Our Favorite Britpop Icons Are Turning Into Anti-Maskers and It's Embarrassing

Morrissey's been quiet lately, so Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Ian Brown of The Stone Roses picked up the grumpy British manbaby torch.
September 17, 2020, 11:00am
noel gallagher of oasis
Photo: Getty Images

Last August, Sky Sports interviewed Noel Gallagher of Oasis to get his thoughts on the upcoming Premier League season. The Manchester-born Gallagher brothers—cocky, outspoken Noel and equally cocky and outspoken Liam—are both longtime supporters of Manchester City F.C., and Noel looked smug as he sat on a purple velvet sofa, chatting loads of pre-season shit.

"I can't see anybody getting anywhere near us next season," he said. "I don't think Liverpool’ll get near us. I don't think anybody does."

Gallagher could not have been more wrong. Liverpool were the runaway Premier League champions last year, finishing 18 points ahead of second-place Manchester City. So when Gallagher made an appearance on The Matt Morgan Podcast this week and railed about how wearing a mask was "bollocks," it just sounded like the latest track on a solo record he could call Confidently Wrong About Everything.

"I don’t wear a mask, no. The whole fucking thing is bollocks,” he said. “You’re supposed to wear them in Selfridges but you can fucking go down to the pub and be surrounded by every fucking cunt. Oh well, actually, we don’t have the virus in the pubs, but we have it in Selfridges, oh alright.”

In addition to failing to understand why masks could be crucial in retail stores (even the high-end ones), he also doesn't get why he should wear one on public transport, or when he's grocery shopping.

"Listen to me […] when it’s a law, it’s not a law. There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away from us,” he continued. “I don’t give a fuck, I choose not to wear one. If I get the virus, it’s on me. It’s not on anyone else. If every other cunt’s wearing a mask, I’m not gonna catch it off them. And if I’ve got it, they’re not going to catch it off me […] The science anyway says it’s pointless.” (To be clear, that is not what the science says.)

Noel Gallagher isn't the only Britpop-slash-Madchester-era musician to bring out his bad takes lately. Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown has gone the kind of bonkers that can only be expressed in ALL CAPS tweets. In (fortunately) infrequent tweets, he has written "NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX," and "YOU WONT BE PEPPER SPRAYIN MY KIDS OR SHOOTIN YOUR POISON INTO THEIR BODIES ."

Fellas… (sigh) why are you doing this?

In 1997, Spin wrote that Oasis had revived the "grand rock tradition of hedonism and bad behavior," and both Gallagher brothers seemed to have shoved those concepts into the pockets of their oversized Stone Island parkas, carrying it with them for the past 25 years. But there's a difference between getting into a 3 a.m. scuffle with a stranger and actively ignoring science.

The Gallagher brothers’ adversarial relationship has been one of the hallmarks of their fame; it’s hard to imagine Noel and Liam Gallagher really agreeing on anything. So maybe Noel is just trying to further his reputation as a hard man (he's previously said that he ran with two of Manchester City's hooligan football firms in the eighties), or he's just confusing being a massive wanker with being relevant. (Something he's also done since the eighties). Or—and this is equally as likely—he's just trying to do what Liam isn't doing. In July, someone tweeted to Liam to ask if he wore a face mask, and the other Gallagher brother responded that he did, even though he didn't like it. "It's gotta be done, think it's a crime to hide this face," he wrote.

And on Monday, Liam shared a picture of himself wearing a mask. "No mither no clue up your bum fuck you," he captioned it. (And someone else is welcome to tell him that he's wearing it wrong.)

Fortunately, Noel Gallagher and Brown seem to be the science-denying outliers from their respective music scenes. Tim Burgess, the frontman for Madchester contemporaries The Charlatans, tweeted a pic of a pin that looked like an illustrated version of himself, wearing a mask. Former Suede guitarist-slash-keyboardist Neil Codling has previously tweeted his support for the National Health Service ("Stay home now. Don't send our NHS backwards.")

At least Morrissey, king of the problematic British alt boys, has managed to shut up for once. And Pulp's Jarvis Cocker is floating benignly above this entire controversy, focusing on his own signature line of peppermint tea instead. Good lad.