Pegasus

You didn’t take me for a ride, you gave me wings, Pegasus.
A stallion not here for my service, I know better than to lead the charge.
You make sure your stubble doesn’t catch my skin,
Moving my body like an art installation,
An item to be worked with care and discipline,
Sketching me landscape, taking me portrait,
Dancing the road well-travelled, well, travelled.
I wonder whether this display is showboating or affection,
What the fuck does that matter? Stop being a sissy,
You know it matters.
‘He doesn’t need to treat me this well’ I think to myself, ‘I’d accept less’,
Is this what self-care is?
Once the parade is over we decide to go for cheap eats,
He feels like burgers but I would kill for Thai, we go for burgers.
Don’t push your luck kiddo, you’re one lucky son of a bitch,
Thanks Clint Eastwood.
We pull up into the car park of a gourmet burger joint,
You love burgers remember, the way that the grease bleeds down your hands,
The graft of demolishing and rebuilding with every unstable bite,
And you especially take pleasure in discovering that mystery mayonnaise stain,
That somehow found it’s way to the back of your jeans.
Jesus Christ I hope he didn’t see it!
He begins to leave breadcrumbs of the conversation to come,
‘I’ve decided I’ve pretty much given up on relationships’, I prepare myself.
He orders first, I take a little time to ponder the Thai food I could’ve had,
We take a seat and look past some magazine pages until finally the food arrives.
Finally we can talk about emptiness, with physical nutrition in our hands.
He introduces the sadness of the way we speak to each other, us queers,
Concealing our honesty as an exercise of the liberty we fought for,
I don’t remember the placard that read ‘You’re just not what I’m into, sorry’.
He moves onto the loneliness of our cause, our rebellion
‘How many happy gay couples do you know?’
I of course do not know any,
But I chalk this down to the ability to count my friends on my fingers.
I threw back ‘How many straight, bitter, sexless couples do you know?’
The official partyboy line,
Examples were given but there was no conviction in my tone,
I truly never believed in conflating misery and normality,
My love of pizza and a game of Laserquest forbade it.
Backed into a corner I referred to the rulebook,
The heteronormative manual that we tossed into the fireplace,
While spread out romantically on a faux fur rug,
Draining a glass of Pinot.
‘You have to get married!’
‘You have to have a baby!’
‘You have to fuck the same person forever!
Once my wish list, if only it was vogue.
‘Those are the things I want’ he said,
‘It just all seems so much easier when you’re straight.’
I had no arguments left.
It was a statement that could be proven by looking over at the neighbouring table,
Or peeking out the window,
As a husband unloads shopping bags into the boot of a Mazda,
And a wife straps their baby into a car seat and dutifully kisses it’s forehead.
What you have is sometimes beautiful,
Even when I sound so sure that it’s blasphemous.
I will die telling the world I’d rather be stranded on a desert island with a good book,
Than be trapped in a safe house with a cunt I love.
I stayed with Pegasus that night, and I took my wings with me in the morning,
But he made sure he’d clipped the fuckers before I left.

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Shrewd Love

I was always looking for an explanation of love,
Now I know it’s just knowledge of something that is.
There would be no use for a dictionary,
You may as well hand me a hammer and a diamond,
I love therefore I love.
The feeling is that simple, and just as obscure.
When I shamelessly scroll through your photos,
The word chimes in my head,
Like church bells expecting the hour,
And I see the spaces where my chin should be resting on your shoulder.
When you work the corners of your mouth,
Into a grimace or a grin,
Even when I remember what that looks like,
The world becomes a filler, where even I melt into the background.
When you fluster after letting yourself slip,
It makes me give you everything,
I retire my inner monologue in an effort to comfort you,
Because there is no game to win if we play alone.
Looking at you cook me breakfast,
Or change the channel,
I see the future we could’ve grown and argue it is to idle for me,
Knowing I would’ve wanted for nothing.
I am lucky I do not need to call upon hindsight,
And fool myself into memories that weren’t there,
I felt it all as it happened.
I told you I loved you, knowing that it would be reflected.
We may never say it again, we do not need to,
We both know that it is.

