It is a truth universally acknowledged, that in the 1990s a giggling teenage girl in possession of a Spice Girls CD must be in want of brick-red hair dye.
Come on – own up, all you ladies aged between 22 and 30. I have no doubt that you’re looking at the above picture and recalling to mind the embarrassing things you did; when you pulled your hair up into bunches and danced around your living room, chewing bubblegum and wishing you had a pair of pink platform boots to gatecrash parties in.
Maybe you begged your mum to let you get your tongue pierced, or stole her handbag and perfected your pout in the bathroom mirror. Or perhaps, like me, you lived in tracksuits, practised high kicks and memorised those oh-so-cool screechingly-high harmonies. You knew all the moves.
Today, 2nd February, is my maternal grandad’s birthday. He died at the back end of July, almost four years ago. I remember him as a cheerful and independent man who loved his garden. He painted, he made beautiful things with his hands from wood. He built on a collection of household tools and gadgets to rival the contents of a hardware shop. He sold poppies.
When you lose someone, you realise that you didn’t know them as well as you thought. You remember all the questions you wanted to ask but never did. Stories come out, the kind that only emerge when people’s thoughts are settled on the one who has left; stories that you never heard before, that paint a completely different picture of the person you knew. Sometimes these stories are best left unspoken. Others are truly beautiful.