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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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones