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Thursday, October 06, 2011
Interview: Noel Gallagher talks to The Quietus
It was on January 27, 2000, when I was sitting with a group of journalists in the Albany pub on Great Portland Street having a long liquid lunch, when Noel Gallagher caught me napping. We were waiting in the vague proximity of the Portland Hospital – with its celebrated maternity ward favoured by rich and famous Londoners – for news of Meg Matthews who had entered the day before to give birth. I barely had chance to look up from my drink and get my notepad out when I saw the Britpop star striding towards the table. “Alright lads!” he beamed, “What are you having?” He bought everyone present a pint of Guinness, having a half himself, before filling us in on the birth of his daughter Anaïs, the health of her mother and how made up he was. “You got everything you need? I’d better go and get some flowers for the wife,” he said before marching back out to a round of applause.
I was no longer a news reporter by the time Liam Gallagher’s wife Nicole Appleton went into the same hospital to give birth to their son Gene 16 months later but I did read in the paper the next day that after leaving the hospital the proud dad had assaulted a photographer.
The one detail from these two brief vignettes that probably needs illuminating is the fact that Noel Gallagher knew the Albany pub quite well. He’d been a semi-regular at the Heavenly Social held in the basement club below stairs, where he mixed with Tricky, the Manic Street Preachers, Tim Burgess, Beth Orton, regular DJs The Chemical Brothers and other, slightly more open minds during the Britpop period. While Noel had lived just yards from The Chems while they were still The Dust Brothers back in Levenshulme and running Naked Under Leather in the early 90s and they had both been regulars at the Hacienda during its heyday, it was down the rickety steps in the 100 capacity central London club in 1994 that they first met. The next significant time they bumped into each other would be backstage at Glastonbury in 1996 and the plan to record ‘Setting Sun’ - the strangest, most fucked up electronic single ever to make number one in the charts – was hatched.
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