Will McAdam

“It was one of those stupid decisions. We all make them, especially during exam term…”

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It was one of those stupid decisions. We all make them, especially during exam term. I should’ve just gone for a walk, or gone to the gym to consolidate my (surprisingly big) guns. But, no. I decided, following moan after moan to my increasingly tired ginger gayfriend, that I should do a practice essay. It was the first one so far this term, and I thought I could do it closed book. Apparently not. With the white abyss of that blank page of cheap English Faculty paper in front of me, I felt I had no choice but to put my head in the nearest muscle man’s hands and weep. But, there was no muscle man. Apparently even they do work in exam term. I was all alone. Just me and a cheeky ciggie. Not that anyone was around to see how cool I looked.

With a ban on Facebook, my fag half done, and a burning desire not to see David Dimbleby usher in the type of Conservative swings not seen since Michael Portillo’s student days, I found myself in a pickle. Time for me to whip out the DVD I keep hidden under my pillow. It’s a shameful secret, but I’ve got to admit it. I just cannot get enough of it. Woah boy. We all do things more often than usual in exam term, and this is what I do. I put on a DVD, in the privacy of my own room, and beat my breast in pride, as I watch Shirley Bassey sing Goldfinger in a dress that probably is expensive, but which definitely doesn’t look it.

Let’s be frank about this: Shirl’s no Cheryl Cole. For starters, she can sing; although even the most robust of homosexuals must admit she’s not the cover girl she once was. But, that’s not the issue. During a term full of boredom, where the biggest thrill is the suggestion you might have been described on Fitfinder, Shirley Bassey – the woman, the diva, the Dame – is an inspiration like no other. Even Gary Barlow writes songs for her now: need I say more? Perhaps.

I defy you to watch her sing ‘I am what I am’, watch her turn every male eye in the house damp as she raises her intriguingly large hands (clamped firmly around everyone’s favourite pink feather boa), and not feel a tingle (whether in your heart or elsewhere), or a shiver of inspiration racing down your spine.

This woman’s been in the business longer than cats have been the pet-of-choice for glass-eyed evil geniuses. She’s 72. SEVENTY-TWO. And she can still make a favourable audience weep with joy.

So, let’s not be down about exams. Let’s perhaps try doing our practice essays open book. Let’s remember this one very important point: if a 72-year old woman can stand on a stage and belt out Goldfinger without anyone being in any doubt that she’s definitely not going to pass out, I think, I really do think, we can get through these next few weeks. And when we do, my friends, when we do, we can kick up our heels and indulge in the type of gaiety these stoopid, stoopid exams are denying us all.