I’m often asked where I stand on the Spice Girls. I usually answer: with one foot on Scary’s mouth and the other stamping alternatively between Posh, Ginger, Sporty, and Baby.
The Spice Girls don’t fit into my blueprint for a perfect world. The problem with these invented bands is the same as with nuclear weapons: we can’t uninvent them. The best we can hope to do is encase them in concrete and dump them in the mid-Atlantic trench, hoping that in a few hundred years, our descendants might have the technology to deal with them.
‘Must you always reduce things to absolutes?’ asked Judy this morning. She was sitting by the phone, trying to get through on the Spice Girl hotline to order tickets for their world tour.
‘So I take it that you think it unreasonable to scuttle Ginger Spice in the middle of the ocean?’ I asked. ‘I hear that these wrecks can be very good for fish. Can you imagine all the schools of cod that would be attracted to breed between her thighs? We’d soon have the fish stocks back up to pre-Spanish levels.’
Judy just glared. She loves the Spice Girls. She plays them at every opportunity. I could recite lyrics to you but then I’d have to flagellate myself for hours as punishment. You might say that Judy’s taste in music is not unlike a ex-Beatle’s taste in women. This morning, I was browsing the web when some music started to play on a website I’d visited.
‘Oh,’ she gasped, ‘what’s that?’
I well knew what it was but feared mentioning it. ‘What’s what?’ I asked, trying to close the bloody browser window.
It was too late. Judy had discovered The Swingle Singers and, an hour later, their complete back catalogue was on its way to our home. Hence our prolonged discussion on music and why Judy had decided to defy me and book tickets to see the Spice Girls.
‘You’re just moody because I’m going to see them live,’ she replied, cradling the phone on her shoulder as she waited for an operator.
‘You’re almost right,’ I replied. Judy looked surprised but before she could offer to buy me a ticket, I thought I better explain. ‘It just depends on how we choose to pronounce “live”. I admit that I’m disappointed to see them live.’
She tutted. ‘Again with the overstatement for comic effect. You’ll be asking Jeremy to see if you can get a column in a newspaper.’
‘Not a bad idea,’ I replied. ‘You’d think that the Guardian or The Telegraph would want a man of my strong convictions, ready wit, and able to turn out a vast number of words in a short period of time. On a good day, I’d say I could write twice as much as Rod Liddle. And some of it would even make sense.’
‘Though not on the Spice Girls,’ smiled Judy. She was thinking, I suppose, that she’d won the argument. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women like Judy are part of the problem. The first thing you do when you want to cure a person of a habit is to make them admit they have a problem. Spice Girl fans stand in the way of our curing the poor things of the delusions they suffer. The Spice Girls have made millions through songs that have all the musical complexity of a bag of manure falling over in a heavy gale. Rather than being fashion icons, they dress like transvestites and make Danny La Rue appear conservative. Yet beneath the glitzy surface there are further glitzy surfaces. Dig a little deeper and you’ll come out on the other side wondering what happened to the middle.
‘I’m going for a walk,’ I said as Judy carried on humming like a Swingle Singer.
‘Hmmmm boop boop da dee dah da da,’ she said.
She was still saying when I came back with my coat.
‘I might be some time.’
‘Dee da doo de da…’
‘I’m thinking of faking my own death and rowing a canoe to Panama with Bill Oddie.’
‘Ya de dah doo dee da de da dum de da…’
There was no point arguing with that. Between the Swingles and the Spices, it’s a wonder that I have the enthusiasm to keep on drawing breath.