The (First) Noel

I saw this joke in the Daily Mail (a quality newspaper if ever there was one):

Why does Liam Gallagher avoid going to France at Christmas?

Because they keep talking about Noel.

***

While it’s true that France celebrates Noel in a way that neither Liam Gallagher or I can fully understand, we must try to understand their position.

Obviously, the country of France has really taken to the English musician. Born on May 29, 1967, Noel Thomas David Gallagher was the lead singer and songwriter of the rock band Oasis. Oasis took the world (and notably, the entire country of France) by storm with their first album, Definitely Maybe (1994).

It is true that Noel is really good-looking in that pale, British, blokey, rough-around-the-edges kind of way, and I do prefer his natural, pleasant modulation over younger brother Liam’s pitchy, whiny intonation.

The hot-headed brothers were notorious for their sibling rivalry, on and off stage. After a particularly heated exchange at the V Festival in August 2009 (which may or may not have included Liam breaking Noel’s guitar), Noel called it quits on the band he formed with his brother, stating that he, “simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

Noel went on to form the band Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, which has not had the mega-success of supergroup Oasis, however France continues to celebrate his life and work.

There are many traditions associated with the celebration of Noel (on Jesus’ birthday, no less). The French gather together to feast and sing carols, they decorate their homes, and they greet one another with the phrase, “Joyeaux Noel”, which can be translated, “Merry Noel”. Perhaps the French know something about the frontman’s cheerful personality that the rest of the world does not?

Children in France leave their shoes by the fireplace, hoping that “Father” Noel will fill them with presents. Unfortunately, this year Noel Gallagher will be on tour with his High Flying Birds, so children in France will find their shoes empty. It’s unfortunate – but as Queen (the band, not the monarch) once said, “the show must go on.”

Every year, on December 25, France celebrates Noel and his achievements. I can understand why Liam would feel slighted. Had he been slightly more talented and kind, and less of a cocky argy-bargy, France might be celebrating him. We will never know.

It’s no wonder that Liam avoids going to France around the holidays!

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