OK, OK, so the EYHO Blog is certainly not the first site on the Net to report this news but nevertheless the demise of one of Sheffield?s finest exports, The Long Blondes, deserves a brief but heartfelt obituary.

News of the band?s split first reached my ears via Tuesday?s NME newsletter (yeah, sorry folks, I have always meant to unsubscribe to this since it?s like the newsletter equivalent of having a rapist drop a dog shit through your letterbox every week) but if I hadn?t happened to be sufficiently bored to bother reading it I might?ve missed the sad tidings for a few more days.

The reason for the split was guitarist and principal songwriter Dorian Cox?s recent stroke which had had a debilitating effect on his guitar playing: ?The main reason for this is that I suffered from a stroke in June and unfortunately I do not know when/if I will be well enough to play the guitar again,? said Cox on the band?s homepage. Sad news indeed yet somehow refreshing to see a band call it a day not because of arguing about percentages, royalties and who?s fucking who, but due to a genuine, and ultimately tragic, medical problem.

Cox, if you are a fan of the band, is the lyrical jackanapes who gave us classics such as ?Lust in the Movies?, ?Only Lovers Left Alive? and ?Heaven Help the New Girl?. But perhaps his two stand-outs in the Long Blondes? discography were ?Once and Never Again? and the mighty ?Giddy Stratospheres?.

?Once and Never Again? tells the story of a self-harming teenager, clearly devoid of a future as she doesn?t have a boyfriend. ?Nineteen, you?re only nineteen for God?s sake. You don?t need a boyfriend!? wails front woman Kate Jackson while knowingly adding ?Another drama by the kitchen sink tonight, you said you cut yourself whilst washing up the knives, another week off school won?t do you any good, coz I know how it feels to be your age.? Wise words indeed for anyone unlucky enough to have been nineteen.

Cox very cleverly points out the advantages of experience over youth: ?You know I?m not so young. I spend an hour getting ready every day. And still I end up looking more or less the same. But I could show you a thing or two. Oh, I could show you the ropes?? And while we all might wish to be just a little bit younger than we are, Cox reminds us, ?Oh, how I?d love to feel a girl your age, your age, once and never again!?

This witty, intelligent track with a delightfully poppy beat and silky vocals from Kate Jackson is sure to have struck a chord with anyone seemingly careering non-stop towards thirty and make them have second thoughts about wishing to be a silly, fucked-up teenager again. You see, it?s no so bad as you get older. At least that desire to slash your wrists every time a one-night stand doesn?t call back fades away.

Perhaps the Long Blondes? signature song though was ?Giddy Stratospheres?; a solid, thumping indie track which broke them in the UK and put Sheffield on the map as somewhere which could be super-cool as opposed to somewhere everyone thought was just a bit dismal. All about a man?s valiant but ultimately vain efforts to get into a girl?s knickers it?s perhaps THE example of the Long Blondes? particular brand of nudge-nudge-wink-wink knowingness and acid-tongued wit: ?Your mother, call your mother, even she?s surprised that this is how you want to spend your nights indoors. You never call too often. What?s up? Have you forgotten what it?s like to have her on all fours??

The song first appeared on a sexy baby-blue 7? from the appropriately-titled Angular Records back in 2004 and became something of an indie-disco hit. The success of this track ? backed up on the 7? by the hilarious ?Darts? and the Grease-style masterpiece ?Polly? ? combined with the thrift store chic of the band themselves (no one could pull off berets and coloured tights quite like La Jackson earning her a place on NME?s Cool List) really set the non-blonde 5-piece on the route to stardom.

Two splendid LPs (?Someone to Drive You Home? and ?Couples?) and one singles compilation later (?Singles?) and the band have bitten the dust.

You might think the EYHO Blog an unusual platform to mourn the passing of an indie-band from the UK ? after all, they were pop, had mainstream success, appeared on Top of the Pops, were regularly written about in rags like the NME ? yet the Long Blondes transcended their mainstream popularity and remained fun, witty, looked great and sounded great. They added a splash of irony and Carry On film innuendo to a music scene brimming to bursting with cheeky young lads singing about screwing girls and how rubbish their hometowns were.

The music of the Long Blondes spoke for itself and they were a very welcome addition to the mid-2000s Cool Britannia revival. All I can do now is to wish Dorian Cox a speedy recovery and the rest of the band the best of luck in whatever projects they choose to pursue now that the line under the Long Blondes chapter in the great book of British music has finally been drawn.

?I kissed you in the shower, I kissed you in the car. If you didn?t like me, why?d you let it get this far?? The Long Blondes ? ?Polly?


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