THE BEGINNING

A Very Naughty Boy: Mandy Drake on fleeing the extreme church of Liam Gallgher.

liam

I – a former, obsessive Oasis fan – had planned on calling this article ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’. Then it was going to be ‘We Need To Talk About Liam’. Then ‘The Messiah Complex’.

As Beady Eye released their second album last month, Liam Gallagher did what he does – dubbed new record ‘Be’ “fucking mega” (it’s not), damned the state of modern rock’n’roll (fair point, Liam), played ignorant to anything that’s not within his immediate social sphere, had a dig at brother Noel, sang out of his chin, waddled around, kept Wrigley’s gum in business for another decade and shat on every swear box in the country. Death, taxes and Liam Gallagher: life’s three great certainties. He’d take that as a compliment, no doubt.

I’ve always thought it must be a drain, to be so constantly in character. Maybe Liam takes time off in the shower, or on the toilet. Maybe he takes off his sunglasses then.

Liam’s commitment to the role of deluded rock star has in the past been as entertaining as it is today strangely admirable. He still believes, even if I don’t. I’ve no doubt that it is an act, perhaps not overtly so, more like how you hold your Fs and Us around your partner’s parents, only for Liam he doubles them, ramped up to a predictable caricature. It feels like a tired stand-up routine full of all the jokes you’ve already heard. Liam Gallagher doesn’t give a fuck? Yeah, I know.

He’s the only one doing it too, ardently refusing to mellow or even allow himself to have a good time. For all his talk of “Oasis was what it was, but it’s over and now I’m doing this and it’s fucking mega,” he seems incapable of moving on, or even attempting a new haircut. How could someone so obsessed with John Lennon be so stagnant? The answer to that isn’t just in Liam’s limited musicality, no matter what “Shake my tree / Where’s the apple for me” suggests.

As a new Noisey documentary proved in late June, the Cult of Liam Gallagher is in rude health. The film, entitled Start Anew: On the Campaign Trail with Beady Eye, shadowed Liam and band in the days and weeks leading up to ‘Be’’s release. There’s plenty of what you’d expect from the man himself, inflated truth nuggets like, “I hope people like [the album], but if they don’t like it they can go fuck themselves”, lots of shifty looks over the shoulder while answering questions, lots of chewing, that kind of thing. But if there’s one thing that’s matched Liam’s consistency since 1994, it’s the admiration of his worshipers. At 14 I was one myself, before, to put it simply, the posturing became better than the music, and then boring. To devout Liam followers, some of whom feature in the Noisey film with feather cuts at varying degrees of recession, I couldn’t have been a true fan – turning your back on a Gallagher is like denouncing Christ, even if Christ, in this instance, hasn’t pulled anything close to a miracle out of his arse in a good 15 years.

But I’d paid my dues to the cult, alright. I’d bought and defended ‘Heathen Chemistry’. I’d given a crusty Moss Side tout 150 quid to see Oasis play the Manchester leg of their intimate venue tour, 10 Years Of Noise And Confusion. I’d taken a pint of piss in the face at Finsbury Park. Course I did – Oasis were “the only band out there fucking having it”. That’s what Liam had said, his very own “turn the other cheek… because the other one’s covered in piss.” But where I’ve tapped out, got clean, wised up, there are plenty still enthralled by the legacy of Oasis and those heady 4 years in the mid ’90s. To many, Liam’s (not to mention Noel’s) ‘net good’, as it were, ensures that his fans aren’t going anywhere, and so in turn the Liam Gallagher we know all too well isn’t about to change tack for something more humble and gracious, even if he’d like to. The act is still working beautifully.

It’s the blind followers that keep Liam in Clarks desert boots and vice versa. As the group of lads on Start Anew put it when the cameraman notices that all four of them are decked out in Pretty Green clobber: “You gotta have the gear. No gear, no gig. No gear, no mad for it, no gig.” It’s a line of complete dog shit English delivered so stoically as to initially come across like a direct quote from their hero himself. Maybe that’s Pretty Green’s motto.

It’s the fans that turn me off most of all, not for daring to like Beady Eye’s drab pub rock, but for failing to see any humour whatsoever in Liam’s pantomime shtick. The fact is that everyone likes the guy. My mother won’t miss Chatty Man if he’s on. But there’s a difference between thinking Liam Gallagher is a laugh – a bit of fun – and genuinely considering him “an absolute fucking legend”, a term that seems to follow him around like a generous smell. And yet, of course, these people have found something more substantial than opinion, sense or proof, even; they’ve found faith. Trying to get a fan of Liam Gallagher to admit he’s a bit of a silly bugger is like asking Tom Cruise to contemplate the possibility that Scientology could be a scam aimed at rich idiots. In other words, we’re stuck with the guy. Death, taxes, The Pope and Liam Gallagher.

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