It can’t be for the money. Except for Mel B. And she surely can’t be short of a few bob. So I don’t really get the point. The Spice Girls may have been bigger than sliced bread and cocaine for a couple of years but the announcement of their re-union (again) hasn’t filled me with a lot of joy. As you can imagine it takes quite a lot to fill me with joy. They’re a funny bunch the SG’s. For people of my age they stand as one of the great cultural milestones in time. I meant great as in big, not great as in great. Quite how well they represented girl power and feminism still remains to be seen because clearly we’re not quite there yet. I imagine the #MeToo movement might need a bit more than Posh in a PVC catsuit and an eye full of Scary nipples. Zig-a-zig-ah indeed.
As a student during the first wave of ‘Spicemania’ I can candidly say that I fancied every one of them at one point or another. Frankly I was so lame with women that I didn’t have a choice. If any one of them had approached me at the students union bar my head would have exploded with embarrassment anyway. What I saw then, as a young man, is not what I see now. Mel B seemed exotic and brassy though in retrospect she now appears to me about as exotic as a bingo caller from Pontefract. By all accounts she has followed the Kerry Katona course of choosing a string of thoroughly unsuitable partners, dropping a few sproggs and then standing back from the dust cloud and wondering what to do next with her life. She was also bonkers and in your face. Which grated after a while.
Geri was equally bonkers but if anything seemed most attainable on account of the fact she was ginger and came from Watford. In any other world she’d probably be working in Ryman’s. Perhaps we might have bumped into each other. Emma Bunton was just lovely and somehow managed to stay that way. Mel C also seemed fairly grounded and had ‘the voice’ (which in a group of all vocalists was always a bit of a worry) and that just left Posh. If we use a fairly questionable scale Posh is the most successful of the Spice Girls; if by successful you mean marrying a footballer, having several abysmally named children and starting a fashion line that loses huge amounts of money and prices itself way above its weight. I fancied Posh for a very long time until the anorexic pout just got too much. She missed her chance.
What is more remarkable about the Spice Girls is just how rubbish their musical legacy is. It’s not even shower proof. Even taking into account Mel C and that ‘voice’ none of them had a credible solo career and listening to their heyday as a band it’s not really a surprise. In the end ‘The Spice Girls’ was a massive marketing success but in parallel a massive musical failure. Nostalgia may misinform you otherwise but let me clear things up by saying that they released a grand total of 0 great songs during their lifetime. Granted ‘2 become 1’ and ‘Viva Forever’ (brilliantly timed to coincide with Geri’s departure) were both catchy little ballads but the rest are the kind of songs only a tone deaf teenage girl would like: ‘Say You’ll Be There’, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, ‘Stop’, ‘Mama’, ‘Too Much’ and ‘Holler’ are all pretty crap at best. Their signature tune ‘Wannabe’ sounds like a family of big-boned squirrels being dropped into a vat of boiling soup, but there’s even worse to come. Special mention goes to ‘Spice Up Your Life’ which should have won some kind of award for being one of the most offensive, jarringly awful sequence of sounds to be found anywhere in the history of human music, recorded or otherwise.
And yet millions will go and see them and their bank balances will blossom once more. I have a sneaking suspicion that Posh may well regret missing out on this one but then I could be wrong. Sometimes you have to grow up and move on. And sometimes you have to make a poor excuse and stay at home. Millions of middle aged women, and men of a certain persuasion, will clamber over each other to get to stand right at the front and wave the Union Jack and pretend, just for a couple of hours, that it’s 20 years ago and the world isn’t turning slowly to shit. But you know what? That’s not a bad thing. The music may have been pretty bad (or very bad) at best but at least it was their voices when they sang and they didn’t rely on ‘collaborations’ and they gave Liam Gallagher a run for his money. They were a good laugh and gave colour to the world and above all they enjoyed it as much as we did and vice versa. OK, 3 of them slept with Robbie Williams but we’ll put that down to bad taste and the blunders of youth.
They’re alright, The Spice Girls. A way better craic than Boyzone, almost worth the ticket. Shame about the music though. Sod it, Viva Spice Girls.
G B Hewitt. 13.11.2018
Don’t get me started on Spice World: The Movie. It may be the worst film yet made.