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0 PEGGY GALLAGHER
While the press do anything to get Noel and Liam Gallagher onto the front pages, the boys’ older brother Paul watches from the sidelines. His new book claims to set the record straight, and he tells Eddie Gibb about
life in the desert around Oasis.
ith typical misanthropy. Morrissey sang a home truth with the line ‘we hate it when our friends become successful’. How would he have felt if the success was even closer to home, like in the family? So pity the lot of Paul Gallagher, the oldest brother of Oasis’s Noel and Liam, who still lives with his mam and until very recently earned a crust digging holes in the road — something Noel once cruelly quipped he had a talent for. Brothers, eh?
Whatever Oasis’s eventual place in the rock ’n’ roll hall of fame, the story of Liam, Noel and Paul could be a psychology textbook study of sibling rivalry. They laugh. they cry, they punch each other in the gob, but they’re still all Gallaghers under the skin, and their mam tells them family is the only thing they have really got.
This may come as some comfort to Paul, who has missed out on the
chocolate Rolls Royce. ‘Noel can handle because he knows how the business works. Llam hasn’t come to
record terms with it yet, but I think he Will. Living cheques obviously. He last and dying young is not him.’
the celebrity blonde fiancee and sales which run into millions. It wasn’t Paul who stood up in front of 80,000 people on the banks of Loch Lomond and enquired if they were ‘mad for it’, and he didn’t lead a massed choir through ‘Wonderwall’ at Maine Road, home of the brothers’ beloved Manchester City.
Paul had every reason to hate it when his family became successful. ‘We love each other but we compete,’ he says gamely. ‘lt’s the three of us taking on the world.’ Even if the world isn’t aware that Paul had even entered the race.
To be fair to the guy, in Brothers From Childhood To Oasis - the ‘real story’ of the band he wrote with Manc lad and former presenter of The Word Terry Christian — Paul Gallagher acknowledges that his brothers’ fame and fortune have messed with his head. In response to the inevitable charge that he is cashing in, he writes: ‘Yes, you are right, and I’m spending every penny to buy myself some self-esteem.’
Despite the laddish swagger. the book is ﬁlled with this kind of pop psychology — he even calls it ‘cathartic’ — as Paul tries to understand why it’s Our Kids up there and not himself. And like any half-decent attempt at family therapy, he starts with the father. Noel and Liam are already both on record talking about how much they despise their dad, who on one occasion turned up backstage at an Oasis gig in search of reconciliation — with a News Of The World reporter in tow.
ln ‘Brothers’, Paul ﬂeshes out the story of their father’s cruelty. meanness and endless philandering which is blamed for Liam’s wild streak, Noel’s moodiness and his own apparent desperation to please. ‘I told him dozens of times to get out and he’d just laugh and say he wasn’t going anywhere,’ he writes.
Is this the real source of Paul’s low self- esteem: that even in adulthood he didn’t act more decisively to protect his mother and two younger brothers? Quite possibly, and that would also account for the apparent coolness towards Paul by his brothers which shines through repeatedly in the book. The time in New York when Noel bungs him $300 — loose change from his jeans pocket — is recounted with almost pathetic gratitude, as is the one and only time they dedicate a song to him on stage. But most of the time Paul had to hitch rides to gigs from fans.
It’s hard to know what Paul Gallagher is hoping to achieve from writing this book — other than royalty
is at pains to say how much he hates the press intrusion into the Gallaghers’ lives and yet he has written a book full of family secrets: ‘1 never tell them anything personal because you never know what’s going to appear in the press,’ he moans. ‘I used to take people at face value but now I have to question people’s motives.’
Perhaps more by coincidence than good planning, the book comes out just as relations between Liam and Noel have soured to the point where the band might split. A disastrous American tour was cancelled halfway through. after first Liam, then Noel walked out. Paul says they are definitely not going to carry on recording. though he does wony about Liam.
‘He is my baby bother - Noel can handle it because he knows how the business works,’ says Paul. ‘Liam hasn’t come to terms with it yet, but I think he will. Living fast and dying young is not him. One thing he has got is common sense. Mam has had to put up with a lot. She doesn’t believe a lot of what the press say about him but she rings him up and asks if it’s true, and if he says yes then she goes, “wait till I get hold of you”.’
So what will Noel and Liam make of this book? ‘I hope it might make them take stock. Hopefully they will read it and say, “cheers, our kid”.’
Brothers From Childhood To Oasis by Paul Gallagher and Terry Christian is published by Virgin at £14. 99.