My Failed Love Life Feeds the Lyrics for My Songs; A Philosophical Geri Returns

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KEANE

GERI Halliwell sashays into Sloane Square's touristy Oriel bar with as much swagger as if she were entering Spago in LA.

After a flirtation with emaciated blondeness, she has returned to busty Ginger Spice form and is bursting with self-confidence.

She is dressed in summer's regulation gypsy look: a long, tiered skirt; her tight lilac blouse unbuttoned to reveal a glimpse of nut-brown bosom. In one hand, she carries a snakeskin-trimmed straw bag, out of which peek, disconcertingly, a large tin tray and a pair of 5in stilettos. In the other, she has a large, cream bag. She places it carefully on the banquette beside her and undoes it a little.

A white fluffy nose and two beady eyes emerge. "Daddy, stay inside," she commands. "He's got his bling on today," she says, pointing at the Pomeranian's jewelled collar. Daddy?

Geri says it's because of Big Daddy and because her heart belongs to Daddy (by which she means the dog, not her father), but it still seems a bit weird.

Geri, now 32, is about to release her third solo album, Passion. Critics have carped about her musical shortcomings, but she is having the last laugh, holding the record for the most UK number ones by a female artist. Her earnings in 2004 were [pounds sterling]2 million.

The album seems to be entirely about Geri's love life. My favourite is So I Give Up On Love, in which she appears to dissect the inadequacies of various boyfriends: bitchy Richie, Peter the cheater and David, who's not very wellendowed above or below. "A lot of guys I've dated are material for songs," says Geri. "I believe in turning s*** to fertiliser. The best things have an element of authenticity, know what I mean?"

The burning question is the identity of the inadequates, and there is an embarrassment of choice. Polo-playing music agent Jamie Morrison, whom she dated in 1998, and Chris Evans, with whom she had a month-long liaison in 1999. A fling with Robbie Williams (which she denies) followed in 2000, but the following year she was seeing Bobby Hashemi, suave cofounder of the Coffee Republic chain.

In 2002, she had moved on to a relationship with Damian Warner, a recovering-drug addict; by October 2003, she was seeing American actor Jerry O'Connell (star of Scream 2). …