Oasis, currently undisputed Great White Hope in the pop world, is in chaos, but handling it well, it seems. Two urgent, star-shaped pop hits already delivered this year in 'Supersonic and 'Shakermaker (Creation) and The Stone Roses' neglected crown as the most worshipped creatures in northern pop looks set to go to a new home - especially if 'Live Forever, the present hit, does the business the pop pundits promise it will.

At 12pm, Noel Gallagher, the guitarist/songwriter and elder brother to vocalist Liam, has eaten his Frosties and is ready to talk.

'This time last year we did a gig in a pub called The Duchess Of York,' he reflects. 'Guess how many people turned up? Not one. People call us arrogant, but how could we go from something like that to two sell-out shows in London in one year and be arrogant?'

Oasis songs are all shrink-wrapped, self-contained, gladiator-spirit success formulas. People can sniff The Beatles, Status Quo, The Stone Roses and Neil Young in the grooves. And the band is a canny stylistic appropriation master too, as it proves on its forthcoming album. But is it destined to be yet another much-raved about Brit band, like Primal Scream and Happy Mondays, which presses the in-built self-destruct button?

'These people forget what it's about, being in a band,' he starts. 'If they are shit songs, going to Barbados or Memphis ain't gonna make them sound any better. People stop proving themselves, which is something I will never let happen to this band.

Oasis plays the Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, tonight and the Astoria, Charing Cross Road, on Thursday, pounds 6

(Photograph omitted)

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