Conquer And Concede

There are an infinite number of parallel universes resting in our bodies,
We jump through portals hoping to stumble on our kingdom,
Trading on our ability to forge identities and feign belonging.

Lies told so often they become limbs,
Carrying us up ladders we had no business climbing,
Getting so lost in the characters that they begin to write themselves.

Only through blind battles in our house of mirrors,
Can we begin to discern between our reflection and self-portrait,
Surprised by the company behind the shattered glass.

Allies short on resources usurped by civil war,
We don’t advise or offer counsel,
Instead we preach the mistakes we haven’t learnt from.

Throwing arms around waists and running fingers through hair,
Providing nothing but fresh bedding and a place to rest,
In a makeshift oasis where court is finally out of session.

Truths buried in the garden can now be our history,
Scribbled notes and white out memories become chapters in the book,
We hold hands and casually flit though the pages,
In no rush to unearth the next horror, or the next triumph.

Open Season

I used to love and now I hunt
Not for sport or hunger or pleasure
Only to have a place amongst the rest of us

There is no catch in comparison though
And I can never be sure of the traps I laid for you
But a part of me needs the security of forgiveness

Now all I do is lick my wounds in silence
Waiting for the freedom we deserve to be gifted
And long for the many ways you fed me

You knew me more than was needed
You answered questions I hadn’t thought to ask
When you watched I wasn’t afraid to be seen

We only stopped momentarily
Looked into each others eyes and drew a long breath
And then wasted the air running in circles

If I called you now I couldn’t say the words
You would hear nothing but a lost mans directions
That would never take me home

Instead I walk with open cuts
Counting on the blood lust of others
No longer caring if I’m predator or prey

Righteous Fuckboi

It doesn’t matter if you think what I do is wrong, because I’m great at it
There’s a man in my bed with his leg wrapped around my waist
An affection you don’t need to understand
I get to keep their hearts under my pillow and their dicks in my back pocket
You get to love with your conscience, your principles, your insecurity
But me, I get to love with my eyes,
My body, my tongue

I wonder what it feels like
The unconditional superiority you’ve burdened yourself with
As you wrench and spit over Grindr
Don’t you dare turn your fucking nose up at my Grindr
My micro-universe of great romantics and even better cocksuckers
I hope you enjoyed that feeling
Because now you get to watch me fuck my way out of the corner you put me in

It’s strange actually, how well the unnatural and perverse fits me
My body has shifted and morphed something fierce
But damn I still look good in my batty riders
And I see you, in your over sized coat
That your ‘way it’s meant to be’ bought for you
It must be your first day of school, but don’t mistake me for a mentor
I no longer care if you learn your lesson

Maybe you should be praying for me as I welcome sin
I know sin from fag bars and dirty texts,
Sometimes a heretic jock or if I’m lucky a flaming Mary
I don’t fight it when I see it coming,
I arch my back and slide all over it
I let it fill me up only to just as easily let it go, boundless and momentary
A divine departure untouched by grief

Little Acts of Kindness

Could you do me a favour and crack open my skull
Scoop out the dead weight and replace it with a wreath of roses
Don’t worry I don’t want to die I just need to be reborn

If it isn’t too much to ask could you tear me limb from limb
Rebuild me with spare parts and stitch me up with rope
Don’t worry I don’t hate my body I just need to be unrecognisable

If I lend you some matches will you burn all my work
It turns out neither words nor actions are the cure I seek
Don’t worry I’ll make a return when I’m more than a bad critic

When you’ve got some spare time help my family and friends forget me
Take all the photos and memories and bury them under frozen ground
Don’t worry I still love them but they deserve something else

Finally could you call all my former lovers
Tell them they won’t be hearing from me but they shouldn’t be concerned
Don’t worry I’m not ashamed of what I did but I won’t be doing it again

These aren’t cries for help but the declarations of a shrinking man
I can be the magicians assistant if you make me disappear
And then you can convince the audience that I was never there

None Night Stand: When the Hook-Up Doesn’t Catch

I don’t know at what point I was supposed to realise I’d gone too far, was it when I shouted my pin number at him across the bar, was it when I undid his shirt in front of his mates or was it when I put my hands down his trousers on the dance floor. Trick question it was when I stuck my tongue out at myself in the mirror of the public toilets and winked. It was at that point I should’ve scheduled myself a taxi and a kebab, but I soldiered on into regrettable territory.

