All woman: Shirley Bassey

I was not long married when in about 1970 somehow four of us gathered the necessary cash to book a table at Chequers in Sydney to hear Shirley Bassey, who had become one of the favourite visiting acts and a testosterone generator for my generation.

At that time Chequers, owned and run by the Wongs, was generally accepted to be the best night club in the world. If you were anybody, you did a stint at Chequers. Like all famous nightclubs it was peopled by the rich, famous and infamous – in business, entertainment, politics and crime. The entry fee had no demands on career, just on the wallet.

I do not remember how, but we had engaged a table directly next to the stage. From there, my view of the performers was unhindered and while I can remember the names of my dinner-mates, one of whom was my then first wife, I recall not much else prior to the performance except that I believe we had dinner at the well-known Mandarin Club nearby.

Equally, while I can recall the ambiance of excitement, I have a vivid memory of only one event. That event was Shirley Bassey singing ‘Big Spender’. My obvious devoted attention and enthusiasm for this glorious woman and her voice during her performance had its reward. No, maybe not the same reward as an Australian Prime Minister, John Gorton, received from Liza Minnelli at the same venue on another occasion, but for my sexual dreams her performance had a similar effect, driven by my being the object of attention for the phrase ‘spend a little time with me’- if only.

Since that evening, Shirley Bassey’s albums and CDs have rated regular mention in my many nights of pleasure and occasional debauchery. And together with another utterly memorable performer – and woman – Sophia Loren, they fill the first two places in the ‘Top 100 Women of My Dreams’.

I went over 40 years between events of having 3D contact with Shirley Bassey. It was the Welcome to Wales concert at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff for the Ryder Cup golf, the day 29 September 2010. My invitation came through the fortunate accident, despite my Australian heritage, of being a collaborator with the biggest industrial Welsh employer (an Indian group). I was seated at the end of the second row just to the right of the centre stage in a packed auditorium.

We stood for the arrival of HRH Prince of Wales, (after whom many assume I chose the third name for my son – George William Charles – yet there is another tale). Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales took his seat in the middle of the front row, just about 10 seats from my exalted position. For the professional golfers such as Monty (Colin Montgomerie), the concert was but a side-show, yet for many, despite the forthcoming excitement of the tournament, it was the main event of the week-long festival. The concert featured the great names of Welsh entertainment including Katherine Jenkins, a woman of exquisite talent and beauty, about whom I have waxed lyrical previously, but unfortunately we missed the late great Neddie Seagoon – a tenor and goon of some repute.

Possibly the non-Welsh among the audience were not aware that Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey (the Shirley Bassey) was born of a Nigerian father and English mother in Cardiff in 1937 and was brought up on the wild side of town.Yet she stretched out from obscurity, due to her magnificent voice and natural ability to entertain, to challenge as one of the greatest female entertainers of the past century.

After all others had given their best and departed the stage the Millenium Stadium was filled with applause for Shirley, at home in Cardiff.

 Shirley Bassey took 50 years off my life that wonderful evening, and the dream continues:
The minute you walked in the joint,
I could see you were a man of distinction,
A real Big Spender,
Good looking, so refined.
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?

So let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see.
HEY Big Spender,
Spend a little time with me.

Wouldn’t you like to have fun? Fun? Fun?
How’s about a few laughs? Laughs?
I can show you a good time,
Let me show you a good time.

The minute you walked in the joint,
I could see you were a man of distinction,
A real Big Spender,
Good looking, so refined.
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?

So let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see.
HEY Big Spender,
HEY Big spender!
HEY Big spender!

Spend a little time with me

If only!

(This article is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)