CRIES AND WHISPERS: Spice up your life with a deodorant ... or a crisp ... or a lolly

Sorry to go on about the Spice Girls again, but if it wasn't me it would be someone else. As the album title rightly says, this is Spiceworld. There's nowhere you can avoid them. On every billboard in the land, they're waiting, grinning away, taking a breather from advertising their own products only in order to advertise someone else's. If you've got a furniture warehouse or a second-hand car showroom you want to publicise, give them a call. They posed for Channel Five, remember, so they must be just girls who can't say no.

The man to blame for all this is Simon Fuller, who is, as of a week ago, the Spice Girls' ex-manager. Since they sacked him, numerous newspaper jeremiads have predicted the end of the Spiceworld as we know it. "Pop group minus svengali equals McDonalds employees," they chorus, and then, illogically, they cite the relative failure of the Girls' latest single and album as evidence - even though these "failures" occurred during Fuller's reign.

I'm with the Spice Girls. Their commercial promiscuity is more or less unprecedented in pop history. Under Fuller's management, they've been the first group to view their career principally in terms of sponsorship cash, the first to have said, in effect, "Do you really think that Louise, Boyzone and Dannii Minogue are in it for the sake of their art? Of course not. We're all out to get rich here, so let's do it quickly."

This approach must have made sense on paper. After long years of work, Take That got one single into the US Top 10, and split up soon after. Who would have imagined the Spice Girls would do any better? The smart money would have been on middling success in Europe, followed by careers presenting Blind Date and accepting alimony from football players, so it must have seemed logical for their boss to make as fast a buck as he could, and to accept endorsement deals as indiscriminately as Tony Slattery accepts TV jobs.

But the Spice Girls haven't followed the standard trajectory of a teeny pop group. Instead, they are the most high-profile band in existence, with an eminence in America which British acts just aren't supposed to have. If they'd spent more time on their music, and less on over-exposing themselves, this success could have grown for years. But Fuller never got to grips with how big the Girls had become, and he had them holding up cans of fizzy drink so often that you'd think they'd been out of work since a 1970s sitcom cameo.

For pop stars of their standing, this scramble for cash is demeaning. Impulse, Asda and Chupa Chups have a horribly parochial ring, while the Girls' willingness to be out-acted by cuddly Gary Lineker in a naff crisp ad is reminiscent of those Clive James items, in which Robert De Niro or Jodie Foster advertised scented toilet cleaner on Japanese TV. The Spice Girls are outselling U2. They could have afforded to leave smalltime stuff to Ulrika Jonsson.

By assuming that his charges had a short shelf-life, Fuller has only succeeded in shortening it. He has acted as more of a Colonel Tom Parker than a Brian Epstein. Instead of portraying the Girls as pop stars with potential - future Chers, Madonnas and Diana Rosses - he portrayed them as the greedy cows next door. If the golden goose really is on its last legs, then it's his tactics, rather than his dismissal, that have killed it.

How many people had actually heard of Neil Hamilton before he pulled off the admittedly impressive feat of indulging in conduct that fell below the standards expected of an MP? It's hard to put an exact figure on it, but approximately: none. So we can all agree that his fame stems from his being a liar, and as there are lots of liars in the world, we can wonder what makes him so worthy of TV exposure. He and his wife have been haunting talk shows ever since the Election, making grotesque speeches about how they can now relate to the unemployed and destitute.

Recently, his whey face appeared on the trailers for Rory Bremner's new series, and he was out to justify himself on Thursday's Clive Anderson All Talk. Can we please, please stop giving precious air time to this shameless emetic? If it's notoriety that producers are after, wouldn't Mad Frankie Fraser be better value for money?

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'