Hi guys, Ash here 🌈
I was asked by someone a couple of weeks ago what made me such a big fan of the Spice Girls and it got me thinking. Was it their amazing pop songs that will get me dancing no matter where I am (I'm pretty certain I was 'dancing' on the tube this week on the way to work while listening to my spin playlist 😆)? Was it the fact that they had music, books, films, were on every TV show - so much you couldn't really not be a fan?! Was it their message of being exactly who you are, with no apologies?
It was all of that and so much more...
In 1996, when the Spice Girls arrived on the music scene, I was 14. Later that year we were evicted from our house as my parents couldn't afford the mortgage after my dad had been diagnosed with cancer (although they had separated two years prior my dad had still contributed towards mortgage repayments). Thankfully, instead of temporarily living in a bed and breakfast, the local council managed to find us a house at the last minute. However, we had no money so the only way to do things with my friends, pay for pet food for my rabbits or buy new clothes for school was to work at weekends, as well as getting up at 6am every day to do the local paper-round. It was a pretty intense and stressful 18 months but it certainly made me a stronger person and it definitely set me up to not take anything for granted as an adult - I know how quickly things can change.
So, where do the Spice Girls come in to this? They were my escape. Through their music and their TV appearances and their magazine articles I was able to disappear to this imaginary world in my head that they had helped create. A world where anything was possible if you believed it. A world that was fun and bright and positive and vibrant. It was at this age that I was coming to terms with the fact that I was gay even though, as silly as it sounds now, I didn't really know what that meant. I had known I was 'different' since I was a young boy but I had nothing to teach me about it. I had no access to the internet as it was so new at the time, and we would never have a computer. Section 28 had meant that I was taught nothing about homosexuality at school. There were hardly any gay characters on TV or in the movies, and I didn't have the courage to seek out books on the subject. What if people found out? I was desperate to be like my older brothers and everyone else around me but I didn't let it get me down and, when I look back now, I honestly think part of that was because of the Spice Girls. They promoted that it was important to be true to yourself, to attract your tribe and always be proud - no matter who you were, how much money you had or where you came from. I never really considered it until that person asked me that question two weeks ago but, looking back, the Spice Girls encouraged me to be me. Even if I wasn't sure exactly what everything meant, I knew that I was a good person who was loved by many people. I may have been different but I trusted it would all make sense in time. Maybe I was more mindful in my youth than I realised...
My late teenage years could have been the most terrible time of my life, but it wasn't. It wasn't the best either, but it was so much better than it could have been and the Spice Girls were partly responsible for that for giving me the escape I needed! So, thank you Geri, Mel C, Emma, Mel B and Victoria for helping that 14 year old boy with all his worries and concerns turn in to the 36 year old happy and positive man who, on Friday 14th June 2019 had the time of his life at your Spiceworld concert! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 💙
"When you're feelin' sad and low
We will take you where you gotta go
Smilin', dancing', everything is free
All you need is positivity" - Spice Up Your Life
Sam and Ash