What Went Wrong With… Shirley Bassey?

A caricature of Dame Shirley Bassey by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

Although quite unique, Shirley Bassey’s singing voice has always sounded strange to me, like an airhorn on a train somehow became sentient. To my ears, her elongated vocals are akin to a cat slowly being squashed under a slow-moving steamroller. Her singing also has a slight doppler effect, increasing and decreasing in volume mid-song for no apparent reason sounding very much like an ambulance siren repeatedly passing you by. Now of course, if you’re a fan, you could argue that Shirley’s vocals are powerful and that she sang the best and most memorable James Bond theme tunes but unless you’re some kind of sycophantic superfan, you have to agree that outside the sixties and seventies, Bassey’s songs sound very much old-fashioned and her vocals have become less and less powerful, in fact in recent years, she almost sounds like she’s doing an impression of herself (if you want proof, just seek out her performance at the shit-tastic Glastonbury in which she makes Pink’s “Get The Party Started” sound even cornier than it originally did). Alongside the likes of Elvis Presley and Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey can easily be condensed into a one-dimensional parody or a two or three second sound which will instantly be identified as her. Bassey is now essentially a caricature, whereby any impressionist can accurately portray not only her mannerisms and speaking voice but also her singing voice almost down to a T and almost better than Shirley herself.

On a side note, I don’t see why, if I disliked someone when they were younger, I now have to “show them respect” simply because they’ve aged. Shirley Bassey, or Dame Shirley Bassey (ooh, almost royalty) has over the years become a darling of the British media with nobody ever saying a bad word against her (and I mean ever) even though on occasion, someone really should have.

In various interviews, Ms. Bassey has routinely highlighted aspects of her childhood, specifically being the only coloured kid in Tiger Bay and how difficult it was growing up looking different to everybody else. But let’s face it, once fame struck, she made the whitest of celebrity friends, buggered off to Monte Carlo and pretty much forgot that she was the mixed race daughter of a Nigerian immigrant. And after reading a few of her interviews, it seems that she’s even forgotten that she’s a woman. What the hell am I going on about you ask? Well, Shirley has made some idiotic, self-hating comments over the years and her moronic statements have to be read to be believed.

Firstly, Shirley Bassey once told the Daily Mail that women shouldn’t fight for equality. She said: “Women in my industry aren’t empowered. Never have been, never will be”. She goes on; “Think about the modern man. The gene goes so deep, it goes right back to the caveman days: man must have control. Women should not change it, because we’ve tried and we’ve emasculated men. It’s dangerous to mess with science.” (“Science” LOL, like society has actually neutered men or edited their genes). This was 2015 by the way not some mid-to-late twentieth century “it’s okay to be downtrodden” time. Bassey then says the daftest thing in the whole interview; “There’s a reason why men are here. If I was flying with a female pilot, for instance, I’d be very worried. Women have periods and hormones, and that bothers me about women who want men’s jobs. Like firefighters, police, soldiers… I don’t believe in women soldiers! Come on, women should be women. We should be feminine. I’m not sad about it. We should accept it. It’s worked this way for a long time. Men went out and brought home the bacon. Women are now going a step too far, trying to be cleverer than men – or as clever.” She almost went as far as saying women are thicker than men there! And in some kind of ironic way, she nearly went about proving it by airing her stupid opinion… ooh look, there goes another airliner crashing into the ground all because the pilot is on the rag… what a twat.

A few years earlier in 2009, in an interview with The Guardian, Shirley said this about Britain and immigration: “We’re letting in too many people. We’re an island, for God’s sake. And the Britishness seems to have [gone].” Time to play “Never, Never, Never” or maybe “The Banana Boat Song” at the next UKIP conference I guess.

As if performing as the main “artiste” for that old royal-racist The Duke Of Edinburgh at his 80th birthday celebration wasn’t proof enough, Bassey is a confirmed bigot in ink (or more accurately pixels). I always thought there was something iffy about her but until I read these online articles, I didn’t know what. So now I know, Shirley Bassey is the type of mixed-race minority who plays the race card for sympathy or credibility but sides with the white establishment and patriarchy most of the time. She’s the embodiment and actual definition of a sellout. Remember the line by Chino XL “black when it’s convenient like Mariah’s ethnicity”? Well that could easily apply to Shirley Bassey.

Appealing to James Bond nerds, BBC Prom attendees, royalists, folk who have the union jack superglued to their hand, and people who bandy the term “Diva” about as though it can apply to any female singer in a dress (forgetting that the word once meant “goddess”), Dame Shirley Bassey is arguably one of the most overrated performers of all time. Usually seen looking like Jeanine Pirro‘s better looking twin and waving the tips of her feather scarf about like a vulture’s wings, over the last two decades she has become an exaggerated, burlesque, parody of herself. Showing up to old-arsed events held in old buildings, draped in old-looking sequins and feather boas, regurgitating her old hits to old people. At least we now know that her opinions are old and antiquated too.



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