Girls Aloud. They came, they conquered, they went away and came back and conquered a bit more but it wasn't very con­vin­cing because Cheryl had already blown the ending with that bit in her auto­bi­o­graphy, they cleared off again.

Anyway it's difficult for all of us so here are some dim, pathetic rays of optimism (trans­la­tion: we're in denial) that we can all cling to in this dark time.

1. They haven't actually said they've split up


Their statement just says they've come to the end of their incred­ible time together. Maybe they know that the rest of their time together will be pretty mediocre. Maybe there's an average new album on its way. IT'S FINE GIRLS ALOUD, AT THIS STAGE WE'LL TAKE AVERAGE.

2. Let's look at that statement in more detail

Girls Aloud 'split' statement

However nuanced or gram­mat­ic­ally cavalier one's approach to split state­ments might be, it's extremely unusual (and actually quite difficult) to leave a full stop floating between two words like this. The way this usually happens is if you've deleted the end of a sentence. So we conclude that 'we have now come to the end of our incred­ible time together' actually led to something that either qualified the statement or offered some sort of hope to sad fans. Why was it deleted? What did it say? "…but maybe we'll meet again in the future"? "…and as for the future, who knows"? "…and yes we agree that 'Girl Overboard' should have been a single, sorry about that"? We may never know.

3. The fact that they want it to seem like a split is actually a better indication that they're serious about a comeback than going on hiatus would have been

Amazing as Girls Aloud might have been in almost too many ways to com­pre­hend, the band never made too many decisions that didn't have a big bag of cash attached. And the bag of cash they'll get for a comeback in 2017 will be a lot bigger if people think they have properly split up. Ideally, for a big reunion to really seem exciting they would have staged a huge falling out, but maybe that's still to come. Just remember, over the coming weeks, months and years: anything that makes it seem like Girls Aloud will never get back together is just a carefully con­struc­ted ruse to make their eventual comeback seem even more exciting (and lucrative).

4. Even if they're serious about splitting up, they might be back anyway

It is essential for most modern celebrit­ies and per­formers to 'recharge' their fame every few years. Cheryl may well be exempt but for Sarah, Kimberley, Nadine and Nicola it's possible that their passions away from the band — however cre­at­ively rewarding they might be — will require a bit of a jumpstart in the coming years. And for these five artists a Girls Aloud tour, single, TV-talent-show-search-for-the-new-Kimberley-because-she's-having-none-of-it or whatever will be the best way to get things moving again.

5. They don't need to be a five-piece

Bring on the sub-units. Is now the time for Chimola to release their debut single? YES.

6. The beating heart of Girls Aloud is still there

Girls Aloud, the ITV girlband who were probably going to be a crap version of Atomic Kitten, became the Girls Aloud we are sad about losing today because from the very first wobbly guitar twang of 'Sound Of The Underground' their music estab­lished a band identity that allowed each member's per­son­al­ity to even­tu­ally — during the second album campaign — flourish and make sense. Well Brian Higgins has not split up. He still exists as a music-making person. All we really need is one song a year that's as good as 'Call The Shots' and life will be man­age­able.

7. If they'd have made another studio album it might not have been very good

It seemed pretty clear that 'Beautiful 'Cause You Love Me' was the band's favourite among the new songs from 'Ten'. But 'Beautiful 'Cause You Love Me' was not exactly what anyone wanted from a Girls Aloud single. This makes us nervous about what a full studio album might have been like.

8. Their solo endeavours might actually be really amazing

The first Nicola album laid the found­a­tions for a future mas­ter­piece. Cheryl delivers at least one great song with each album campaign. Pop will be a worse place without Nadine's extraordin­ary vocals. Kimberley seems to have 'found her groove', as it were. And the world is surely crying out for a Run For Your Wife sequel.

9. They don't want to be together. What are we going to do, force them to release an album of incredible anarchic electro-stadium-euphoripop anthems at gunpoint?

Actually, let's be honest, that's not the worst idea of all time. "If you love someone set them free," Sting once sang. Well fuck you Sting. You didn't know the pain we are feeling today. You never had to deal with losing Girls Aloud. The thing is, would it really be so bad to lock up Girls Aloud and force them to make an album a year for the rest of their lives? Obviously there are a few moral grey areas we'd need to look into here but come on, where's the real harm in this? We'll put them in a house, keep them fed and watered, and everything will be as fine as long as they sing for us. SING FOR US GIRLS ALOUD. DON'T LEAVE US. DON'T LEAVE US. NOT NOW. NOT LIKE THIS.

10. In all seriousness, ten years of amazingness is fine

Sometimes pop just has to move on, and this is one of those times. Farewell Girls Aloud. You were extremely good for an extremely long time, and you made us extremely happy.