I Used to Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey

I Used to Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey

Stephen K. Amos

Language: English

Pages: 147

ISBN: 1780338570

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Growing up in a large Nigerian family in South London, Stephen K. Amos learnt early on to find the humour in every situation. Raised by his parents and extended family of 'aunts' and 'uncles', I Used to Say My Mother was Shirley Bassey tells the story of Stephen's chaotic upbringing in the carnival atmosphere of the late seventies and early eighties. Stephen describes his awkward beginnings as the only black kid in his class, where he told everyone his mum was Shirley Bassey to break the ice. Then, as a middle child in a large family, Stephen learnt stage presence by vying for attention and performing at family parties. Now a world-renowned comedian and performer, regularly selling out venues like the Hammersmith Apollo, Stephen looks back at his earlier life and the incidents which shaped him and continue to inspire his performances. Poignant, funny, and with the narrative gift Stephen is famous for, I Used to Say My Mother was Shirley Bassey is a memoir of a life fitting in, standing out, and (almost) always laughing.

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laughed. Today, although I can’t really remember their faces and I can’t really remember their names, I can sure remember their pointing fingers and their horrible laughter. It was the most humiliating day of my life and I ran straight home. When my mum saw me she was horrified. Less because of what had happened and more because I’d ruined my uniform. The next day she went marching to the headmaster to complain and Mr Hackett and I became firm enemies. A line had been drawn in the sand and I

tape deck and Gary fucking Numan came on. A huge star in the late seventies, Gary Numan had had three number ones including the hit song ‘Cars’ and he’d introduced electronic synthesizers into the pop mainstream. He was Albert’s favourite singer (how did he get so many girlfriends?) and the speakers pumped out: ‘Here in my car, I feel safest of all. I can lock all my doors. It’s the only way to live. In cars.’ Lyrically, it’s somewhere between what a special child and a hobo might say, if they

came second place only to ‘Donkey Kong’, which was loaded onto the family computer upstairs. Naturally, we weren’t allowed to use the family computer unless it was for educational purposes: homework only. I played it all the time though. The secret was not to get caught out – although I was often sprung by Mum. ‘What are you doing?’ she would bellow. I would jump. ‘Is it a toy?’ Silence. ‘Who allowed you to switch it on?’ I was trying to think of a good answer. ‘Hmmm?’ I was paralysed

The only thing I’m certain of is they definitely didn’t have T-shirts with the words ‘Porn Star’ on them. See what I mean? Confusing. Then there is the question of which side of the fence you fall on. Or to put it another way, who do you fall on? When I was growing up you were either normal or queer. With lesbians slotting into the gay category and bisexuals being, well, picky, picky, picky. These days there are an array of confusing new terms. OK? Get ready. Here we go . . . Metrosexuality,

were getting towards the end and only one person had made it to the five-minute mark. The savvy ones amongst them realized that they would be denied their final blood match and so decided to get behind someone to give them a proper end game. But they didn’t choose someone good. They waited for the absolute worst train wreck of a gagsmith to take to the stage and laughed and applauded wildly whenever he said anything or made the smallest gesture. Looking into the comic’s eyes, you could see that

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