Style Voices

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Katie Byrne: 'Mel B's sex revelation about Geri is in a different class altogether'

Modern Life

Mel B and Geri Halliwell accept the Spice Girls award for 'Brits Performance of 30 Years' on stage at The Brit Awards 2010 at Earls Court on February 16, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Mel B and Geri Halliwell accept the Spice Girls award for 'Brits Performance of 30 Years' on stage at The Brit Awards 2010 at Earls Court on February 16, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Spice Girls Melanie Brown (Mel B), Melanie Chisholm (Mel C), Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham
Spice of life: Geri Halliwell is now Geri Horner. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Mel B's sex revelation was designed to take her bandmate down a few notches.

With an upcoming tour to promote and a memoir (fittingly called Brutally Honest) to sell, it's really no surprise that Mel B was ready to run her mouth during her recent interview with Piers Morgan.

The full interview won't be aired until May, but it seems that Mel's revelation that she slept with bandmate Geri Halliwell was much too salacious for Piers to just sit around on.

The former tabloid editor shared a teaser of the bombshell moment on Monday's Good Morning Britain and it didn't take long for the short video to go viral.

Mel's TV confession certainly makes for a good headline but the interview itself makes for uncomfortable viewing. On one hand we have Piers trying to hide his schoolboy prurience behind the ruse of hard-nosed interviewing. "There were rumours that you and Geri were more than just good friends, that you'd had a little dabble."

On the other hand we have Mel B feigning coyness before going full female chauvinist pig. "She has great boobs," she told Piers, who, at this point, was beginning to resemble a salivating bulldog.

To top if all off, we have this anachronistic idea that sexual titillation sells. Sure, it may have appealed to a certain market during the lipstick lesbianism craze of the noughties, when pandering to male fantasies was all the rage. But in a post-MeToo world where sexual fluidity is fast becoming the new normal? It just seems old hat.

Mel B has never been known for her discretion. In fact, you might even say that the woman known as Scary Spice likes to shock with her sexually liberated soundbites and opinionated rants. Yet watching this clip, there is the feeling that shock-factor is the furthest thing from her mind.

The Spice Girls are set for a reunion
The Spice Girls are set for a reunion

While she knows her revelation will generate plenty of column inches, there seems to be an ulterior motive at play. "She's going to hate me for this," she said of her bandmate, who married Formula 1 racing team boss Christian Horner in 2015, "because she's all posh in her country house with her husband."

We'll leave the implication that posh women shouldn't be bi-curious to the side for the moment, and just focus on the fact that Mel B consciously set out to anger her friend and bandmate with her kiss-and-tell.

More than that, she seems to want to remind Geri Halliwell about who she was before she reinvented herself as Geraldine Horner.

For those who don't know who Geraldine Horner is, we'll need to go back to November 11, 2014. That's the day Geraldine, "daughter of the late Mr L F Halliwell and Mrs A Parkinson", and her husband-to-be "Mr C.E.J Horner OBE" announced their engagement in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of The Times newspaper.

What followed was a reinvention of Pygmalion proportions. Geri moved to a country estate in Oxfordshire, where she took up horse riding and clay pigeon shooting. When she appeared on The Great Sport Relief Bake Off in 2016 - wearing a crisp white shirt and minimal makeup - viewers noticed that she had developed a cut-glass aristocratic accent. Then, two years ago, the couple welcomed their first son, who they called Montgomery.

It's all marvellously upwardly mobile, but in class-conscious Britain, you're not allowed to rise from the lower rungs of the social class ladder without being reminded that you're a "working class wannabe from Watford", as one journalist described the new Mrs Horner.

The chattering classes had no such issue with Geri's earlier reinvention as an LA yoga bunny. Likewise, they celebrated Posh Spice's second act as a fashion designer and Baby Spice's transition into radio presenting. But becoming a lady of the manor when you were born working class? That's getting ideas way above your station.

Mel B said she called her bandmate after the interview to reassure her that it was "all tongue-in-cheek" and that she didn't go into great detail. What she failed to mention is that she provided considerable detail on her friend's all new, "all posh" lifestyle.

The headlines will tell you that this is a "sex revelation" but the subtext tells another story entirely. Mel B made a comment on class and social status, and for some people, that's the most titillating part of all.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in this section