It’s true. I know that sounds like the ramblings of a mad person, but hear me out. Back in 1996 I was working in London as a journalist on a football magazine called ’90 Minutes’. This was so long ago it makes my head hurt to think about it. We had no internet. No email. No mobile phones (before anyone corrects me and shouts, ‘You fool, the internet was invented in 1786!’ I’m well aware of that; it’s just that we didn’t have access to it, what with not working for NASA or at The Pentagon).
Anyway, I digress. For our Christmas special issue, we had decided to bring a bit of eye candy in. We’d always had a strong music-footballer crossover throughout the magazine and often interviewed bands about football and footballers about their favourite bands. This year we wanted to do something a bit different. Well, a lot different. We decided to put The Spice Girls on the cover. In football kits. Yes, really.
The interview was set up, and as a fan – honestly, I loved ‘Wannabe’, I’m a bit retarded like that – I got the gig. I bounced along to the photographic studio in my Nike Air Max trainers, a bundle of nerves and excitement and, embarrassingly, a hairstyle which matched Geri Halliwell’s – those nice blonde and red alternating stripes. I’d had it done two weeks prior to us nailing the cover and felt a bit daft walking in with copycat hair. ‘You’ve copied my hair,’ said Geri. Doh! ‘I wish I could copy your boobs,’ I replied, marvelling at how she managed to stay upright with such tiny feet (a hedgehog could have comfortably worn her shoes!) and such an ample bosom.
Geri had boundless energy and was as cute as a button. Mel C was charming, horrendously dressed as usual in a nasty shell suit, and very sweet. We fancied the same footballer; I told her I’d had a cheeky night with him where our clothes fell off and she almost combusted with jealousy. Emma was dressed, as usual, like a toddler in an American beauty pageant, although I haven’t seen many toddlers smoking Silk Cut cigarettes. Mel B was noisy, hilarious and self-deprecating and fragrant. They were all very easy to talk to and a lot of fun. Then again they should have been; they’d just hit the big time; any cynicism or boredom at being interviewed had yet to set in. There were no egos, no dramas, no tantrums, no nothing. They were perfectly nice, perfectly normal… just a bunch of young women on the verge of international superstardom. You know.
Then in came Victoria. And I sort of fell in love. She was wearing a chocolate brown body-con, high-necked, thigh-slimming dress and black spike heeled stilettos. She puffed away delicately on a matching cigarette – a long, slim, dark brown ‘More’, so her eye for co-ordinating her outfits was already in full swing. Her appearance said, ‘Look at me!’, yet her manner said, ‘Don’t’. She wore far too much make-up – of drag queen proportions – and hid behind her hair. She tugged at the hem of her dress, saying, ‘Why do they make me wear such short skirts?’ ‘They could have nicknamed you ‘Homeless Spice’ rather than ‘Posh Spice’, I quipped. Imagine what a state you’d look then. Think yourself lucky.’
She sat down, stretching out her long, slim legs, and we talked. While we talked she ate three dried dates. That was her lunch. The other girls were tucking into sushi or sausage and mash. I felt sorry for her. ‘You’re not fat,’ I told her, ‘Why don’t you eat something off a plate?’ ‘Later,’ she said, and I couldn’t help think, Yeah, right.
I showed her some photos of footballers to see if she fancied any of them. ‘If you do,’ I said, ‘I’ll write it in the magazine so they know you like them.’ She picked out one of a young, floppy-haired Manchester United player. ‘Oh my God,’ she said, ‘Who’s he?’ ‘That’s David Beckham,’ I told her. ‘He’s proper fit, no? He plays for Man United. You could go up to a game with Mel C and introduce yourself in the Players’ Bar.’ ‘He’s so handsome,’ she squealed, her face lighting up in excitement. ‘I’m going to do that. Then ask him out for dinner.’ I let her keep the photo. I printed what she said. David read it. The seeds of the greatest love story in modern history were sown. That’s right, I DID THAT.
It’s 2013 now. Victoria’s success in her own right as a fashion designer is phenomenal; as a husband and wife brand, opportunity and wealth knows no bounds. Meanwhile I’m still waiting for a Victoria Tote Mini (red, please) or a few pair of her cast-off Louboutins by way of a thank you. Even some old hair extensions or a pair of her husband’s pants wouldn’t go amiss. She can manage that much, surely?
Hello, Victoria? Remember me? *waves furiously towards LA*
Juliette Wills is a freelance writer and author of ‘Mostly Cloudy with Some Bright Spells (Amazon).