Tuesday, 9 March 2010

At The Coleface

This article originally appeared on the peerless (yet now sadly defunct) Gobshout.com. It's owners are now Suburban Tarts, who should be visited post-haste...

Warning- some of this may or may not be completely true

It is without question the biggest celebrity story of this still very young year. The collapse of Cheryl and Ashley Cole's marriage has been met with almost every conceivable emotion (bar surprise) and is like a wet dream for editors of those magazines who make their living by over-interpreting the direction of Jenefer Aniston's gaze. One thing's for certain though: it does explain the rather poor display of miming at The Brits. Poor lass probably had other things on her mind.

And so now, less than 24 hours after the most predictable and protracted split since Oasis, I find myself wiping aside the tears and asking that most important question: what now for the music?

Turning first to Ashley, there will probably be little to miss here, musically, as so little is known (or cared) about the Chelsea star's contribution to the British music canon. Although Cole's Chelsea chum John Terry is known to give a mean rendition of Luther Vandros's classic Never Too Much, little is known of Cole's musical dalliances. His now-estranged wife reports that she once printed the lyrics to Sound of the Underground for him to sing at his Chelsea inauguration party but "he didn't go for it". Thankfully though, it is further reported that "he really likes it".

No, Ashley is not likely to make a three disc concept album any time soon ("It's sort of like Beethoven interpreted by Brian Eno, but played by a late 70s Zappa. Innit."). It's his wife I wonder about. There is a long and noble tradition of musicians retiring songs to the closet of history when they become too painful to sing. Joan Baez left Diamonds and Rust on the shelf for many a long year, and James Dean Bradfield of theManic Street Preachers cannot sing many of the more personal lyrics penned by Richey Edwards. One can only assume that Cheryl will be so crushed by recent events that the sensationally personal Fight for This Love will go the same way, perhaps to be revived as a soulful acoustic number later in her career. Picture her now: picked out by a single spotlight, her weak, limp and lifeless hair tossed casually over one shoulder, strumming on a 12-string Gibson. There is of course one problem with this image: she didn't write the song. Then she mimed it at the Brits. And she's famous as the host of a pub karaoke competition that got out of hand. In short, she's got the same emotional attachment to the song as you or I. Someone else's song.

You'd be prepared to bet that somewhere, in the modern equivalent of Tin Pan Alley, writers are furiously scribbling away, trying to come up with a song to perfectly capture the mood of a traumatised woman; something about lost love, no doubt. I've got a tenner right here that says the video will be in black and white. Chalk that one up.

But we must of course make time to think about Girls Aloud. What now for them, I hear you cry. It seems to me inevitable that this could be a great opportunity to finally rise up and fill the void left in our hearts and minds by the failed reunion of the Spice Girls. Never has girl power been more relevant in the minds of the public and surely a tour full of tearful hugging and rallying around cannot be far away. There has clearly been a lot of growing up done since that nasty business with the toilet attendant. This group of former WAGs and lads mag favourites clearly have a lot to teach the men, women and footballers of this nation. This is their time. To use a shameless act of plagiarism for which I apologise to Louisa May Alcott: they are no longer Girls Aloud, they are Women Aloud.