Saturday, 9 July 2016
Opinion: Spice Girls 'reunion' GEM is deflating and tragic
As a lifelong Spice Girls fan, I knew I’d be waking up to exciting news this morning. It is 20 years to the day since the girls released their debut single, Wannabe, and whether you like it or not, they went on to become a global phenomenon. What I didn’t prepare for was the eventuality that the news would be so tragic it would make me want to hold a ritual burning of my Spice Girls memorabilia, all set to a soundtrack of Victoria Beckham’s demos and B-sides.
The news, in case you haven’t heard, is that three of the Spice Girls are reforming and will now be going by the name of ‘GEM’ – that stands for Geri, Emma and Mel B, the only three that could be bothered to turn up to the party this time. It’s no surprise that Victoria didn’t get involved; why spend time miming along to tracks that barely feature your vocals when you could be using that time to look at David Beckham? More surprising, perhaps, is the absence of Melanie C, who apparently wishes to focus on her solo career. With her most recent chart positions mainly outside of the top 100, I can see why her career may need some ‘focus’, but I suspect her decision could have more to do with the fact that the girls are starting to look a little desperate.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally here for a Spice Girls reunion. When they first got back together in 2007, the world was ready. The Spice Girls had petered out in the early noughties without a definitive ending to their story, so it felt like we were getting the closure we needed. The day of the announcement was beautiful. The press went wild and Geri was back with her former band mates, although she clearly missed the ‘wear black’ memo, instead basing her aesthetic on a toilet roll cosy.
The comeback tour that followed was flawless but, sadly, they quit halfway through amid rumours of infighting. It left a bitter taste for many a Spice fan but, thankfully, we got a second chance when they gave a one-off performance at the 2012 Olympics. It was the perfect way to conclude their story – an event celebrating the best of British, broadcast to the entire world. They didn't disappoint, and it finally felt like the Spice Girls’ story had an ending.
The 20th anniversary was always going to be a special date in the calendar of a Spice Girls fan, but what I had hoped for was a documentary, a book or even a digital release of unheard material. Instead, we were presented with this excruciatingly bad video.
It’s hard to know where to begin when dissecting just how tragic it is, but a good starting point may be the fact that they’re not even in the same room. As they utter their pieces to camera like children in a nativity play, the production values of each clip are rather symbolic of their respective post-Spice careers. Mel B, who has the highest net worth and is the most active of the three, is in a well-lit room and filmed in high definition. At the other end of the spectrum we have Geri, who could really do with a few lessons on how to keep a steady hand when filming herself from the front camera of her iPhone. It’s hard to know whether GCSE Media Studies was the look they were going for, but the PowerPoint presentation-style text that follows certainly would suggest so (and don’t get me started on the two-dot ellipsis).
Production values aside, it’s the content of the video that concerns me the most. Once they’ve thanked us for being such wonderful fans, they announce that they are going to be throwing a party to celebrate their 20th anniversary. There is no mention of what this party entails or where it will be but, apparently, we’re all invited. This seems irresponsible, as everybody knows that parties like this always end in tears – broken vases, gatecrashers, vomit in the hallway and very angry parents at the end of it all. In addition to this, we are not told when the party will be. Now, perhaps this is just me being pedantic, but why has this party not already been organised? It’s the 20th anniversary today, so why are they sending out invites on the very day they are supposed to be celebrating? Everybody knows you set up a Facebook event at least a month in advance – poor planning, girls.
As a huge fan of the Spice Girls, I’m left feeling deflated. I’m always up for a party, and Lord knows I’d love a Spice-themed party, but I’m nervous about the prospect of new music as a three piece. What would a Spice Girls track be without Melanie C’s high-pitched ad libs at the end? What would a Spice Girls performance be without Victoria Beckham awkwardly pointing to the audience every ten seconds?
I’m glad you’re throwing a party, GEM, but as a long-standing worshipper at the Church of Spice, I think I’ll swerve on this occasion.