Not that Noel Gallagher’s looking back in anger. Well, not much | Rebecca Nicholson

Other performers can learn from the irreversible break-up that made Oasis one of the greats

In an age of celebrity blandness, where famous people usually decline to say much of interest in public, Noel Gallagher is reliably forthright in doling out his opinions. Last week, doing the rounds, he let rip at hard-to-hit targets such as Prince Harry (“woke snowflake”) and Little Mix (“not in the same league as Oasis”). So familiar are his “better in my day” grumbles that they’re essentially white noise now; they should make a relaxation app out of them, to soothe sleep-troubled woke snowflakes who are unbearably anxious about the prospect of Little Mix not winning a Brit next year.

But in among all the “Dad, put your phone down” stuff, there was wisdom. On the Sky Arts documentary Noel Gallagher: Out of the Now, he dug into the Oasis split, explaining that their break-up was “the best thing for me and for the band”. Prior to that, he said, they were “not lauded as one of the greats of all time”. I saw them trudge through a handful of joyless festival sets in the 00s, which were, like Little Mix, “not in the same league as Oasis”. Calling it a day made them into greats, because it meant they never quite had the chance to become fully spoiled.

If Oasis ever reunite it will be surprising, giving the acrimony between the brothers, which means that for now, they have a definite ending. It is becoming increasingly rare. Bands previously thought dead in the water, confirmed split-up forever, are returning for reunion and anniversary tours; the only certain holdouts are the Smiths and, well, that’s probably for the best.

The resistance to calling it a day exists throughout the entertainment world. There is a current debate about “origin stories” such as Cruella and whether that means Hollywood is out of ideas (it isn’t), while franchises have long been the bread and butter of the box office – Fast & Furious 9 is on its way to UK cinemas this month. The year’s big TV talking point, the Kate Winslet-starring Mare of Easttown, is the subject of much speculation around a second season, despite telling a neat, perfectly formed, beautifully concluded story.

Yet there are one-offs that have stuck to their guns. I May Destroy You, deservedly sweeping the Baftas for its creator and star, Michaela Coel, will not return for a second season, according to HBO. And why would it? Fleabag – you may have heard of it – had two seasons, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been adamant that she told the story she wanted to tell and it’s “done”. They will be remembered as greats because they ended brilliantly and clearly and when it was right.

Keira Knightley’s plain speaking on every woman’s fear

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley: ‘I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been flashed at or groped.’ Photograph: Abaca Press/Alamy

Appearing in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, Keira Knightley discussed the moment I imagine every woman had in the aftermath of the death of Sarah Everard, when all of those near-automatic safety precautions taken when walking alone at night, or somewhere remote, or unfamiliar, became solid and pulled into focus.

The act of putting keys between fingers, accepting that we do it, pushing away the thoughts of why we do it. The text before leaving, to be followed by the text when we get to our destination. The weighing up of being a lone passenger in a stranger’s taxi versus a lone walk home. She found it “fucking depressing”, she said, to realise she took measures without even thinking about them.

Profiles like this tend to be picked over for the newsiest moments; the one that gained traction was when Knightley was asked if she had experienced harassment. “I mean, everybody has. Literally, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been, in some way, whether it’s being flashed at, or groped, or some guy saying they’re going to slit your throat, or punching you in the face, or whatever it is,” she said, with weary specificity.

That this became news was surprising to me. In March, it was reported that 97% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed; last week saw yet more sobering stories about the horrors teenage girls now routinely face in schools. So of course Knightley doesn’t know a woman who hasn’t been harassed. The real news would have been if she did.

Marilyn Monroe, the first kitchen goddess, for sale

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe: what am I bid for her cookery books? Photograph: Matty Zimmerman/AP

It was once a cliche to deride social media as being filled with people banging on about what they had for breakfast. Simpler times. It would be a kinder place now if it were still filled with that and, besides, I never understood the complaint. I enjoy finding out what people had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, because I am nosy and greedy.

Now, a pair of cookery books that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe are up for auction and they indulge both of these stellar personality traits, revealing that the star enjoyed hot cereal, two slices of toast and a cup of milk or cocoa for breakfast. Not very Instagrammable, but definitely filling.

The two books, The New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book and The New Joy of Cooking, are expected to fetch $75,000 at auction, in part because they are filled with typed and handwritten notes, doodles and shopping lists. “A few pages have small stains from cooking,” the listing reads. Autographs are one thing, but splashes of Marilyn Monroe’s boeuf bourguignon really take celebrity collecting to the next level. Cookery books should be tatty, filled with notes and stains, signs that they have been used, loved and savoured.

• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist

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Rebecca Nicholson

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