Thursday, July 03, 2003

“Slaps forehead”

In one of my earlier Scary Stories, I tell the tale of how my early teenage years were filled with an abject terror of the end of the world in a firey nuclear inferno. This fear was fuelled, in the main, by a story on BBC1’s Nationwide about Old Mother Shipton, a 16th Century Yorkshire witch, whose uncannily accurate predictions on the Fire of London and future technology were the stuff of folk legend. She lived in a cave with a waterfall that would turn any offering to stone (because of the high mineral content of the water, as it happens).

The fact is, that Bob bloody Wellings looked into the camera in a sombre fashion and told millions of petrified viewers of her most famous prediction - that the world would end in 1981 Every Thursday the locals would solemnly troop up to the magic well, dip their hands in and wish that she was wrong... 1981 came and went in a procession of sleepless nights and brown trousers, and we’re still here twenty-two years later. And now, thanks to the marvels of the interweb, I discovered the terrible, terrible truth.

Even Mother Shipton’s existence is uncertain - if she existed at all she was probably a mad old granny made to live in a cave by locals who were sick of her eating their cats and looking at them in a funny way. Not only were the old bag’s “prophecies” a big sack of hoaxes written years after her death for Ye Bestsellinge Booke by a certain Richard Head (Dick to his mates, not to mention me), but her apocalyptic vision of the end of civilisation went something like this:

“The world to an end shall come,
In eighteen hundred and eighty one.”

1881! 1881! Eighteen bastard bleedin’ eight-one!!! The best years of my life turned to a jellified wasteland by some TV researcher that couldn’t get their facts right. I’m fucking steaming and somebody’s going to pay. Burning at the stake’s too good for them. Where’s my nailgun? There’s gonna be a crucifixion.

"Classic Bad Movies: Spice World"

Girl Power. Great big steaming pile of wank, more like.

Bag of Shite
Where do you start? They came, they saw, they zig-a-zig-aahed their way to the top of the charts. Pre-teen girls bought their product in droves, and I should know, as my three year old daughter loved them. The trouble was, as anybody with an IQ higher than that of a slug could tell, is that they sucked. Hugely. They were false, totally contrived, with a half-baked proto-feminst notion of Girl Power which began and ended with the ability to do the peace sign for the camera and wear huge clumpy boots.

With even the Americans getting to hear about them, it was only natural that they should make a movie. And it was only natural that it should suck. Hugely.

It was never going to be another Seventh Seal, but jaysus, they could have made an effort. The trouble is, the only reference they seemed to take was that of the Carry On movies and the contents of the previous week’s Hello magazine. And the supremely awful Carry on Columbus, you knew what to expect. Nothing. A parade of guest appearances, lots of running about, screaming, a few songs and a forgettable story. And that’s exactly the whole film in a nutshell. Shit, in other words.

Let’s look at the evidence.The girls can’t act. My sister used to work in a record shop, and they’d frequently get life-sized cut-outs of stars to display on the premises, which would come to a horrible end in the alley round the back. If you didn’t know better, theey sent five of these two-dimensional cut-outs to make the film, while the real-life Spices whooped it up on a beach. They range from the vocal talents of Mel B (shout every line as if you’re standing on a football terrace) to Victoria Addams (now Beckham) who has the delivery of a milk crate. It’s got Richard E Grant for Christ’s sake - who I can only assume took the role for the money or the “ironic” kudos he might receive. Then there’s the guest stars, and never has a bandwagon been so cheerfully jumped on. Meat Loaf, Elton John, Michael fucking Barrymore, Jools Holland, Roger Moore, Bob Geldof. All should have been taken out and shot.

The story, what little there is of it, covers the girls’ efforts to get to a concert at the end of the week. This invloves capers around trendy London at the height of the “Cool Britannia” phase (remember that?). The film’s only six years old, but it’s dated far worse than any musical Cliff richard ever made. It’s embarrassing. I can’t beleive my daughter made me watch it so many times.

In short, the whole exercise was a cynical cash-in on the fame of the Spices by evil genius Simon Fuller, who has since repeated the same trick on a fickle public with S Club. If this film was a horse, I’d melt it down for glue.

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