Has any pop group’s comeback been analysed as much as that of the Spice Girls? Plumb the newspapers since their reunion tour began in Vancouver on 2 December, and Mel B, Mel C, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and the ubiquitous Victoria Beckham have been labelled the lot: they are washed-up old crones, backbiting bitches, merciless money-grubbers, Top 40 turkeys – their comeback ballad “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)” only reached number 11 – and a short-frocked, sloganeering riot squad who destroyed feminism for ever. Unpacking girl power in the Observer, the critic Kitty Empire protested, “Has there ever been a redder herring?” Before seeing the show, I’d have agreed. Afterwards, despite a less-than-consummate performance from the Girls, I wasn’t so sure.
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