I had forgotten, or else never seen, the spooky video for the Spice Girls’ 1998 Christmas hit, Goodbye. It was the first single to be released after Geri Halliwell’s abrupt departure, and in an interview (which I have no intention of referencing, because I have no idea where I read it, and after all this isn’t Wikipedia) the girls admitted that although the song was originally written before Geri left, some of the lyrics were rewritten afterwards so as to make it partly a eulogy to her. They didn’t say which lyrics they meant, but the lines in the bridge fit so perfectly that I have always imagined they were added just for Geri:
The times when we would play about,
The way we used to scream and shout
We never dreamt you’d go your own sweet way
It’s not my favourite Spice Girls single, nor even my favourite (spoiler!) Spice Girls Christmas single, but I still like it a lot. I like the way you can tell who sings which line without looking, because although they aren’t the best singers in the world, they all (with the possible exception of Victoria) have distinctive voices which actually sound like them. If you listen carefully you can even hear Mel B’s Yorkshire accent seeping through here and there.
I loved the Spice Girls. I loved the songs, the silliness, the sweetness, the way, when they were at the height of their fame, that the question “which is your favourite Spice Girl?” seemed worthy of an evening’s discussion (I was a student at the time). Most of all, I loved that they seemed like real people who actually liked one another, and who were as pretty as the prettiest girl you knew, without being intimidatingly beautiful.
These days, of course, they are all intimidatingly beautiful, because if you’re a famous woman you’re not allowed not to be. But I liked them best back then.