“Claire, Claire! You’ve got to see this.” First year of 6th form, 1996. I’m at my friend Sunita’s house and she’s flipping out about some music video just starting on ‘The Box’. My eyes leave my sociology homework and follow my mate’s. She looks like she’s about to burst into flames. Bright colours, short skirts, massive heels, “Claire they’re amazing, can you believe how good they are?”
And that was my introduction to the Spice Girls, the 90’s sensation that bewitched Sunita and the rest of the Just 17 readership, with their colourful boob tubes and platform heels, citing ‘Girl Power’ as their mantra; heroines to generations of girls and woman who thought they’d never been heard before.
What the…? These girls had obviously never been to The Island, Ilford on a Friday night.
Girls that went to rock clubs and indie nights, we knew where it was at. The Spice Girls changed the face of pop-music, but they didn’t change my life. Here’s to the girls that did….
“And the sky was all amythest, and all the stars look just like little fish.” On the first listen this song tore out my insides and then stomped all over them, the next time I heard it, it sounded more like a lullaby.
“They get what they want and they never want it again.” A lullaby for the girl who at 16 just wanted to be pretty and sweet, and everything she thought boys wanted. Fed on a diet of Saved By The Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, I thought the secret to finding love was to look like an angel and act like a whore. My heart broke a million times over and Courtney was with me screaming about it.
I used to dance around my bedroom crawling along the floor to this one. Skin was the embodiment of strong and powerful, yet she sang a song called ‘Weak.’
What it means to me, is that you can be the strongest person in the world but you can be weak at the same time. You can be strong, you can be weak, you can be strong you can be weak, different sides of the same coin.
“In this tainted soul, in this weak young heart am I too much for you?”
Oh Bjork, you were cool at my school because no-one had a clue what you were going on about and we loved it. I used to do my hair in those tiny twisty ponytails and people used to point at me. I didn’t care Bjork.
When this song came on in the club, it was proper lose your shit time. I perfected a dance that centred around an aggressive side-nod with my hands held tightly behind my back, thrusting my chest forward.
I’m a girl born and bred in that corner of the world where Essex meets East London, but I have the soul of a Welshman, and Cerys is its siren.
Sickly sweet, yet witty and bitter, its all in the juxtaposition.
To me, Girl Power was never about Union Jack dresses and platform shoes. It was the strong and the weird and the hurt, it was the depraved and the mad and the angry and the weak.