I don’t know what it is about being intoxicated that transforms me into a three-time divorcee searching for my last love to take care of me in my palliative years but never the less that’s what happens to me. One minute a functioning member of society the next a person waiting outside the toilets while their potential beau does a party shit. There’s something about a club that turns sex into a finite resource. I’m no longer a human that constitutes a sink shower as getting ready, I am the elegant humpback whale travelling thousands of miles in hope of finding a desirable (suitable) mate. But that’s not really who I am, I’ve never been the humpback whale, I’m the one that has to google animals that migrate. I’m messy and rough around the edges. And yet the moment I step into a venue where the music is bad and the floor is basically velcro I become a proud, put-together whore. Back with a vengeance.

In hindsight there are very few disadvantages to going home on your own after a night out. You get to return to a double bed to yourself, you don’t have to pretend to know how to host and you can finally pass the wind you’ve been polite enough to hold in all night. It’s a dream. However it somehow never feels that way. Coming home after a night out on your own usually just seems sad. You’re a stumbling 6’2 heap of evidence that you couldn’t pull in a room of people as wankered as you. I can only speak for myself but this feels especially true in a gay club. In a space that was built so queer folks could safely explore their sexuality not being able to find a single soul to exploit this privilege feels like a crushing defeat. And beyond the superficial embarrassment felt there is the much more insidious loneliness that lies underneath. To stand in a room filled with your kin and to have none of them make eye contact feels like a fierce and deliberate rejection. However in reality it’s just people who aren’t your friends enjoying their night as they should. You’re insecurity is not their concern.

I can speak of these emotions so clearly because they are based on real events that happened very recently. I was on a night out with a man that I was gunning after. He had all the personality traits I looked for in a potential partner. He regularly cancelled plans with me and discussed other fuckboys he was seeing in my company. Perfection. As I referred to in the first paragraph things had gotten a little hot and heavy in the club but as the night wore on it was getting increasingly obvious we weren’t going to sleep together. I was surprisingly able to read between the lines when he said ‘I can’t wait to go to sleep alone tonight’ and ‘I’m not one to share a bed’, but then again my Mum’s a clairvoyant so it makes sense. However despite knowing beyond all reasonable doubt that he wasn’t going to shag me I was not deterred from leaning over while getting into my uber and softly slurring ‘Do fancy coming back with me?’ into his ear. His response was a solid and well argued no. It was Atticus Finch who once said that courage is knowing you’re going to get licked before you begin and seeing it through to the end anyway, which is kinda what I did. However I pursued my desires knowing I wasn’t going to get licked at all. Just to be clear I did just take a quote from the great literary works of Harper Lee and applied it to a metaphor about me getting blown.

It wasn’t courage at all that made me ask the question though, it was fear. Fear that if I went out with a man to a place with other men and couldn’t get any of them to want me then I was a failure. The odds were stacked in my favour, all of the cards were on the table, how could I lose with the winning hand? But I did. I went home that night feeling hustled. Drunk, lonely and mortified I lay watching the room spin thinking about all of the mistakes I made. I was too forward, too timid, too clingy and too detached all at once. Then again it may have not been my at all actions it may have just been me. Perhaps if I was cuter or funnier there would’ve been a different outcome. I knew I wasn’t going to find the answer I sought in the state that I was in so I just lip synced Annie Lennox songs in bed until I could finally sleep.

When I woke in the morning I felt better. It was possible that I had made every single one of those mistakes I’d imagined but it was just as likely that I’d made none of them. I wasn’t upset that I hadn’t had sex. I was upset that not having sex had made me feel as shit as it did. I had let not being able to pull manifest into an extravagant poorly attended pity party. I’d like to pretend that it was the alcohol that created the monster but truthfully I know it only unleashed it. I can only hope that the next time I commit myself to a binge I can let the night bestow onto me what it pleases. Knowing that I can wake up happy, in company or otherwise.

