This week’s GQ interview with Noel Gallagher sees the outspoken songwriter giving readers and bemused passers-by a comprehensive list of the vile things that currently plague his life. From One Direction to litterbugs, he tackles the important things in life. The biggest shocker is how much he takes literature as a personal affront. His epic, profanity-laden rant on how fiction enrages him could be literary critic Howard Bloom’s latest diatribe.
Speaking to GQ‘s Danny Wallace, Gallagher makes a compelling case for non-fiction’s inherent superiority over its fictional counterpart. ‘I only read factual books,’ the 46-year-old musician said. ‘I can’t think of…I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time. I can’t suspend belief in reality…I just end up thinking, ‘This isn’t fucking true.”
Gallagher, who appeared in the magazine after being acknowledged as one of its Men of the Year, said he has a collection of non-fiction books (the ones with ‘shit that happened’). ‘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 fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!’
But, what winds him up most about books? ‘What fucking 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 fucking nutters…’ Right…so it’s not about elephants, then? Why the fuck 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, fuck off. If you’re writing a book about a child who’s locked in a fucking cupboard during the fucking Second World War…he’s never seen an elephant. Never mind a fucking giraffe.’
He also exposes his own inferiority complex in his criticism of snobby book reviewers. ‘People who write and read and review books are fucking putting themselves a tiny little bit above the rest of us who fucking make records and write pathetic little songs for a living.’
Next, he goes into a tirade about the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, which, this year, happened to be Adam Johnson for The Orphan Master’s Son. ‘The winner of the Pulitzer Prize [for fiction]. What a cunt. Whoever that is, has got to be. I don’t get it. Book sellers, book readers, book writers, book owners — fuck all of them.’
At least he got one thing right. ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey? Fifty shades of shit. I’m not having it.’
He ended his brief rant with an emphatic, ‘Novels…how could you read that?’, which might be the new catchphrase for Reading Rainbow or Jackanory.
Perhaps the reality-loving Gallagher would be more comfortable with Morrissey’s best-selling Autobiography. We hear that’s mostly true. But, for those of us who still like a bit of fiction, The Incontinence Of Elephants is available now at your favorite online retailer.