Inside the absolutely impossible and iconic ‘Spice World’ bus, 25 years later

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: the bus from World of Spices. The double-decker bus that carried the Spice Girls through London in 1997 had its own ecosystem. It was a world away from the world, a personalized screaming enclave for each of the five chicas (up front and otherwise, slamming as shown in “Spice Up Your Life”) whose collective girl power would make them the girl group. the most sold. in history.

Nothing on the bus made sense. She was bigger on the inside than she was on the outside, like the time machine of Doctor Who. In fact, it looked like his own time machine, one with a toilet that constantly had to be unclogged. Somehow there was enough room for Baby Spice’s swing set, Posh’s catwalk, Sporty’s workout gear, Scary’s working fish tank, and ginger. Although the bus had a mishmash of colors, its abundant silver looked space-age, as if the engine could propel them to another planet at any moment. (The Spice Girls did encounter a few aliens in the movie, after all.) At the end of the film, it was destroyed by a bomb. In real life? It’s as lively and good as a bus can be.

Twenty-five years later spice world open in theaters, the bus has a permanent residence on the Isle of Wight, a popular travel destination in the English Channel. A named superfan Suzanne Godley renovated the interior in 2019 and sometimes lists the bus on Airbnb for overnight rentals. The quirks have been sanitized, replacing whimsy with polish and making it a little more practical for the non-pop-star setting, but the front of the bus still bears the Union Jack badge that the film’s production designer, Grenville Horner, came after seeing Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, wear a stunning British Flag Mini Dress at the Brit Awards in 1997.

When I spoke to Horner via Zoom last week, he held up his copy of the original script, which featured spice worldjob title, Five. He still has his original sketches and other memorabilia from the film, and he had reserved a page where the screenwriter Kim Fuller describes the bus in extraordinary detail.

Courtesy of Grenville Horner.

“There are no seats,” Horner read aloud. “Instead, the entire area is lushly carpeted and divided into zones for each girl, each designed according to her Spice character. Note: There should be five of everything. Five towels , five bathrobes, five toothbrushes, five clothes racks. Emma: soft chair, pink wall, lots of stuffed animals and My Little Ponies. Email B: mystical, gothic, leopard skin throws and oriental wall hangings. Geri: pastiche of the 60s, posters of Charlie’s Angels. Email C: exercise bike, Liverpool Football Club posters. Victoria: vogue-ish, elegant, expensive clothes rail. There’s also a kitchen area with food and drink vending machines.

Horner had previously worked with spice world director Bob Spiers on several British comedy series, including French and Saunders and A bit of Fry and Laurie. With three daughters of his own, he adored the Spice Girls’ 1996 debut album. But what really spoke to him was the film’s homage to the equally absurd Beatles pseudo-documentary. A hard day’s Night. The crazy adventures of the Liverpool guys felt like a fantasy, which meant everything in spice world could too. Scenes set inside the bus were even shot at Twickenham Studios, the same location where parts of A hard day’s Night and its follow-up Help!, settled in the mid-1960s.

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