Dear Noel Gallagher
Tuesday 07 November 1995
That was some weekend for you and your Oasis lads. You promised that your concert on Saturday at Earl's Court would be the greatest pop performance ever, and, after seeing it, many otherwise sober, intelligent and rational observers (and Paula Yates) were minded to conclude you lived up to your promise.
You played as if you had a lot to celebrate up there on stage - which was not surprising: figures just released reveal that sales of your latest album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory, have reached 350,000 in the UK alone, making it the fastest-selling album of the Nineties. Blur, your perennial rivals, you will be happy to note, are 150,000 adrift. And then, to put a final unreal gloss on your 48 hours of bliss, Manchester City - the team you follow with such unlikely devotion that you actually posed in the club's merchandise catalogue wearing an unfortunate series of nylon leisure wear items - won for the first time this season.
In the latest issue of Red Issue, the Manchester United fanzine, one of the writers suggests God only made you a City fan because it would be too unfair on the rest of us to give you all the cards in life. It's true you seem to be singularly blessed: you have pulled off the trick, previously mastered by very few pop stars, of being both immensely popular and universally lauded by critics. The bad news about all this is that, rather like Manchester City will find now they have managed to land three points, it doesn't end there. As you sit at the summit of British pop achievement, Blur lurking in the foothills below, the big question is, where can you go from here?
Precedent suggests it can only be downhill. Certainly, your immediate forebears in the Mancunian music firmament do not offer a reassuring career path. The Stone Roses are presently big in that last resting place of pop decline, Japan; while the Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder is presently big everywhere. Eminently fashionable once more at the head of Black Grape, Ryder is paying the penalty of a decade of the good time and now is so whale-like in girth he'd be in mortal danger if he played any gigs in Norway - or Japan, for that matter.
Doubtless your inspiration for the next move will lie in another direction. Much has been made of the fact that you have achieved success with a sound not unlike the Beatles (or in the case of "Look Back In Anger" and "She's Electric" from your new album, exactly like the Beatles). It was a charge you cheekily acknowledged by encoring on Saturday with a version of "I Am The Walrus". What, then, should we expect next - your brother Liam disappearing to India for six months, seeking enlightenment from a bearded mystic; you shacking up with a Japanese performance artist and spending a month in a sack; bassist Guigsy recording the voice-over for an animated children's television series about a privatised commuter train; and, while you do all that, Michael Jackson buying up the rights to your songs and allowing them, with a subtle change in the lyrics, to be used in adverts promoting disposable nappies ("You Better Roll In It")?
Frankly, after Saturday, you could be forgiven all that. Provided that in 25 years' time you don't release a single featuring the recorded voice of one of your number who didn't make it.
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