Boybands. Remember them? They danced and shagged their way through the 1990s and early 2000s with names like 'Worlds Apart' and '911' and 'Upside Down' and 'Take That' and 'East 17', turning young girls' hearts to jelly and young boys' knobs to stone. They sold lots of records even if they weren't very good.
But then it all went wrong! The Spice Girls made them look a bit silly, Girls Aloud chopped off One True Voice's willies and threw them in the dustbin, and James Bourne picking up a guitar just wrecked the whole thing. Wrecked it! Are you reading this James? YOU RUINED IT FOR EVERYONE!
But there is good news. Undaunted by the Not Exactly Platinum sales of acts like Triple 8 (blub!) V (sob!) and D‑Side (not to worry!), assorted UK pop bigwigs are assembling a new wave of boybands.
Surely, the thinking goes, at least one of them has to work.
Let's see if any of this gets you in the mood — and is all subject to change. (That is our 'get out' in case we've got confused by what follows…)
First 'out of the blocks' will be HQ. Jamie Nelson (Kylie, Jamelia and so on) is A&Ring; them; one of their members is Brett from hilarious never-ran boyband troupe 5Boyz. Two other members are called Danny and Kai. It would be a‑m-a-z-i-n‑g if Kai was that fella who was in the original Busted lineup, wouldn't it? Another member is from Manchester. Could this herald the arrival of the world's first 'baggy' boyband?
No. Sound-wise they're sort of 'Off The Wall'-meets-Prince-meets-'Rock Your Body'. Viewers, does that sound to you as if it might be really quite good?
Writers and collaborators so far include the All Saints lot (cool! urban!) but they've also worked with The Snowflakers (a bit more interesting).
HQ — also apparently known as Heist — are on Innocent Records. Home of the hits, etc.
The band are due to pop up in March, with an album later in the Spring. It was all supposed to kick off this month but it went back, as is the way with these things.
For the time being, HQ are shacked up together — as is also the way with these things — in a house in Paddington. Marmalade sandwiches for table three, please!
Mercury Records are also throwing their hat in the ring. Safe Management (Spice Girls! Five! Etc!) are doing this lot and the big idea is "club pop".
Which is to say, Sugababes-meets-Black Eyed Peas. (This presumably means various members will either leave the band and/or wet themselves on stage.)
This lot won't 'hit' before the Autumn. But when they do, three of them will be white and two of them will be black.
And then there's Sony/BMG, who are going for an, ahem, "traditional boyband" in the vein of Another Level, with involvement from the management behind The 411. There are four of them — let's hope none of this lot become more well known for sticking their toe up Jordan.
The Sony lot are currently putting songs 'on hold'. ('On hold' traditionally means going, 'Oh, we want to record that song, don't let anyone else have it', and then either never releasing it or being dropped before it ever comes out.)
The idea with this lot is that they seem really American, which means they've been working with a load of American producers and writers. Woo — credible.
The boys in the band are Daniel, Ashton, Karl-with-a‑K and Carl-with-a‑C. It's just like they say — you wait for one boyband member called Carl to come along, and then two come along at once, etc.
Hilariously, one of the members of the Sony/BMG group cleared off… To be in HQ. (Or something like that.) WE HEART BOYBAND INCEST.
You know, the best thing we've heard about one of the new groups is that, having given one boy a place in the band, they decided to boot him out when he told them he was gay, which strikes us as a little odd.
Let's hope they don't have any problems with the remaining members — the lad who was booted out recognised one of the others from G‑A-Y…