A Little Life, A Whole Lotta Love: A Closer Look into the Story of Jude St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Pain

If I ever find myself in a relationship rut and begin to question my ability to commit I can now look back and remind myself that I managed to finish A Little Life. This blunt instrument of a book that was recommended to me by a friend is unquestionably the most challenging read of my life. However up until now I have exclusively read Enid Blyton novels and the Beano Annual. This book was not just a tough read because of it’s length but also due to it’s relentless abuse and portrayal of Jude’s ravaging self-hatred. Which as a reader you are only able to truly understand after 800 pages of being inside his broken body. Jude is not your typical protagonist where you cheer for them to achieve their wildest dreams, that level of optimism would be laughable, but instead you hope that he could maybe find peace. In at least one of the incarnations of his existence. However it turns out this is also laughably optimistic.

It may seem like the main theme of this book is unflinching pain, which is brutal to digest as the reader, but the thread that really stuck with me was control. Jude doesn’t at any point dream of euphoric love or a stable family unit, he just dreams of control. To be able to reign in his demons, to be able to regulate his suffering and most importantly to limit his exposure to those closest to him. When Jude enters into his relationship with Willem he does not let himself believe that Willem will be able help him overcome his trauma or that he could share some of the toxic baggage he has been carrying. He just bears down and attempts to be a version of himself that Willem can stand to be around. He conceals his cutting, fakes sexual prowess and unsuccessfully detaches himself from his past. This is just one example of Jude struggling to curate the sanitised life he so desperately seeks.

Jude can never achieve his only goal, because although he believes that enough life has happened to him it never stops. His present never ceases to clutter him with fresh and increasingly complex pain and in his brief moments of joy his past will convince him that he is undeserving of such emotions. Children are raised to believe life is what you make of it but reading A Little Life warped this belief for me. For the main characters their lives were propelled forward partially by decisions made of their own free will but more often by the hurt and separation that was inflicted on them. Jude’s torture made pushed him towards further torture, Willem’s childhood loss pushed him toward’s Jude, JB’s abandonment by his friends pushed him towards addiction and Malcolm’s inferiority complex made me forget about him a lot of the time. For these boys even learning from your mistakes was never enough.

Accepting that outside forces do have an effect on your trajectory can be very unsettling. Even the best intentions paired with perfect circumstances doesn’t grant you with the ability to map out your future. The benchmarks of a life well lived for previous generations was marriage, a mortgage and children. This is no longer the case, our pursuit is unconditional autonomy. We want to tailor our lives down to the finest detail because those of us that are lucky enough have the right to do this. We want to fit our full-time job around our side hustle while making sure we nurture our creative outlets and most importantly calving out time for socialising/networking/influencing. However when we transform our lives from a jigsaw into a fine tapestry it means that there are an infinite number of variables that can prevent us from achieving perfection. It becomes almost impossible to control every aspect of your ‘portfolio’ and it can feel like there are an endless opportunities for you to fail.

Control becomes an even trickier concept when dealing with relationships. Jude fought throughout the book for people to know him in the way he wanted to be known, which often meant they didn’t know him at all. When people began to breach his fortress he would burn the castle to the ground. It feels so much easier to do this now than it ever has been before. People are extremely mobile these days and it feels like life gives you countless opportunities to start again. You move to university hoping to establish a new identity but then you become a teary reprobate and by the end of it you want to leave yourself behind. To recycle all of those tins of Scrumpy Jacks and build something new and shiny and indestructible. Because your friends know exactly who you are and that’s not who you’re going to be. Then you leave university and pursue adulthood. You start to drink prosecco for no reason and date the cutest guys that you possibly can meaning that you have to be the cutest most put together person that you can be. Then you reach a point with these cute guys where you either have to let invite them into your secret bullshit or bolt and of course you choose the latter. Giving yourself ample time of two weeks to discover the real you that you can then neatly package to the cute next guy that comes along. The phychle continues.

