When we read this news about the Spice Girls, the entire Mamamia office went quiet ...

You may want to sit down before I tell you this bit of news. I’ll wait. Ready?  Actually pour yourself a calming cup of tea and then I’ll begin. Or a large wine. One or the other.

So … the Spice Girls officially turned 18 this week. Their debut smash hit single Wannabe was released on 8th July 1996.



You know what this means, don’t you?

(That’s rhetorical; I’m about to answer my own question)

We be old. All of us.

How can eighteen years have passed  since Sporty, Scary, Ginger, Posh and Baby Spice ran through the Midland Grand Hotel in London wrecking havoc while leaving us all to wonder what the hell zigazig-ah was?

But it’s true and hearing that news is making me think back to 1996. (Cue the wind chimes and the smoke machine because I’m about to hit with you a flashback. Ready?)

Here’s the ‘Straya we were living in back in July 1996 …

In 1996 we were reading this.
  • POLITICS: John Howard was sworn in as the 25th Prime Minister  in March (taking over from Paul Keating). I have to fess up and say I voted Howard in back in 96. Anyone else?
  • MAJOR EVENTS: Australia was still reeling from the Port Arthur Massacre that occurred in April when a man (whom I refuse to name) shot dead 35 people and injured 21 others. Within weeks, Prime Minister Howard introduced major gun reform.  In June that year, two Black Hawke helicopters collided near Townsville killing 18 people.
  • BOOKS: We were reading Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Angela’s Ashes, The Notebook  … actually, I lie. I didn’t read any of those. What I was reading however was … BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY by Helen Fielding. Loved every page.
  • MOVIES:  You were forking out $8 to see Scream, Mission Impossible, Primal Fear, A Time to Kill, Independence Day, Twister, The Rock, 101 Dalmatians, Happy Gilmore and Space Jam (actually I find it hard to believe ANYBODY saw Space Jam). Meanwhile therapists everywhere heard the sound of cash registers ringing as they worked hard to undo the damage done by the expression “You complete me” in Jerry McGuire. Bravehearts won best picture at the Oscars.
  • TV:  Blah blah blah Home and Away, A Country Practice, Neighbours and Hey Hey It’s Saturday were all on the air. But the thing that shocked me the most … E Street was still on!  Can you believe  it?  Makes me wonder what happened to Reverend Bob and Brooke “Mikey” Anderson.  Anyone else out there watch E Street?
Bec 1996, proving that fashion has never been her strength.

As for me, well I was 24 years old and living in London.

Just a month earlier I’d high-tailed it out of Australia after a disastrous few months working as a TV publicist at Channel Nine in Sydney. So on the brink of having a quarter life crisis, I dragged my sorry single arse over to the UK to hang out with my best friend Nicky. My days were spent working in a variety of PR and Marketing jobs while eating Yorkie bars in front of Eastenders and trying to work out what the hell I was doing with my life. And wondering if I’d ever fall in love.

Back to those rascally Spice Girls  … well I adored them to the point that I routinely dyed my hair red with blonde foils to look like Gerri Halliwell. Although considering I put on seven kilos while I was in the UK, I actually looked like I’d eaten Gerri Halliwell. But whatevs.

What about you? Where were you in 1996?  What was your favourite Spice Girls song?  HIT ME.