Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spicing Up My Life

During the last little while, it has become a theory of mine that almost everyone has a deep down secret love of the Spice Girls. Regardless of whether or not she cares to admit it, every girl between the ages of 12-30 has pondered which Spice they would be if they were in the group.
The Spice Girls back together? I was suspicious from the beginning. At the wise old age of 24, I could now see that the whole group just screamed of merchandising. I called bull on the whole Spice Girls machine. I saw through this scam, and was slightly offended by it. They had their run, and it was all well and good back when I was 14, but now, it just seemed a little old. A little desperate almost.

“You’re going to see the Spice Girls….are you joking?”

Okay, so five months later, there I was buying tickets to the whole charade. I was still skeptical and slightly cynical about the whole thing, but the 14 year old in me practically begged and bullied me into buying tickets, so I did. As the concert crept closer, I will admit, I started to get a little excited. It was a long time coming though. 10 years later, and I finally was going to see the Spice Girls live. They hadn’t seemed to change much. Or perhaps they had changed, but for the purposes of making some money, they pretended they hadn’t. Whatever the case, it worked.
Whenever I told people of my big adventure to come, I could detect a sense of mocking in their responses. “Yes, I am going to see them, and it is going to be their last show ever. It’s going to be great!!” I would say, secretly thinking, oh lord, the 90 dollars I spent on that ticket could be put too much better use. Food perhaps. Bills. Boring adult things.

“Okay...right. Have fun then!” Same response every time.

Underneath everyone’s I’m too cool for that exterior, I suspected they were all secretly jealous. They just couldn’t get past the, been there, done that line of thinking.

Back during the true reign of the Spice Girls, it didn’t take long for Spice Fever to hit me and my friends. So what, we thought, if their lyrics were simple, their clothes skanky, and their declarations of “Girl Power!” trite. We were 14 and we ate it up. They didn’t need to be great singers; which they by no means were (or are); they were relatable…and fun. We soon developed a weekly routine of watching Spice World, and we began to refer to each other as our assigned Spices. I was Sporty; less because I had any athletic ability, and more because I had long brown hair, and owned ADIDAS tearaways. I, and my counterparts, Ginger, Posh, Baby and Scary, otherwise known as Lauren, Tiffany, Leah and Sara, knew all the words to every Spice Girls song, as well as the accompanying dance. We even entered a Spice Girls look-alike contest at the mall. We didn’t win. The summer of Spice was one of my best ones yet, and looking back on it, I think it would be pretty hard to top. So there I was, 10 years later, going to what may be the last Spice Girls concert ever.

I suppose one could understand why I felt slightly nostalgic, yet conflicted about the whole thing. A little bit like I was compelled to let the 14 year old me go to this concert.
And besides, maybe “Girl Power” is not so trite. In the Spicy sense of the word, I got to thinking what it might actually mean. It is about friendship, it’s about love, about support and mostly it is just about having fun. It doesn’t need to go any deeper than that. Perhaps the Spice Girls were never meant to be a feminist movement. It was more of a get up, dance and be with your friend’s movement. A celebrate life movement. And that summer when we were 14, we embodied that.

So there I was at the concert with one of my best friends (who oddly enough was not one of my aforementioned dance partners of yesteryear). The cynical 24 year old part of me was still there when we got to the concert. She was there all the way through the snowstorm we drove through to see the concert, and she was there when the hour spent preceding the Spice Girls entrance was spent being inundated with messages to check out our merchandise stand! Buy a t-shirt…they are only 50 bucks. Buy a book, buy a button, buy a headband, and so on and so forth. I stood there thinking, aha! I knew it…they had this whole reunion thing planned from the get go! The t-shirts were probably made back in 1998. They would let themselves fade into obscurity, only to one day come rushing back with their cries of “girl power!”, and rake in millions. They would charge exorbitant prices for their merchandise, and pimp out their solo careers. Mmmmhmm, I thought, sucked in again.

But then they rose from the stage, starting to sing “Spice Up Your Life”. The excitement bubbled up in me. The 14 year old in me told the 24 year old in me to shut the hell up, remember what Girl Power means, dance, sing, and let her enjoy this. So I did.

The Spices put on an excellent last show, full of energy, colour, and nostalgia. They acquired a whole new generation of fans, and they assured their old ones that girl power will live on long after the last chords of “Spice Up Your Life” have ended.

Let’s face it: I’m not going to lie. If in another 10 years they decide to tour again, I’m totally there. If there is one thing I’ve learned through my journey with the Spice Girls, it’s to stop thinking so much, and just have fun. And that’s my 24 year old self saying that.

1 comment:

sp said...

Well that certainly spiced up my life, reading it brought back some wonderfull memories of yesteryears
I think yu should put all your R&Rs' together and call it a book.
Great stuff, as usual'.
Mom

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