“Who’s your favourite Spice Girl?” I ask Mum as we head toward the Manchester Central Convention Centre to attend SPICEUP is the biggest touring exhibition of Spice Girls memorabilia in the world.
“I don’t have one,” replies Mum.
The Spice Girls were the biggest thing in the world in the late nineties.
Scary, Sporty, Baby, Posh and Ginger – so much to choose from.
How can someone not have a favourite?
“Then why did you want to come to Manchester and see this exhibition?”
Honest, I suppose.I, on the other hand, was excited. Giddy almost.
Still, that may have been having only just arrived at our nearby hotel at five pm after having taken the wrong slip road on the M60 once the sat nav decided to die, having no lunch plus a heatwave descending on upon us in the car so that we were sweating like a couple of nuns in a cucumber patch.
I prefer to think my wooziness and excitability was down to being due at the Exhibition for five thirty.
“Shall I wear my Spice Girls t-shirt?” I ask Mum as we’re about to leave the hotel.
“If you do, I won’t be walking next to you.”
Honest. Perhaps too honest.
I’d always been a big fan of The Spice Girls from the moment they burst onto the scene in the Summer of 1996. I felt no shame in this – and still don’t. The world had been waiting for an exciting girl group to offer influence and inspiration to young people.
Straight to number one with their debut single Wannabe they were like a whirlwind. Who of us doesn’t instantly recognise the opening intro to that? I bet even now your singing it. Silently, in your head, I hope.
Their nicknames and personas added to them remaining, even now, the band most associated with influencing female empowerment.
“You look like Ginger Spice in that.”
“S**t, I was going for Posh.”
Banter with friends relating or referring to the Spice Girls took place – and still does…
We are greeted by SpiceUp’s curator, Alan Smith-Allison, who has also produced the exhibition.
Alan owns huge amounts of the memorabilia on display.
He has, he tells us, been collecting Spice Girls memorabilia since 2007 and has become one of the biggest collectors of it in the world. The SpiceUp exhibition features more than 7,000 items of merchandise and memorabilia, as well as 300 costume pieces, including outfits, shoes and jewellery.
“Dare I ask who your favourite Spice Girl is?” I smile at him.
“I can’t choose. I really can’t. They all had their own uniqueness and talents. They were all empowering and inspiring in their own way.”
I love him – and not just ‘coz he is enthused about the Spice Girls as I am!
We begin our wander round the exhibition. The heels on display are magnificent, five inches and more.
“I had a pair of platform heels, just like that, when I was a teen” Mum said, “I wonder what ever happened to them…”
I imagine Grandad took them to use as tools what with being a handyman.
“I had a dress like that,” Mum said. “And that. Oh and that.”
As they were all sequinned mini skirts and dresses, I must have blanked them out of memory. Or Mum had a second job…
As there is so much to see, we go round the displays twice.
“So, who’s your favourite Spice Girl then?” I ask
Well,” starts Mum, “on reflection, if I had to choose one, I’ll say Geri.”
“She worked with everything she had, pushed herself hard and wasn’t afraid to use her assets. If you’ve got it flaunt it!”
Honest. Very honest.
We loved the glamour and glitter of SpiceUp, especially our complimentary Exhibition programmes.
SpiceUp has moved from Manchester Central to the Great Northern Shopping and Entertainment Complex, reopening on Saturday 8th until 30th Sep 2018. https://www.spicegirls-exhibition.com/