Where we’re at: I’m recapping my travels in 2019, including this trip to England in June.
Raise your hands if your childhood was also defined by learning the choreography to the Spice Girls music videos you secretly made your babysitter videotape on the VCR, making Spice Girl scrapbooks out of photos you printed off the internet, and getting into explosive family battles over if you were or were not old enough to see the movie Spice World, scandalously rated PG, in theaters.
No? Just me?
Mkay. Well, some things don’t change. A few years ago I stumbled upon (cough cough scoured the Internet for) a Which Spice Girl Are You? quiz and immediately sent it to my squad on Koh Tao saying, “I know exactly which of us is which!” Everyone posted their results and needless to say, based on my encyclopedic knowledge of Spice Girls trivia and human psychology, I was right.
Fast forward several years, with all of us spread across the globe. I was back in Upstate New York, Andie and Janine were in Thailand, Shannon in Spain, and Amy in England. Yet we’d vowed never to let go of our friendship.
When we saw the announcement of a Spice Girls reunion tour in the UK, we knew instantly it was a must. The five of us have not been in the same room since shortly after Banyan, our home away from home in Thailand closed, and gosh had we missed each other.
Getting our tickets had been a sleepless all-night affair with all of us in the digital queue until all hours. The only thing harder? Perfecting our outfits once we had our flights booked!
May I introduce Sporty Spice and Posh Spice…
And Scary Spice and Ginger Spice…
And of course, Baby Spice!
My dress was a final clearance find from Lulus (it literally cost $10, which made it easier to ditch when half the sequins fell off and the zipper ripped after one night) and the amazing shoes that were so comfortable, I wore them to Pride in Tel Aviv too! (Stay tuned for that blog post next week.) Toss in some white knee socks I already had, a “baby” necklace I didn’t know I needed, and a lollipop — costume done, for about $60USD! I only wish I’d brought silver hair ties.
I want to say that dressing up was half the fun, but the whole thing was such a blast, it’s kind of hard to pick.
We were not the only ones swept away in Spice mania. When I arrived at immigration in Manchester the first thing the officer said to me with a wink was, “you’re not here for the Spice Girls, are you?!” And then of course we had a brief chat about David Beckham.
Even the street signs were Spice-themed — seriously, how fun is that!
We took public transportation to Manchester, which was highly entertaining. Getting from the Crosby Station into Central Liverpool was hilarious, as it was like four in the afternoon and everyone was going about their normal non-Spice days and we looked like we were teleporting to the 90’s. There was some kind of major football (ya know, “soccer“) game happening the same day and so when we walked out to change stations, the city looked like it had gone mad!
We got loads of comments and compliments and the crowds were so wild we realized we were about to miss our train and ended up running full speed through the streets of Liverpool, like a scene straight outta Spice World. When we got to the station and breathlessly asked a conductor which platform we were headed to, he told us he’d tell us — as soon as we took a selfie with him.
Finally in Manchester after rushing on the train moments before the doors closed, we looked around for somewhere for dinner and drinks. We hadn’t really made a plan, which worked enormously to my benefit when we spotted my guilty pleasure UK favorite Pizza Express and decided it was the perfect place to fuel up on dough balls and drinks.
Once we were well and tipsy, we hopped in an Uber to the stadium — only to find we’d landed a cab complete with a karaoke machine!? How can five girls get so lucky!
At the stadium we found dozens of other Spice Girl crews but I have to say, I think we were the best of the bunch! And clearly we weren’t alone in thinking so as dozens of people stopped to ask to take their pictures with us. Overall I was so impressed with the vibe of the crowd at the concert. Often with long lines and huge throngs of people, everyone can get a little grouchy but not here! It was all rainbows, compliments, polite “excuse me’s” and girl power.
And then we were in, and the hyperventilating began!
When the fabulous five finally took the stage, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry, scream, faint, or all of the above.
Granted, they were selling wine by the bottle at the stadium in Manchester, but as the Spice Girls worked their way through their incredible discography we all had our moments of actually full non ironic crying and hugging — yes we were those girls. The nostalgia was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but think it still tracks that I was such a big fan in my youth. To this day I’m all about female friendship and empowerment… and synchronized dance routines and dressing up whenever possible.
It was an incredible show, such good vibes, such a pure and sweet message of GIRL POWER! A few times I really had to stop and pinch myself and think wow, this is a dream come true.
And heck yes, we knew every word to every song.
After the show, we walked our way to a flat that a bunch of the Koh Tao boys had rented for the weekend for whatever sporting event was happening (I could probably look it up, but honestly, it’s more authentic to real life that I had no idea what was happening). While it was a girls night for sure, it was fun to pause for a brief interlude to change into slightly more dance-able looks and catch up with the boys, too.
True to form, we had zero plan for the night, but several of Manchester’s gay clubs were having Spice Girls theme nights in honor of the show, and so we kept the good times rolling with a bar hop through a few.
While we were in the bathroom of one club, I went to do up my zipper and couldn’t get it, yelling to Shannon to come help me. “Um, I think I made it worse,” she confessed, as the zipper fell off the track and my mini romper was now gaping open in the back. Luckily there was a small button at the top, I had a backpack on, and we were at a gay club. So we partied on.
Fast forward another hour later and I go to the bathroom again — and the button pops off. I came out holding my small remaining amount of clothes onto my body, determined not to be the one to call the night… but lucky for me it was time to roll out anyway. It was a hilarious after-party and we didn’t make it back to Liverpool till the sun was up! What a trip.
This was a childhood dream come true (for the second time, technically, since I caught their last reunion tour when I was in college!) and just exactly what my heart needed — something silly and sweet with my girls. The Real Housewives of Koh Tao might be spread all over the world now but we are willing to hop on planes from four countries for a night of dress up and nineties nostalgia — how did I luck out to end up with friends like these. This was truly a highlight of my year.
Well then, I’m off to listen to the entire Spice Girls discography and watch the Spice World movie on repeat till the end of time. If anyone needs me, you know where I’ll be.
Were you a Spice Girls mega-fan? Is there a childhood obsession you’d hop an ocean to experience again?