Spice World


“Hot Ribena!” I shouted in triumph the other day when I discovered a VHS copy of Spice World on sale for 50 pence in a charity shop. I could barely contain my smugness upon buying it, and so I didn’t, forcing the be-cardiganed old lady behind the till to take the unprecedented and incongruous step of punching me in my windpipe and telling me to “fuck off”. Still, my over-weening smugness could not be diminished and I skipped contentedly home. It could not be diminished, that is, until I put the video in the player and realised it was not, as  I had hoped, a further filmic installment in the Dune series, covering the adventures of various faintly Jihadic-types on the planet Arrakis, a celestial body renowned for its copious spice resources: a Spice World, if you will. Rather, it was about a silly pop group from the late 1990s. I stamped upon my VHS player until it cried for mercy. Needless to say, I did not watch Spice World. Here is my review of it.

What makes a perfect pop band? Is it matching sweatbands? Possibly. Is it the ability of its members to move their left hands forward from their chests in a gesture of pensive sincerity while negotiating a key change? Undoubtedly. Is it the fact that its members don’t have names as such but rather epithets ending in ‘-y’, which sum up the very core of their inner being? Good heavens, yes! So it is that the five(?) members of the Spice Girls were respectively named Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Narwhal Spice, Thor Spice and Athlete’s Foot Spice. Baby Spice was so named because of her unfortunate dependence on nappies and her inability to form anything but the most telegraphic of sentences. The other names explain themselves.

Spice World is a rollicking romp (it sure does rollick) through a dystopian Britain where people wear Union Jack flags and utter such Lewis Carroll-esque nonsense-phrases as ‘Cool Britannia’ (a free vorpal sword for anyone who can tell me what this means). Everyone drives around in big red buses and performs synchronised dance routines in public with minimal encouragement or coercion.  In this Britain the Spice Girls have attained a level of influence and prestige comparable to that of Rasputin in the final years of Tsarist Russia. Like Rasputin, their power derives from mysterious supernatural forces , but unlike Rasputin they are benevolent and their eyes are less beady.

On the surface of it, the plot of this film appears ludicrous and infantile (a weaselly oaf tries to destroy music for ever; the Spice Girls put him in a barrel and shoot him off into space). In reality, it is sensitive, challenging and aesthetically adventurous. It is, I swear.


8 Responses to “Spice World”

  1. oldrope Says:

    I think you are misrepresenting this film and it’s protagonists. Wither the mention of their detective agency? The diplomatic row over imported shrimp and Islamophobia? The lengthy segment on cheese-making?

    Personal highlights include watching Ribald Spice urinate outside Big Ben, Bourgois Spice battering elk and Venereal Spice giving it the big un on Tomorrow’s World. A word to the wise, invest in the Director’s Cut Special Edition box set, you will not be disappointed. It is in the shape of Meatloaf driving a bus.

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    A meatloaf driving a bus? Surely such things cannot be?

    The Agoraphobic Reviewer has never knowingly misrepresented anything, ever.

    You appear to have missed out some letters from one of the Spice Girls’ names: it’s Garibaldi Spice, not Ribald Spice (on account of her profound love of flat, fruity Italian biscuits).

  3. oldrope Says:

    I thought that was another one entirely, Gary “Baldy” Glitter, so named after his recent hairloss. (probably due to stress? It is not for Old Rope to speculate).

    Your oldest of ropes,

    Old Rope

  4. Banjo Fett Says:

    What makes the perfect pop band? Lyrics like these of course:

    If you’re on a bee line, mother,
    You gotta dead stiff eye bends,
    Baking elastic feathers, fencing nets are in,
    If you’re on a bee line, mother,
    Chew a lot good grief,
    Tape it issue fizzy, book hats away hit this.

    And that, my man, is what ‘Cool Britannia’ is all about. SNICKER-SNACK!!

  5. johnlebaptiste Says:

    “Tape it issue fizzy”

    Yowzer. I feel like I’ve just accompanied Shaun Ryder through the Burroughs cut-up machine, and am now left with a bloody pocketful of mind-mangling Mancunian mincemeat.

    A free vorpal sword for young mester Fett. Unfortunately the snicker-snack function is broken through over-use.

  6. johnlebaptiste Says:

    p.s. you’re right Old Rope, Gary ‘Baldy’ Glitter was, briefly, a member of the Spice Girls but he left due to ‘irreconcilable musical differences’ and the imminent prospect of facing a Thai firing squad.

  7. oldrope Says:

    Oh, I heard something different entirely.

    Banjo, good point well made, but I do believe those lyrics to be that of the other great act of the day, The All Saints.

    Everyone else, pollute your eyes further, what I did on my holidays


  8. johnlebaptiste Says:

    I note that Kaz of Underworld fame has identified some more sub-species of Spice Girl. Is it wrong that I find them faintly titillating?


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