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The Spice Girls reunion - is it about Woman Power now?

PUBLISHED: 14:17 07 November 2018

The Spice Girls performing at the Brit Awards ceremony in 1997. Picture: FIONA HANSON/PA Wire

The Spice Girls performing at the Brit Awards ceremony in 1997. Picture: FIONA HANSON/PA Wire

Archant

It’s true, folks, four-fifths of the Spice girls are reunited for a six-date stadium tour. But can they recreate the excitement of their first incarnation?

(left to right) Geri Horner, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton and Melanie Brown. The Spice Girls will kick off a six-date UK stadium tour in June next year in Manchester as a four-piece without Victoria Beckham. Picture:  Dawbell/PA Wire(left to right) Geri Horner, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton and Melanie Brown. The Spice Girls will kick off a six-date UK stadium tour in June next year in Manchester as a four-piece without Victoria Beckham. Picture: Dawbell/PA Wire

It worked well for Take That... will it be a triumph for the Spice Girls?

The foursome − Victoria aka Posh Spice is not joining the others − which comprises Sporty, Scary, Ginger and Baby have announced a six-date stadium tour in June.

Mel B (Sporty) says she has been dreaming of a Spice Girls reunion since the band last performed together at the London Olympics.

She told The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2: “I’ve always said we’re going to get back together.

“I dream about it on a regular basis. I always have done. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a really big, inflated ego. I think we’re really good.”

They were and probably are a strong brand - were they really good? They certainly made an impact when, in 1996, the first Spice Girls hit, Wannabe assaulted our senses. What was this? Five women, not all of whom had great voices, not all of whom were great dancers, wearing some pretty dodgy outfits had the temerity to tell us what we want, what we really, really want.

It remains for me an unforgettable moment in the recent history of pop. But were they good? The consensus was “yes” and their image, coupled with something called “girl power” would make them one of then most forces in the music industry.

According to the online oracle Wikipedia, the slogan “girl power” is first credited to “US punk band Bikini Kill, who published a zine (I assume that’s short for magazine) called Girl Power in 1991.”

But it was the Spice Girls who made it a thing... whatever it meant.

The Oxford English Dictionary defined it as: “Power exercised girls; spec. a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness, and individualism. Although also used more widely (esp. as a slogan), the term has been particularly and repeatedly associated with popular music.”

This, of course, gives rise to the next question - when is a girl not a girl?

Even Baby Spice in her 40s and, speaking as a woman who was in her forties two decades ago, I did not regard myself as a girl; I was a woman. And so, perhaps they should consider a re-brand to “woman power” before they hit the stadia?

Oh, and regarding the announcement of a tour, it’s not about money. Mel B has said: “I actually don’t need the money. I’m quite rich. I’m doing it because I love you (Spice) girls.”

A short essay on “Girl Power - does it help to be rich” is a topic for another day, I think.

Spice Girls, a brief timeline

• The reunion tour kicks off in Manchester in June 2019.

• The group burst onto the scene in 1996 with their debut single, Wannabe

• The girls subsequently had a string of number one singles including Say You’ll Be There, 2 Become 1, and Spice Up Your Life.

• Their debut album, Spice, made them the fastest-selling British act since The Beatles.

• To date they have sold more than 85 million records.

• The Spice Girls plugged into the nineties Cool Britannia trend, endorsing everything from deodorant to dolls.

• A movie, Spice World, was released in 1997 and despite earning the Spices a joint Razzie award for Worst Actress, it was a box office hit.

• The band split in 2000 but pursued solo careers.

• A first reunion tour was announced in 2007

• In 2012 they performed at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony in London.

• Viva Forever! a stage musical, inspired by their songs launched in 2012 and closed after seven months.

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