Girl Power was the chant of the mid 90s as British phenomenon known as the Spice Girls took the world by storm. Yes, it was cheesy pop but it was also instant individuality served up on a plate: nicknamed Ginger, Scary, Sporty, Posh and Baby, everyone could have a favorite spice…mine was Baby Spice.
Late June saw the return of this five-piece group - back together (again) for the first time since their reunion tour in 2005. And not everyone will share my enthusiasm but their comeback throws me back to my youth and love for the band. At the age of 13, I still remember the day that five spice became four due to Geri’s early departure. As the other girls waved (or pushed) her ‘Goodbye’ it made me think, how will things ever be the same again?
If you’ll allow the exaggeration, they changed the face of pop music forever. Yes, they were manufactured but their style shouted individuality. Sometimes pretty literally. What they lacked in musical talent they compensated for with personality, and in-your-face omnipresence. And so they confounded the critics and took center stage, pushing past a legion of boybands along the way.
Now all in their late 30s with a collection of 11 kids between them, the girls are back promoting the launch of their new West End musical. Written by British comic giant Jenifer Saunders and produced by Mama Mia talent Judy Craymer, it’s sure to be a successful show based on a back catalogue of hits.
The narrative focuses on one girl’s dream to become a star and her journey to do so, joining a girlband and entering a talent show to make it big. Its creators describe it as a ‘contemporary musical about the value of friendship in the face of fame and fortune’.
Victoria (or Posh) and Mel B (still Scary) clearly don’t fully support this claim, staying on opposite sides of the group as always. As is well reported, Victoria didn’t show for the dinner with the band after the premiere, fuelling rumors of a bitter feud between the two. Fingers crossed, 2 Become 1 for the next reunion. Still, they were back together doing what they do best…making money!
Now one would hope my music taste has changed a bit from when I was a kid (not really, the cheese is still on my playlist, but now it’s in X Factor packaging). But as soon as I hear a Spice Girl classic it brings me back to me dancing around my bedroom trying to practice the Zigazig Ah.
It would be good to pretend there is a deeper message. That beyond the cheese and hype, Spice Girls somehow spoke to a generation. Or that in being themselves they helped others stand up and be counted. But in reality that’s nothing to do with why I still have a special place in my heart for this raucous five-some. Yes, they are shit, but they’re good shit.
It’s just that the tunes take me straight back to the high school I hated - a place I had to suppress my inner love just to ‘fit in’. Now I’m out and proud and free to say ‘I love the Spice Girls, get over it!’
Viva Forever is sure to re-ignite the spice love and claim new fans along the way. What’s for certain is I’ll be in the front row in early December singing badly (as Posh did) to songs I still know the words to.
It’s sure to spice up my life, will you Say You’ll Be There? Check out the Spice Girls mega mix video below and practice your moves for the show. Performances are from 27 November.