There’s Only One Shirley Bassey

Comparisons aren’t fair. Nefarious even. Fun too, so here goes.
 It was a big week for women at Glastonbury. The lovely Lili Allen dinked delightfully, and was a triumph when helping out The Specials in their prophetic masterpiece ‘Gangster’. The 2Tone revival is overdue. and necessary.
If Lili Allen follows, can Amy Winehouse, or as the BBC presenterine knows her, Lili Allen, be far behind? Growling out her current brand of retro Fats Domino and Berry Gordyness. The opening to ‘Back To Black’ is the first 8 bars of ‘Baby Love’, in case you were wondering, but without the snap.
And if Her Sleaziness wanders abroad in the mud, then leaping from tree to tree in the nearby magic forest must be her alter-diva, Bjork. And so it was. And she too was obviously aware of the competition, and yet strangely oblivious, as she always is, and stormed out her weirdness with her usual guts.
A veritable confluence of serious female talent, then. Anyone who is anyone 2007. Well almost. Because these young hopefuls had to sleep with the knowledge that a performance was due which would either anoint or exile them. Shirley Bassey was playing Glastonbury.
 The Bass is no singer-songwriter examining her complexes in public. She is the ultimate performer, and much despised as a result. Not that she cares. And she’s old. So against the hottest young talent around, what chance does she stand? After all, this was the token Oldie slot at Glastonbury. The Sunday tea-time Antiques Roadshow, Songs of Praise, Last of the Summer Wine concession to faded legends available at reduced prices.
 Anyone who saw her show yesterday will know the answer to that one. The pride of Bute Town gave an object lesson in how to grab an audience by the throat. And also showed that youth and marketability are not everything, which must have been a consolation to the gathering of young pretenders left to gaze upon the magnificence of The Bass as she rode by. A revolution in pink organza.
There’s only one Shirley Bassey. Youth and cheek will always be defeated by age and talent.

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