For a short period in the book, the bit in between the constant tragedies, Jude was as happy as he could be. This didn’t happen because he was finally able to coerce his loved ones to join him in obliterating the first 16 years of his life and the wreckage it left behind. It happened because he finally relinquished the control he had always longed for. He let Willem love him, he surrendered his past, he let his life unfold in a way he had never imagined for himself and the result was glorious. Once his life stopped being a collection of rules, regulations, barriers and blockades he could finally thrive, because he could no longer fail.

The Good and Bad of Slag: An Uneducated Guide to Casual Sex

Casual sex is no new phenomenon, ever since Darwin discovered that the human race has evolved from single-celled organisms into unstoppable hornbags it has slowly become a social norm. But casual sex has never before been as available or as accommodated as it is today. Due to the rise in popularity of dating and sex apps we no longer have to go to the tedious effort of getting ready, having a fun evening with our friends and then forming a connection with a person that we find attractive and interesting to achieve a brief but meaningful sexual encounter. That’s idiotic. Instead this exhausting checklist of cockblocking activities has been replaced with the elegant simplicity of using a sex app, that was probably developed by an indoorsy group of silicon valley virgins, to send a nude photo. An efficient method of flirting that only requires you to have access to complimentary lighting and the ability to maintain an erection for three seconds (lifehack: if like me you’re too much of a slob to be bothered to take a photo for every conversation then make sure you keep a daytime and nightime set of slag snaps. This will maintain the illusion that you give even the smallest of shits about the person you plan to sleep with.) Once you’ve managed to take a photo where your balls don’t look awful it’s time to treat it like a poolside snapchat that a white girl took of her legs and send it to everyone you’ve ever spoken to. Not everyone will reply but if you wait long enough eventually somebody will be desperate enough to send one back. Just like the bountys in a tub of Celebrations, there will be one freak that enjoys them.

Being a gay man in a big gay city these apps give you access to sex 24 hours a day. You can log on in the morning, in the evening or if you’re a real kinky bugger during the afternoon Come Dine With Me omnibus, and find yourself a local bang. This level of unrestricted access can lead to engaging in impulse sex for all the wrong reasons. Below I have compiled a condensed list of some of the poorest excuses that can be used justify ‘casual meets’.

Because you’re too drunk to possibly make it home.
Because Uber is charging you a scandelous 3.3x surge and you had that last tenner earmarked for a Nando’s tomorrow.
Because they live near a supermarket and you needed to do a big shop anyway.
Because they told you that you have a nice cock and you’ve always been a sucker for flattery.
Because they said please.
Because you’re lonely.
Because you’ve convinced yourself that loneliness is a good enough reason to sleep with somebody but the truth is you’re just sick of your company.
Because Game of Thrones doesn’t start for an hour and there’s nothing good on TV (you’ve got Netflix you dumb slut.)
Because being able to please a stranger sexually is proof that you truly do have it ‘going on’.
Because you’ve got an 8.00am rock on that could be easily taken care of at home but you instead decide to take two buses and a tram to share it with someone else. However this person gives you an hurrendous blowjob because a handful of ket has turned their jaw into makeshift bear trap so you have to go home and finish yourself off anyway. That one mainly.

The full list will be published in next month’s edition of Cosmopolitan, your local church newsletter and the autumn budget. This isn’t to say that these hookups are all traumatising affairs, quite the opposite, I have found that they often result in sexy, passionate and occasionally tender sex. However I have also been involved in encounters that have left me unable to look another person into eyes for fear that they will stare directly into my soul and expose the fact that I have been in and out of a man’s house in 17 minutes exactly.

I have not manage to crack the code on how to perfect these rendezvous but I have been in enough car crashes to understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Firstly I try to avoid to log onto these apps when I’m super horny, it always seems like the only option at the time but in the majority of cases you end up blowing your load before you’re able to make it out the door. Then you have to deal with the crushing realisation that you just sent somebody a picture of your bumhole for absolutely no reason at all. A devestating moment that can only be compared to how George Galloway must feel when he remembers that he is a politician who pretended to be a cat drinking imaginary milk from the hands of ginger legend Rula Lenska on national television. Even if you can make it to the meet up without spaffing in your pants you’ll be so worked up by the time you get there that only horrendous comments will come out of your mouth. Words will be said that are usually reserved for coked up stock traders addressing their escorts. This will turn what could have been a weekly standing appointment could be cut down to a hasty finish and an immediate blocking.

