Arts and Entertainment Mel B is confirmed as a judge for the next series of America's Got Talent

Could Mel B be to America what Nicole Scherzinger is to Britain?

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

GIRL POWER

Just slogan spice? Or is it really happening?

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.

Books: Children's books

It's probably too late now to get hold of a Teletubby in anything other than book form - astonishingly there are still plenty of copies of Laa-Laa's Ball and The Flying Toast (BBC, pounds 2.50 each) around, as well as the Teletubbies Annual 1998 (BBC, pounds 5.50). Two year-olds are addicted to these fat, furry aliens and their horribly jaundiced baby companion in the same way that they were once addicted to Postman Pat and his black and white cat - for hopelessly passe kids, Collins have produced A Special Delivery From Postman Pat by John Cunliffe incorporating three new adventures in a single package (pounds 9.99). The drawback to giving any of these books is that you will be required to read them out loud at some point; discerning adults (or at least those who wish to remain calm over the Christmas hols) should search out a copy of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore instead (a new edition of this classic poem, magically illustrated by Christian Birmingham, is published by Collins, pounds 12.99). Children of all ages are entranced by this tale. Persuade them to read it turn and turn about on Christmas Eve, and they will revel in the growing sense of suspense and the old-fashioned world of firelight, snowy moonlit nights, stockings hung up and the distant sound of sleighbells it conjures up.

Have the Spices passed their sell-by date?

What goes up must come down, but the important question is when. Could it really be true that the age of the Spice Girls has passed as suddenly as it emerged?

Advertising Review: How to spice up a campaign

Polaroid

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".

Nick Leeson's smile

PROMISES LOVERS MAKE WHEN IT GETS LATE by Darian Leader, Faber pounds 9.99

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.

Business Comment: Spice fails to make EMI flavour of the month

Sir Colin Southgate has another three years to run at EMI until he becomes Ex-Spice. With the outlook patchy at best, he will just have to soldier on for the time being as Mixed Spice. Despite the phenomenal contribution of Geri, Mel B, Mel C, Emma and Victoria to EMI's bottom line (12 million sales and number one hits in 14 countries) the business as a whole is not firing on anywhere near that number of cylinders.

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.

style police; You too can look like Swampy...

...without preventing a single bypass. James Sherwood shows you how

How to be a real man without the spewing

Inevitably, women will expect more from their partners. Are the men up to it?
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