Yes, Geri - it's hard to break out when you're cast in plastic

Share
Related Topics
WHAT most amazed me about Geri "Ginger" Spice's departure from the Fab Fivesome was that she said two years of superstardom had left her "disillusioned and exhausted".

Exhausted I can countenance: think of the Pan European tour, the numerous videos, the endorsement of everything from Chupa-Chups to Impulse Bodyspray. Simply the amount of different costumes demanded by Spiceworld The Movie were enough to give everyone nervous exhaustion.

But disillusioned? For a band that invented the glorious manifesto of Girlpower?

Indeed, "girls" is the wrong label for the Spices; they aren't girls any more than Tony Blair's new female colleagues are babes. These icons of pre-teen pop culture are switched-on business women.

Geri in particular has made an estimated pounds 13m out of the venture; apparently she didn't go for the major shopping experiences favoured by the other four (who each made pounds 10m), but saved her money for the day the bubble burst (yesterday at 2pm).

There is no question the Spices have done well out of their stardom, and no one should begrudge them for it.

They knocked out some groovy tunes and proved to be ironic as well as populist. They made a pop bio-flick which could be enjoyed by the over- 12s. They even dumped their manager at the height of their powers and made a go of it alone.

So why then was Ginger disillusioned? She never had a sex `n' tell scandal; she never publicly resorted to drink, drugs or drying out; her legs were never outed as cellulite-covered.

She always managed to look the part, even when cringy footage of her former life as a Turkish gameshow hostess was plastered all over the tabloids and television quizzes.

Perhaps Ginger's disillusionment came from the realisation that sometimes it is more fun to travel than to arrive.

The most exciting part of being a Spice Girl may not have been launching your own film in Cannes, or meeting everyone from Nelson Mandela to Prince Charles. It was pulling it off in the first place.

Of course, it was all fictional. Everyone knew the Spice Girls were as natural a creation as The Monkees, but for some odd reason the Mels, Baby, Posh and Ginger clicked as much as any "proper" band did.

And so Ginger might simply be yearning for the days when Turkish light- entertainment was still a recent memory, or that moment when, raw and unsigned, the Fivesome sang "Wannabe" before the head of A&E at Virgin.

Perhaps the fear of being disillusioned is why rich and famous people simply can't stay still. Richard Branson delves into the world of high- flying balloons; John Travolta transmogrifies himself into Bill Clinton for a film; even George Michael probably had method behind his recent madness.

However, the Spice Girls had to stay still. As with their distant cousin Barbie, they were cast in plastic.

I put it down to their nicknames. Never originally part of the plan, they became the most brilliant marketing tool of all.

When you're a Spice, you stand by your moniker. Which means that Sporty can't ever really turn up in a ball-gown; Baby can't take a Masters degree; Posh can't slum around in a track-suit. And so it was for Geri; her glamourpuss creation simply wasn't flexible enough for her to move on.

There is, of course, another theory, highly laddish and rather patronising. According to some commentators, Geri left the Spice Girls because Mel B bullied her, laughed at her dancing and said she couldn't sing.

Girlie teasing? For a Turkish gameshow hostess who rose to make millions and became one of the familiar faces of the decade? Don't make me choke on my Chupa-Chup.

Rosie Millard is the BBC's arts correspondent.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song  

Ukip Calypso by Mike Read? The horror! The horror!

Patrick Strudwick
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past