WhatsApp groups everywhere exploded last week with the announcement that Girls Aloud will reform and go on tour next year. I have been doing my best to indoctrinate my four-year-old in the sound of the underground for a long time now. She has completely bought in to the idea – and why wouldn't she? Girls Aloud songs are pure pop perfection.
I can't believe that it is just over two decades since Girls Aloud was formed on the reality TV show Popstars: The Rivals. Remember when watching these reality shows was one of the highlights of the week?
In their first single Sound of the Underground, they told us that they needed "no good advice" and that they were going to "call the shots". There was something really different about them from the very beginning. I was never really into The Spice Girls, but I loved Girls Aloud. (Some of their lyrics haven't aged well, it will be interesting to see if they are changed for these new live shows).
The band split up 11 years ago, and are getting back together to play the hits, and celebrate their bandmate Sarah Harding "in the most enormous, magical way". Sarah died from breast cancer in 2021. She was 39.
Reunions are interesting. Salacious, clickbait headlines often feed the need for gossip and willingness to believe that a group of women couldn't possibly get on.
It is no secret that the members of Girls Aloud didn't see eye to eye a lot of the time. I remember watching the Girls Aloud Off the Record series on E4 in 2006, which followed the girls on tour and gave insight into their lives on tour and the band dynamics.
How many of us can say that we get on with all our work colleagues? These very young women were thrown into a band together and expected to make a go of it despite huge pressure to deliver on the way they looked, sounded and acted at all times. Apparently Nadine and Cheryl didn't get on well at all. Maybe they didn't.
Nadine Coyle was 18 when she was chosen to be in Girls Aloud. Two years before that, she was disqualified from the Irish equivalent of Popstars: The Rivals because she lied about her age. Remember that?
- Girls Aloud reunion tour comes to Belfast next May
- Nadine Coyle says Girls Aloud didn't fall out – because there was no friendship to begin with
- Kimberley Walsh reveals how Girls Aloud will mark their 20th anniversary
She was young, possessed a great talent and was desperate to be famous. I'm delighted that she got her chance to shine. She is a phenomenal singer with true star quality. She gets so much stick about her thick Derry accent and takes it in her stride. I love her for it.
It's fantastic to see the women side by side, lovingly in the new promotional photos. The women of Girls Aloud look older – because they are – and to me, they appear a lot stronger.
All too often, in whatever they do together, a group of women are pitted against each other. This is particularly true of the entertainment industry, which breeds insecurity and paranoia. It is all too easy to fall for this, particularly when young.
Unfortunately, losing a friend at a young age, or a friend being diagnosed with a terminal illness, are life events which bring what really matters in life into sharp focus. We can become so consumed by trivial things that aren't important, naivety and insecurity can allow us to be pitted against others and we lose our way. We can't see the wood for the trees and friendships can easily drift or disintegrate.
I'm not sure if true friendship always shines through. We all change and evolve as people as we get older. We make mistakes and it can take time to admit those mistakes – firstly to yourself. They might never be admitted to others. It takes real character to admit wrongdoing and to try and make amends.
I have had two such experiences recently. On both occasions I have been shocked at how relieved I have felt that the mutual bad feeling has been addressed, and finally put to bed.
My advice – if you have wronged someone, and you miss them, say sorry and rebuild. It is not an easy thing to do, but it might be one of the most satisfying things you will ever do for yourself.