The real stars know when to call it a day

As Mike Skinner calls time on The Streets, Fiona Sturges says that Girls Aloud would do well to consider a similar coda

It is the habit of successful musicians to stay in the game long after their muse has departed. Like the drunk who doesn't know when to leave the party, they remain oblivious to their dwindling audience, their increasing irrelevance and their ability to bore the pants off anyone who crosses their path.

Certainly, it takes a pop star of some calibre and class to know when to quit. So, bravo Mike Skinner, the Bambi-eyed artist formerly known as The Streets, for announcing his retirement after five albums and 10 years as one of pop's prime movers.

A decade ago, Skinner was a fresh, witty and articulate artist who encapsulated what it was to be young, British and male at the start of a new century. Fast forward a decade and, even though his music is still feted by critics and fans, he has come to understand that, as a wealthy pop star whose life consists of interviews and awards ceremonies, he no longer speaks for the masses. More to the point, his heart isn't in it.

Now, compare Skinner's actions with those of Girls Aloud, the multi-million selling girl group who were formed in 2002 out of the TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals. In nine years they have transformed themselves from identikit pop wannabes to a precision-tooled, hit-making machine with 20 consecutive top 10 singles under their diamante-encrusted belts. Recently, in attempt to dispel the doubts continually cast as to their future, Kimberley Walsh announced that the group are not going their separate ways. Indeed, she says that they will never, ever split up. Really? Not even when they have fallen out of gossip-mag favour, when their music has descended into self-parody, when their looks have been stretched into Desperate Housewives-style grimaces and they have been usurped – as they inevitably will – by younger, fitter models?

Besides, surely they must know that if they don't split up, check into rehab, and retreat behind outsized shades to the countryside, they will never be able to get back together in ten years for the triumphant, money-spinning reunion a la Take That.

In fairness, Girls Aloud's musical cachet is still high, with no real challengers to their girl-group crown. But with their de facto leader Cheryl Cole's TV diary block-booked until 2064, Sarah Harding nurturing both acting and modelling careers and the other three releasing solo LPs, Girls Aloud's long-term future doesn't look especially workable. So wouldn't now be the ideal time to go? Apparently not, especially when there's still a brand name to cling to.

Then again, rare is the musician who bows out gracefully during their creative and commercial peak. Would that Oasis have given up after two brilliant albums rather than limping on, making increasingly dreary music while airing their sad sibling rivalry in public. The same might be said for Aerosmith, once the height of Seventies blues-rock cool who later sunk into sappy balladry that proved depressingly popular among the soft-rock brigade.

Of course, it is the luxury of wealth that allows the more sensible and far-sighted pop star to get out while the going it good. But that doesn't make it any less laudable. With his announcement of retirement, Mike Skinner may well have been following the lead of Brian Eno, who left Roxy Music when the band was at its height, after he found himself thinking about the laundry while on stage. Talk Talk handed in their resignation on a similarly creative high, following the release of their post-rock masterpiece Laughing Stock. More recently, Lily Allen announced her retirement last spring after four highly successful years in the business.

Like Allen, Skinner now has the opportunity to take stock, take a holiday and ponder his next move. Meanwhile, as long as he resists the lure of the comeback tour, the music and legacy of The Streets will remain gloriously unblemished.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?