Shirley's all made up and ready to be snapped, but she isn't quite as at ease as she was. She goes very quiet once I front of the camera and mutters to the photographer that she always feels "such a twat" having her picture taken. I decide it's probably best to stay out of her way - from what I've heard, you don't mess with Shirley when she's in a bad mood. Later, back at the hotel - after a much-needed beer - she's cheered up immeasurably, so much so that I feel brave enough to touch on the subject of her famous bad temper.
She understands because Shirley was, and still is, a fan too. She often talks about music being her salvation when she was a depressed, suicidal teenager, and now this notoriously insecure and self-deprecating woman is an idol herself. Scary, huh?
"No, I like being a role model because I know how much comfort my musical idols brought me. I like the feeling that I'm giving young women self-confidence. It sounds so clichéd, but it can be very moving. I get letters from young women who tell me 'I wanted to commit suicide and then I heard your record and it made me feel empowered. Now I'm feeling much better and I'm back at school and getting great grades' and I feel like 'Yes! Let's go girl!'." She jumps in the air, giving an imaginary high five to this fan she's just "saved". This isn't usual pop start monotone reciting how important his/her fans are with all the sincerity of a Tory MP. This is Shirley.