A drink first is also a good idea, never food, but a drink can be nice. It’s always easier to sleep with someone you like even just a little bit. If this isn’t achievable because of time/logistics/horniness you should at least try to have a little bit of natter before the tonguing commences. In the past I’ve found myself in situations where due to a lack of caring the first person to receiving their going over has a splendid time while the poor sod that goes second receives a half-hearted hand job. There’s also nothing worse than finding out too late that you’ve gone and slept with a massive twat, the sort of arsewipe that will start talking about his quarterly bonus without being prompted while simultaneously insisting that he hates drama. It’s of utmost importance that these turds never receive even a second of pleasure without changing their entire personality.

My last piece of advice would be not put too all your eggs into to one bang. Dan might be nice, Dan might be good looking, Dan might even have a flat with under floor heating and bring you a sausage butty afterwards but there’s a good chance it’s gonna be a one off. If you, like I do regularly, romanticise the men that so much as cough in your vicinity (if they’re willing to share their influenza with me that has to be a good sign, right?) then you know how easy it is to get ahead of yourself with the ones that choose to sleep with you. Don’t be fooled though, when a guy is kind enough to fetch you a glass of water and ask you what you’re up to for the rest of the day, this is not an invitation. He’s just being polite. As it turns out you can be a slag and still maintain a Mr Darcy aura of chivalry. Even if things do develop into a fuck buddy setup, to receive any sort of validation from a fortnightly scheduled shag is flat-out sad.

I’m unsure if this advice will be of any use to anyone, I’ve never really followed it myslef. Give it a go though.

Girl Groups vs. Boy Bands: A Battle Between Wit and Wetness

Back when I was just an unassuming fruity little 8-year old a singing competition was shown on the telly, Popstars: The Rivals. I don’t remember this show very well but that’s probably just because Louis Walsh and Pete Waterman were judges. A TV pairing more redundant than a toast sandwich. But what was spawned from this show was a truly mesmerizing girl band. Hand-picked by the public from an indistinguishable crowd of chunky highlights and low rise jeans. They were called Girls Aloud.

Sound of the Underground was Girls Aloud’s debut single. It was actually the first single I ever purchased and it is by far the best. Starting with the breathy sex appeal of Sarah and Cheryl and climaxing with the powerhouse vocals of Nadine, the song is perfectly crafted. It’s release was genius trojan horse. Everyone expected that rival boy band One True Voice would win the race for number 1. Boy bands have traditionally fared much better than girl groups. Their wet blanket charm has a tendency to captivated teenage girls who do not yet have the insight to realise that they’re just five tossers in turtlenecks. The heartbreaking revelation that the one you fancy has sent a dickpic to a 17-year-old or turns up on the cover of Hello! with a hunky backing dancer above the caption ‘My Coming Out Story!’ One True Voice were a particularly soggy incarnation of the boy band. Their debut single was ‘Sacred Trust’ an indescribable turd of a song accompanied by a music video that tells the story of a bad 5-a-side football team, that appear to have been sponsored by Matalan, driving around an airport car park in a BMW that they can’t afford. The song was universally panned and inspired 14 million Dad’s of the prog rock era to say ‘What the fuck is this shite?’ One True Voice were trashed by the far superior Girls Aloud. The boys had graciously let the girls into their fortress of sickly emotion and were defeated by song about going out the lash. They were completely outmanoeuvred.

