Liam Gallagher: I’m definitely maybe misunderstood

British singer Liam Gallagher performing during the Benicassim International Festival in Benicasim, Spain. Liam Gallagher will release his solo album ‘As You Were’ on October 6, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2017
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Liam Gallagher: I’m definitely maybe misunderstood

PARIS: Liam Gallagher has a confession to make.
“I am this big-mouthed guy who comes out with rude stuff.”
But the former Oasis frontman, whose name seems forever associated with the phrase “foul-mouthed rant”, insists that he is misunderstood.
“I am also a guy who is full of melancholy,” the singer told AFP as his first solo album “As You Were” comes out Friday.
“There is a sadness deep inside me. I am that kind of guy. I am not here to talk about my state of mind but, hey, I have the right to, haven’t I?”
Life has not been a bed of roses for the younger of the two Gallagher brothers since the break-up of the Manchester band, which during their 1990s pomp boasted to being “bigger than The Beatles”.
Their spectacular implosion minutes before they were due on stage at the Rock en Seine festival near Paris in 2009 has gone down in music legend.
Liam apparently threw a plum at his older brother Noel and the two started fighting backstage, with Liam picking up Noel’s guitar and “wielding it like an axe”.
The brothers have since mostly communicated by trading insults in public.
“It’s real, real good to come back after all these years,” said Liam, now 45 and a father of four.
“The last four years were very tough for me personally,” he said, referring to his divorce from his second wife, Nicole Appleton, the former All Saints star.
Artistically there’s not been much morning glory either.
His attempt to rekindle Oasis’s strutting magic with two other former band members petered out in 2014 after what he admitted were “two failed albums”.
But now he is back and raring to make the critics eat their words. He boasted in an interview with AFP — peppered with expletives — that he can write “good songs” and “good albums”.
He said he can almost hear the detractors sharpening their knives. In an interview with GQ magazine in August, he suggested critics would be mocking him for his two divorces, illegitimate children, with “two failed bands behind him, three bad haircuts”.
But his new album, “As You Were”, is full of “good songs, good vocals, rock ‘n’ roll, mate”, he insisted. “Stuff you won’t have to think too much about.”
He said it has no long guitar solos, no drum solos, “no mad wizardry keyboard, just bang-in-your-face”.
“It’s good,” he declared.
Gallagher said that if the album doesn’t go down well “I don’t know what I’ll do”, hinting he might quit altogether.
While Liam, who brought his dark onstage charisma to Oasis, has been struggling, Noel, who had the songwriting talent, has been thriving.
His two solo albums “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds” and the tellingly-titled “Chasing Yesterday” have been both warmly received.
Which has got to be galling for his younger brother given their love-hate competitive relationship?
“I never thought about people comparing what I do with Noel’s work,” Liam told AFP in a telephone interview.
Yet it is hard to ignore the timing of his album’s release — only six weeks before Noel’s third album “Who Built the Moon?”
With both with albums and tours to promote, the Gallagher brothers are butting heads again — or at least Liam is.
He tried to wind up his brother with a series of tweets on Friday, alleging poor ticket sales for one of Noel’s shows next April in Britain.
“So Mr.Kiss Arse struggling to sell tickets in Nottingham ha ha ha ha. Come and open for me if you want. Will be like the good old days.”
Hours earlier he had ridiculed his brother’s American fans. “You lot need your heads testing” for being willing to pay “350 dollars to go and see rkid (my brother) in the USA”.
Noel — now 50 — held his tongue, as is his wont these days. A silence which spills over into their private dealings.
“We do not speak anymore,” Liam told AFP. “And to be honest at this moment I don’t couldn’t care less.”
But blood is thicker than water, and Liam has not given up completely on the idea of an Oasis reunion, even though his older brother is notably more reticent.
Noel recently complained that “every day people try to Jedi mind-trick me” into getting the band together again. But for now he said he was happy to go it alone, insisting he was still “totally awesome”.
Asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he might be tempted for $50 million in a decade’s time, he replied, “I’m in!”
In the meantime, Liam Gallagher is resigned to wait.
“If one day he wants to reform the band — because it was him who left — I am ready,” he said. “I am hopeful that one day it will happen.”


Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins. (Supplied)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

  • Inside the Emirati artist’s inaugural solo exhibition in London, ‘I Met a Traveler From an Antique Land’

LONDON: You are searching for treasure. Several potential locations are marked with an ‘x’ on your map. You move methodically from site to site, always to be met with disappointment — never striking gold. Are you, in following trails set by others, missing the treasure ‘hidden’ in plain view?

This is one of the conundrums posed in the artworks of Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al-Nahyan, whose inaugural solo exhibition in London presented a thought-provoking range of work fusing the ancient past with modern life.

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins, reflecting Arab, Roman and Phoenician influences. She described the coins, embedded in the marble, as symbolic of the great treasures buried in secret locations that were sought out and fought over by many. 

Al-Nahyan named her exhibition — held at Pi Artworks from June 25 to July 7 — with the opening line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem “Ozymandias”: “I met a traveler from an antique land.” (Ozymandias is the Greek name for the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II.)

Mishmash Dirham. (Supplied) 

The poem, published in 1818, imagines a meeting between the narrator and a traveller who describes a ruined statue lying in the desert. The description of the statue is a meditation on the fragility of human power and on the effects of time: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!/Nothing beside remains: round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

“Maybe a positive thing from looking to the past is that it proves it is only human to repeat the mistake and the lesson,” Al-Nahyan told Arab News. “Studying the past is a realization of human nature, individually or in groups, right or wrong. This natural feeling of connectivity is something I usually aim for.”

There is humor in some of her work — particularly the depictions of old commercial airline advertisements from the 1950s and 60s with ancient figures superimposed in the frames. They certainly give the viewer pause for thought about how much our world has changed in the short time since air travel became widely available.

The exhibition’s curator, Janet Rady, said of Al-Nahyan: “She has been practicing art from a very young age and is self-taught. She is incredibly talented, and you see this in the wide range of her work, which uses all sorts of different media. I can’t necessarily call her a pop artist or a collage artist or an installation artist; she is in fact all of these things, but it is the concept behind her work — connecting the past with the present — which is important.”

The UAE’s UK ambassador, Mansoor Abulhoul, was present at the opening and he particularly admired Al-Nahyan’s works based on the classic wooden board game Carrom paired with a modern video game.

Carrom Station in Motion. (Supplied) 

“I first played Carrom with my cousins as a boy, and she has combined it with modern computer games, which is very creative,” he said. He pointed out that her innovative work ties in well with the dynamic of the UAE.

“Next year we have EXPO 2020, with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’ It’s very much about our roots and how we take them forward, how we develop the mind and global cooperation,” he said. 

The exhibition included a short clip from Al-Nahyan’s upcoming film “Athel,” written by Al-Nahyan’s sister, Sheikha Shamsa. It centers on a strange encounter in the desert between a pre-Islamic poet and a modern-day TV presenter. “Athel” is set for release later this year and stars Hala Shiha and Mansour Al-Fili.

“The idea behind it all is taken from the tradition of Arabic poetry — its wisdom and, sometimes, risks,” Al-Nahyan explained. “And ending with a realization of one tribal law putting redemption and family before all.” She added that there are some “light-hearted” moments in the film too.

Arabic poetry is an ongoing inspiration for Al-Nahyan’s work, adding another layer of meaning to many of her pieces.

“The Arabic language is poetic, and Arabs and other cultures around the world have documented their lives through poetry,” she said. “So, for example, when tackling the topic of what is considered treasure, we found different meanings in various verses. Like when (pre-Islamic poet) Zuhair Bin Abi Salma refers to glory as the only true treasure.”

There is a much to absorb and reflect on in this exhibition which opens windows into many facets of Arab history and culture and poses universal questions about humanity and what constitutes real treasure.