher isn't just going for the 'it might have been shit, but Ghost Town was a tune' nostalgia. Oh, no; he's going for full-on blue rinse:
'We were brought up under Thatcher,’ Noel Gallagher is saying.No, I've double-checked; this hasn't fallen into the page due to a mix-up with Jeremy Clarkson's copy.
‘There was a work ethic – if you were unemployed, the obsession was to find work.'
Where do you start? Do you start with the obvious fact that the "work ethic" was a employer/ruling class construct that attempted to use religious imagery in order to impose a rigid pattern on the workforce?
Or that while people want to work, any inherent desire to find labour tends to get crushed out of you when the places your family have relied on for work for generations are closed down as the political class undermines the nation's manufacturing base?
And if there was "the obsession to find work" why was there all the compulsion to take any job that was introduced under Thatcher?
Indeed, the idea that 'back in my day, people would go out and hunt down work' sounds almost exactly like Tebbit's 'on his bike' speech, which supposedly was aimed at the working class during the Thatcher era for not doing that.
But remind us, Noel, what were you doing when you were unemployed in Manchester during the Thatcher years?
"I used to play arcade games when I was on the dole in Manchester," Gallagher continued. "Playing Defender."Presumably he thought that if you got to level 4 of Asteroids there was a guaranteed job in it?
And on his own blog, Noel paints a picture of his life in 1980s Manchester that doesn't quite sound like a man obsessed with finding work:
Woke up yesterday with a naughty hangover. Felt like a dead shit. It was still raining. What the fuck? Didn't do much. Stared out the window watching the rain. Reminded me of being on the dole back home in Manchester in the '80s.Well, yes, apart from that obsession with finding work, eh, Noel?
Perhaps Noel should read what this chap has to say, for a slightly-less rose-tinted view of what Thatcher really meant for the working class:
"I remember the 70s constantly being winter in Manchester and the Irish community in Manchester closing ranks because of the IRA bombings in Birmingham and Manchester, and you know the bin-workers' strike, all wrapped up in it... They were violent times. Violence at home and violence at football matches."That was Noel Gallagher talking to the Guardian in 2008.
One of his strongest memories is collecting the dole every week with his dad and seeing his friends there, too. "That was the Maggie Thatcher age - everyone was there with their dad."
To be fair, most of Noel's blether is fuelled by a clear total ignorance of what the world is like beyond his cocktail circuit. He defends sending his kids to private school by pointing to the local education system's problems:
There were riot police outside our local school the other morning. Turns out there’d been a stabbing. Rival gangs. We shouldn’t need riot police at schools. This is Maida Vale. This isn’t Handsworth or Tottenham, do you know what I mean?Noel, sweetheart, have you heard of Philip Lawrence? Do you know where his school, the school he was stabbed outside, was? You moved to the site of one of the most horrible school stabbing incidents in recent British history, and are surprised that there is violence in local schools?
Gallagher's other defence for taking his children out the state system is also a bit alarming:
‘I don’t want them coming home speaking like Ali G.'I'm not sure Noel is clever enough to come up with a coded way of saying 'I don't want my kids to come home speaking like they're black children', which means we could be generous and assume that he's really, really worried about correct grammar and received pronunciation. That would be it, right?
If one good thing can come out of this, perhaps it will be that the NME will finally stop pretending that Gallagher is any more relevant or interesting than Jagger, Collins or Lydon. Or any different to them.