Mel : London Astoria G-A-Y

Mel B proves she's more than just a mouthy lass with big tits...

Public nudity, lewd and offensive behaviour – to what depths will Melanie Brown have to sink to better these feats and impress the G-A-Y crowd?

Exactly one month ago she celebrated Nelson Mandela’s freedom by freeing two of her own breasts in front of 20,000 people. Just 13 hours ago she turned children’s TV air blue by using the words “wanker” and “anus” on Live & Kicking (merely voicing the opinion of anyone misfortunate enough to view the moribund show and its new ‘cool’ presenters, perhaps?) Well, how about an act of public slander for an opener? Melanie concludes the performance of ‘Tell Me’ with the words “You all know who that song is about… anyone seen him in here?” Her ex, the accused closet case, is nowhere to be seen although many in the audience tonight claim to “know stuff” (but then they used to say that about Michael Portillo…)

Anyway, after more potty-mouth from Ms B (the f-word this time!) we get an energetically danced ‘Feels So Good’ and it’s immediately obvious that these are songs that should’ve sold a whole lot more than they did. Maybe Mel‘s ‘Sue Pollard meets Rusty Lee’ personality gets in the way of the general public realising just how damn talented she is. Maybe it’s hard for people to accept that beneath all the hollering there’s a star, with a unique voice and an ear for a tune, that deserves to be more than just a gossip column filler. Maybe people just don’t, yet, know what they’re missing.

New single ‘Lullaby’ is sung live tonight, with the help of ‘friend’ Lucy, and it’s quite lovely. But it’s surprise set-ender ‘I Want You Back’ that’s the real crowd pleaser. Always a brilliant record, and the first solo Spice number one, tonight it’s revamped with an all-new routine of precision choreography and deft ‘ballet’ leaps from Mel and her four masked male dancers. It’s always a shock that someone so chaotic and clumping transforms, on stage, into such an impressive performer. But then the Spice Girls didn’t get where they are on headlines alone.

The evening ends with Mel being presented with flowers and a candle adorned birthday cake (two weeks early) which leaves her ALMOST speechless – just her cackling laugh echoing round the Astoria’s walls. The spontaneity and anarchy that first endeared the Spice Girls to a jaded world is still very much alive in Mel B. Lately though, it seems only to annoy, anger, or shock those who once delighted in it. But maybe Mel is the true Peter Pan of pop: here to remind us to lighten up, live for the moment, and stop being such a bunch of “wankers”.

Timothy Mark