March 21 2001, just as the dayglo kiddy-pop septet were about to release ‘Don’t Stop Movin’, the first single from their third album.
Three-sevenths of S Club 7 (or 0.4285 if expressed as a decimal), Bradley McIntosh, Paul Cattermole and Jon Lee, were honking on a spliff in Orange Street, just behind Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, a copper caught them at it, and they were hauled off to Charing Cross police station and arrested for possession of cannabis. Oddly, a police statement said that the incident took place ‘in the Covent Garden area’. Which inspires confidence.
AND WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
The boys were cautioned and released. The female four- sevenths of the Club were ‘shocked’. On an MTV phone-in show the following day, a Sun journo harangued the group live on air (the paper’s headline was ‘Reefer the Stars’). S Club suggested he request a song. The response: ‘Have you got “The Drugs Don’t Work” by The Verve?’. Today, Orange Street bears no sign that S Club 7 were ever there. Much like the pop landscape.
Illustration by Thomas Fournier.