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Friday, February 26, 1999 Published at 12:17 GMT


Geri 'still mourns' Spice Girls

The way they were: Now Geri Halliwell (second right) is missing stardom

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is still "in mourning" for the group she quit - and she wears black to mark her grief over the split.

Jenni Murray's interview with Geri Halliwell in full
She told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour she hoped the group's Girl Power ethic would live on in her career, and hoped women would "identify" with her new work.

Ms Halliwell, 26, told interviewer Jenni Murray: "I've actually done some psycho-analysis on myself and I've decided I've been in mourning for the whole thing."

Asked what it was she was mourning, she replied: "The death of a relationship, really. I think that's what someone said to me the other day and I think they were right - that's why I'm always wearing black."

[ image: The way she is now: Geri Halliwell, solo artist and UN goodwill ambassador]
The way she is now: Geri Halliwell, solo artist and UN goodwill ambassador
She also said that the famous incident when she pinched the Prince of Wales' bottom wasn't an example of cheeky Girl Power - more a display of nerves.

"I can't believe I've done such things. I'm trying to analyse myself and this behaviour. It hasn't left me. There's something in me that can behave like that.

"Maybe it's nerves. I think the loudest people are sometimes the most nervous. You know, you come out with big loud jokes and 'This is who I am' because inside you're thinking, 'Oh my God.'"

Last year Halliwell signed a record deal with EMI, and her first solo single is due in "a couple of months".

Geri Halliwell: "I've decided I've been in mourning"
"I'm very pleased with it, but it's a very scary thing to do. I had to do it. It's an emotional roller-coaster. Every emotion that I've had I've poured into it," she said.

"It's honest, it's vulnerable, and it's loud and confident. It's all my sides, but it's insecure at the same time. It's funny and dark. I hope women will identify with it."

Talking about her forthcoming album
Halliwell is now devoting much of her time to charity work, and is now a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

She is also involved in this year's Comic Relief appeal, and was sent to Uganda to visit a women's literacy centre. She was stunned by what she saw.

"When I got there I just started crying. The way these women welcomed me was just fantastic," she recalled.

Going to Uganda for Comic Relief
"They knew I was from the West to help them with this project where they educate women to read and write. We might take it for granted, 50% of people in Uganda cannot read and write, and most of those are women.

"One woman told me she had been able to read her husband's love letters from his girlfriend - he'd been able to hide it for the past few years because she'd been not able to read.

It was fantastic how it changed their lives. We always claim to be so hard done by, but these women are living on the edge. That was one lesson I learned."

Halliwell also went on a boat trip with an all-male crew on the rapids of the River Nile - and thought she was going to die. But Girl Power stopped her from crying.

On her boating accident on the Nile
She said: "There was a massive drop and the boat tipped upside down - I was being thrown around, my lip was bleeding and I'm still holding on to the boat - this guy tried to save me and I did a Shelley Winters on him, I literally tried to drown him like in a real disaster movie.

"Afterwards I really wanted to cry but I couldn't in front of all those men, but I couldn't get out of the boat. At the end of the course I saw my PA, who was waiting on an island. I just couldn't wait to see her so I just cried quietly in the corner."

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