Noel Gallagher about his life in Manchester: “Hard work and a fucking filthy tongue, that’s what I inherited from my mum”

Noel Gallagher is Esquire’s December cover star, and he had a long, open-hearted talk about the highs and lows of Oasis, marriage, midlife crises, fame, fatherhood, going solo and life…


Noelie1 | “Hard work and a f**king filthy tongue”

I was born in Longsight in Manchester, which is a really rough-arse part of town. They knocked our street down to build this new-fangled thing called an Asda superstore in the Seventies and we got housed in this place called Burnage, which at the time was quite a leafy suburb. But as the Seventies turned into the Eighties, it got a bit more desolate. There used to be a place called Renold Chains. It made chains for anchors on ships, big fucking things. When that shut down that was the end of it, really. Nobody had any jobs. Fuck all goes on there now. Most of the shops are boarded up.
My mum’s one of 11. I’d say seven out of that 11 all moved to Manchester from Ireland, and they’ve congregated around a five square-mile area and none of them are leaving. Someone got shot in the face outside my mum’s house about four months ago. She’s oblivious to the violence. She loves it there.
Hard work and a fucking filthy tongue, that’s what I inherited from my mum. She taught the Nineties how to swear. And what’s the word, stoicism? Yeah, she was hardcore. She didn’t give a fuck.
I remember once as a child, the local priest came round because she hadn’t brought us to mass for ages. She gave him the short shrift in the house. Words to the effect of, “What’s the church ever done for me? I run my own life. These lads, they can go to church if they want.” Go to fucking church? Fucking joking, man.
From my dad I got my love of Man City, thank fucking God, although I resented him for that up until about eight years ago. And he was a DJ in Irish social clubs, so he had a big vinyl collection. Actually, what I got from him was my utter fucking devotion to The Best Of… Because that’s all he had:The Best Of The DriftersThe Best Of ThisThe Best Of That.
My old man invented road rage. When the new Ford Sierra came out it was a big thing. I remember him calling a guy in the street out of the window, “You fucking Sierra-faced bastard!” That’s poetry, man.

I’m the middle child. I know a few people who are middle children and I get on great with them. They have a kind of laid-back attitude. I think there’s something in that. I was very much a loner as a child and that’s something that’s stayed with me. I don’t really need a great deal of people.
My brother Paul? I guess it must be weird for him but you can only surmise. He does all right. He’s a DJ. When I’m on tour or when Liam’s on tour he’ll play in each town and we allow him to put the band’s logos on his flyers. He follows me all over Europe. One thing is, though, he’s not mastered the art of taking a breath in between sentences, so sentences can go on for fucking hours, to where I don’t even know what he’s saying, he’s just talking fucking nonsense. Paul will tell you he’s a better singer than me or Liam. Make of that what you will. But he’s a good lad.

I laugh when I hear people moaning about their childhoods. It’s usually middle-class people. I think, “mine was worse.” Mine was wrapped up in violence and drunkenness and there was no money. And still we didn’t go around fucking robbing people. We stole things, we didn’t rob people.
It’s preposterous to say you’re working class when your back garden is bigger than the fucking street you grew up on. But it’s always there. Do I feel working class? In my soul, I guess I do.
If I was in my late forties and struggling, I might think I’d been short-changed by society. But I wasn’t upset about being on the dole. That was just the way it was. I wouldn’t say dole culture in the Eighties was cool, but all my mates were on it and all my mates’ dads were, too. And out of that dole-culture in the Eighties came what became known as Britpop.
It’s a good job I didn’t have a mobile phone when I was on the dole at 17. I wouldn’t be sat here today, I fucking assure you of that. I’d have spent all day watching The Beatles on YouTube, getting stoned, thinking, “This is the greatest thing of all time.” Nowadays even people who are on benefits have got iPhone 6s and fucking iPads and flat-screen tellies and all that shit. And these are the people on the breadline? What the fuck, man? We didn’t have anything to do so we had to invent it.
We couldn’t afford carpet and it was embarrassing when you’d bring girls back. “Oh, you’ve got no carpet?” And I remember coming to London for the first time and people having no carpet on the floor and it was a status symbol. And I had to go back and say to my mam, “You know in London, they don’t have carpet on the floor? What they’ve done is polished the floorboards.”
“Really, why would they not have carpets?”
“Fucking hell, it’s cockneys. How should I know? Fucking lunatics.” Still makes me laugh to this day.

Source: Esquire