Shelf Life

Book Review: Brothers From Childhood to Oasis
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The Independent Culture
It's hard to be the older brother of Noel and Liam Gallagher. As Terry Christian says in Brothers: From Childhood to Oasis (Virgin pounds 15), the book he wrote with Paul Gallagher: "Fame by association is tougher than the real thing." Paul is defiant: "To all the people who see this book and think Oh look, Mr Paul Anthony Gallagher is cashing in on his brothers' fame, yes you are right, and I'm spending every penny to to buy myself some self-esteem."

He needs it: there are no pictures of him beyond the age of about 15, while Liam and Noel sulk, gurn and threaten into adulthood. Far from being just a cash-in, this is actually a poignant, pain-filled and honorable effort. Mrs Peggy Gallagher contributes a harrowing account of life with a violent husband and three volatile kids. Paul became timid and ingratiating, traits he feels still handicap him today, and Noel was moody and introverted. "She really did protect Liam ... [he] was spirited and a live wire and there's no way our mam wanted that beaten out of him." Liam, Paul reveals, has always "had that sullen expression ... like somebody's just pissed on all his fireworks", but it never stopped him being a "babe magnet". Paul recalls how a minimum of five girls would call in the morning to escort Liam to school: "He's dead fit, your brother!" Challenged to a scrap by three lads, one of whom hit him on the head with a hammer, Liam freaked out and decked them, one after another. Noel 'n' Liam'll probably deck Paul, now, if only for publishing their embarrassing communion photos (above)

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