Girls Aloud’s debut single sounded like it may be a one off gem but this was not the case at all. In fact it was the first in a long line of lunatic songs that could only be sung by the girls. Their follow up single ‘No Good Advice’ was equally unpredictable in it’s structure and lyricism. The groups songs very rarely followed the formulaic structure of the average pop song (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-slightly different verse-chorus). Girls Aloud shunned this comfortable approach, favouring songs that were a patchwork of sounds, tempos and rhythms. The lyrics were equally as wild. Much of the time they actually made very little sense. It sometimes felt as if a notepad has been passed around along with a big ole’ fatty at an after party and everyone had written a line each. But this was a welcome change from the army of songs that skilfully rhymed ‘air’ with ‘care’. When Girls Aloud released ‘Love Machine’, from their sophomore album ‘What Will The Neighbours Say?’ it cemented their status as pop royalty. The classy tease of a song shimmies in your ears with ease. It’s release proved that the girls were no case of style over substance like so many pop groups, and yet they avoided the pretentiousness of acts that were trying so hard to put substance before style. Instead their style was their substance.

Although Girls Aloud are undoubtably my favourite girl group there is a long list of greats that made their way into my ‘pop classics’ playlist. All Saints, TLC, The Spice Girls and Sugababes are just a few others that have had not only great success but critical acclaim. The common link between them all is that they all had to find their niche to be successful. Unlike boy bands, who have the good fortune to be able to score a number one hit by sitting on bar stools and winging out a dreary version of a 1970’s ballad, girl groups have to have to possess an identity if they want to have any chance of a chart appearance.

All Saints were the anti-girl group, they weren’t there to be sexy, they weren’t there to dance for you, if you invited them to a party they would say that they’d come but they probably wouldn’t. They perspired a coolness that was unattainable by most and owned a sound that allowed teenage boys to openly admit that a girl group were actually alright. Their brand was much less fighting over the mirror and much more fighting over an old pair of Timberlands. The Sugababes (incarnations one and two) we’re the girls that lived in a different world than you. They didn’t spend their time begging strangers to buy them WKD’s outside of bargain booze. They were above that. They knew all of the best clubs to go to and were able to breeze in with their mates driving licence that looked nothing like them. They hung out with boys that were older than you and you were too immature to even get close to them. Look at you with your Hollister polo drenched in Lynx Africa, you need to take a long look in the mirror mate. You’re punching! The Sugababes deserve a special shout out for their talents. ‘Overload’ and ‘Freak Like Me’ are two of the best songs ever made. Not one of the best songs by a girl group or one of the best pop songs ever. Those sorts of qualifiers are patronising to their greatness, they’re just two of the best songs ever.

Finally there’s the most famous of them all, The Spice Girls. Five girls with five different looks who constantly dressed themselves as if they were attending a drag queens funeral. Which is pretty fantastic. They appeared from the darkness at a time when Britpop ruled. Music was dominated by a load of blokes with wank haircuts wearing oversized coats. There was some great music but a lot of it does feel like it was a contest to see who could sing in the most regional accept. Britpop music often sounded like spoken work poems paired with over the top backing tracks. But then the Spice Girls crashed onto the scene like the Hindenburg filled with glitter and taught people to have fun again. They were ridiculous, outrageous and they demanded attention. Yes ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ brought Oasis critical acclaim but ‘Spiceworld’ brought The Spice Girls to Nelson Mandela’s front door. So ask yourself who the real winners are. Their music was dismissed by some as immature and snubbed for being music primarily targeted a younger audience. An irritating criticism that I never understood. Why shouldn’t children be able to enjoy fun music. Were parents supposed to tie their children down and force them to listen to Richard Ashcroft inform them that life’s shit and they’ll probably end up being a smack addict. That’s why I loved Girls Aloud when I was a child. They loved life. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and have a blast. I did not want to walk on a beach with Chris Martin and talk about my feelings.

Although girl groups have to work hard to be successful credible artist I think that’s what makes them so brilliant. Having to discover their identity and needing to make such a strong case for being allowed to exist in the music industry has resulted in a long line of memorable acts who have released a catalogue of songs that have truly stood the test of time. It’s too easy for boy bands. You may be able to make a quick buck by getting a group of pink faced teenage boys to sing a Bee Gee’s cover but those songs will be used to clear the dance floor at the end of the night in twenty years time.