Arts and Entertainment Andy Burrows tested his songs on his daughter, Chloe

Between them, they have recorded number one albums and have won awards for scoring soundtracks for Hollywood films. But when it came to looking for a sounding board for their recent Christmas collaboration, Andy Burrows and Ilan Eshkeri turned to a five-year-old girl.

The Things That Shaped Our Year: The Rise And Fall Of The Spice Girls

From the death of Diana to the birth of Dolly, and from the rise of Bridget Jones to the fall of the Spice Girls - our writers choose the 10 people and events which made 1997 so special

Film: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world ...

The World of Spice is a scary place - women rule and men serve only as sidekicks, villains and fall guys. It's not a bad place to visit, Ryan Gilbey says, but you wouldn't wanna live there.

The doctor's cure for over-exposure: a few weeks out of the spotlight

Nothing gives the British press more satisfaction than pulling someone down from a great height. Paul McCann, media correspondent, asks music industry experts if and how the Spice Girls can be saved from a media keen to write them off.

Letter: Boring Spice

Sir: Parents who queue to buy Spice Girls dolls this Christmas may receive a less than delighted response from their offspring. I asked a class of 11-year-olds to invent new versions of worn-out similes. The suggested replacement for "as dull as ditchwater" was "as dull as the Spice Girls".

The Way Out Spices: bringing that extra little something to girl power

The Spice Girls are an alarming phenomenon even at normal size. Translated into a larger-than-life dimension, on average 6ft tall plus stiletto heels, they are truly terrifying. Meet the Way Out Spice Girls, not girls but chaps. Spice-in-charge is Tarty Spice, the pouting, gorgeous, Ginger-Geri-lookalike, aka Steffan Whitfield, 27, poured into a curvy little sequinned number, spider-leg eyelashes aflutter. The rest of the team are Butch Spice (Paul Pure, 27, a dead ringer for Sporty Mel); Leery Spice (Karl Taylor, 25, far scarier than Mel B); Snooty Spice (Giles Bishop, 26, better legs than Posh Victoria) and Spice Rack (Mark Hobbs, 19, demure as Baby Emma herself). The Way Out Spice Girls take their name from the Way Out Club in east London, where they first formed the group as a one-off act. Their half-hour cabaret show includes the Spice Girls' repertoire and favourites like "It's Raining Men", "YMCA" and "We Are Family", and their proudest moment so far has been appearing in the real Spice Girls movie. Driving around London in full costume, the Way Out Spice Girls have been mistaken for the real thing; even in clubs, they claim it takes a while for the penny to drop. "People get within a few inches and suddenly go 'Oh no! They're geezers!'" says the ladylike Butch.

Bank lures graduates

CASHPOINTS

Five little rich girls

The Spice Girls are a modern marketing phenomenon, put together, passed around, and merchandised like soap

Maoris at war with Spice Girls

Maori leaders are on the warpath after reports that the Spice Girls had performed a traditional Maori war dance in jest. The group infuriated Maori cultural experts by fooling around with the Ka Mate haka - the version of the dance used by the All Black rugby team to intimidate opponents - on a promotional visit to Bali last week.

ELECTION COUNTDOWN : Extra hot Currie may not be so spicy after all

A bid by the daughter of the ex-minister Edwina Currie to become a sexy rival to the Spice Girls began as an elaborate hoax, it was claimed yesterday.

I was groped. So why am I laughing?

Followed home by a fondler, Emma Forrest finds herself playing Barbara Windsor to his Sid James

Spice Girls clean up the Brits

Five feisty young women who do not play a musical instrument between them were confirmed as the most popular group with the public in British pop music last night.

Letter: Keep Spice Girls away from Dad

Sir: What do The Independent and our father have in common? The Spice Girls! ("Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band", 13 December; letter, 14 December) What is happening to what has always been regarded in our family as a serious paper? Now, every morning, our father, who is a source of embarrassment at the best of times, quotes long, mostly boring facts about the Spice Girls, and how it must be right because it is in The Independent.

LETTER : Selfish Spice

Sir: It is an interesting facet of modern pop music that the Spice Girls , even though their songs are so tame and unchallenging, wish to be seen as selfish, arrogant, brutal and, ultimately, stupid. ("Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band", 13 December)

Spice Girls vote Thatcher the new leader of their band

It would be difficult to imagine Baroness Thatcher in hot pants, a spandex vest and patent-leather thigh boots, but yesterday that is precisely what we were invited to do.

Speaking up for the right to abortion

Political and personal silence on abortion speaks volumes for how the new wave of pro-lifers have hijacked media attention
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas