News journalist banned from Noel Gallagher gig for album criticism

SOME might say it is the kind of sulk more associated with petulant pop divas than superstar rock icons.

But former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher’s PR man has thrown a strop following a bad review of his latest album by the Evening News’ chief music writer – and banned him from last night’s gig at Usher Hall.

News reviewer Gary Flockhart was told he had been black-balled for describing Gallagher’s new High Flying Birds record as a “letdown” and “big disappointment” in last Tuesday’s column.

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In his piece last week, Gary mused that “any argument that Noel is Britain’s best songwriter died a long time ago”, pointing to a series of British artists – including Thom Yorke, Morrissey and PJ Harvey – who regularly “trump” Gallagher in the songwriting stakes. He added that Noel had only ever written two great albums – the last one coming 16 years ago – and criticised the ageing rocker for failing to evolve musically. But he tempered his comments by saying the “record is no stinker” with some “nice tunes”.

Following a request for press tickets on Monday, he was met with a stinging e-mail from Gallagher’s PR agent, Simon Blackmore of Black Arts PR.

It read: “Sorry Gary – not going to be able to spare any (is ridiculously oversubscribed and can’t fit everybody in). That piece you wrote about him last week didn’t exactly help your cause to be honest.”

It is understood tickets to last night’s concert would have be made available to any Evening News reviewer other than Gary.

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The entertainments journalist said he was “shocked” by the reaction since it was not a particularly scathing review.

“Noel is a great musician, and I’ve no doubt he would have put on a great show,” he said. “He would have been judged on the gig itself, not the new album.

“This is a man who has spent his entire career slagging off other artists – he obviously doesn’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot.”

Tom Little, editor of the Evening News, said: “Personally, I think Noel Gallagher is a fine artist and songwriter, but it sounds like he needs better PR. Black Arts, indeed.”

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“Maybe Mr Blackmore and I should do a job swap – he can choose who does our music reviews and I can travel round the world and party with Noel.”


Liam Gallagher: “I’m not a**** with what he’s doing. I’m sure it will all be very civilised and grown-up. His gigs will be like those that you can really stroke your chin at.”

Robbie Williams: “Noel’s run out of other people’s ideas.”

Damon Albarn: “Noel used to take the p*** out of me and it really, really hurt.”

Justin Hawkins (lead singer of The Darkness): “Noel Gallagher is an overrated guitarist losing his grip on his credibility who just has to fire shots on his way down. It’s kind of a shame, really.”

Elton John: “He’s an absolute t***** and he looks like Parker from Thunderbirds.”