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Spice World

I was sitting at my desk this morning with a strange urge to listen to the Spice Girls "Spice World" album.

It's been a couple of years at least since I listened to it. I pressed play and within seconds I was instantly transported back to London near the end of 1997.

photo stolen from random youtube video
Not sure if I've ever written about this before but my 21st birthday present from my parents was a plane ticket to London. They thought I wanted to see museums or something but I really went so I could see the "Spice World" film in a cinema months before it would be released in the US. It's strange even now to say that I saw the film both in London and New York in a cinema.

I was watching some YouTube videos of London in 1997. I have no photographs from the trip. The only remnant of the trip that I still own is a strange piece of luggage from EuroDisney. I have some vague memories.. visiting a large SEGA arcade in the Trocadero building, calling a friend from a payphone, shopping for VCD discs in Chinatown, staying in a really terrible hotel, seeing a DVD for the first time..

As I was watching these strangers home movies of their vacations, I was reminded of how isolated I felt even then. Like I was always in the right place at the right time and yet always on the perimeter of where I should have been. I felt all of the same frustration and incompetency and doubt and everything back then too. At no point was I too stupid to know the difference, I just didn't know how to get to where I should have been.

What was the point of this post again?

Oh yeah Bill Drummond..

Bill Drummond has this thing about artists. He says (and I'm paraphrasing) that most artists do what I'm doing, living on the outside and complaining about not being able to fit in. He suggests instead of looking inward to look even farther outward. I've definitely tried that too. Not long before my trip, Drummond took his kids to see a Michael Jackson concert. By the time I arrived the tour was over, I was completely clueless as to how any of that worked yet. I'd eventually see MJ long past his prime, paying gigs for money he needed to repay his debts. MJ died broke and with his own handwritten motivational notes written on the mirror of the dresser in his bedroom.

I have the same handwritten notes on a post it on my desk. It reads "If anyone can do it, it's you." My mom says that to me sometimes when I hit a brick wall. We're all the same. Bill Drummond took his money and (literally) burned it, MJ took his money and burned it, I took my money and burned it. All three of us were on the outside looking in and then looking farther out. I feel like a failure in comparison because of my living in complete obscurity, but I know I'm in good company. Maybe the thing about the Spice Girls that we all liked was that it was a group of five friends who mostly all liked the same shit we liked. You do realize that Bob Spiers, Richard O'Brien, and Jennifer Saunders all worked on the Spice Girls movie, right? I mean Barry Humphries even had a cameo. That movie was the center of my universe for a hot minute. I was a 20 year old straight male from another continent when it was released. I'd spent a good portion of the year following Pavement on tour. I was living in six different worlds and going hard at all of them. I was still completely on the outside and yet I was in the middle of it all.

Fuck, now I want a Pepsi.

Selfie in the front row at a Garbage concert, 1997.
Think about that for a minute.



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