Saturday, 23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse 1983 - 2011

There have been appalling news headlines lately and now, another tragedy. Of course the horrifying events in Norway, with at least 93 dead: innocent teenagers shot by a cold-blooded extremist; represents a bewildering malevolence. Yet that does not diminish the terrible nature of Amy Winehouse's untimely death at 27 years old.

Like other talented artists before her, Amy Winehouse became a victim of her success. The cause of death is unknown at this stage, but the speculation is that her addictions have killed her. Addiction is almost impossible to beat, and to compound this, often the victim feels absolutely invincible. Amy Winehouse's inevitable death will no doubt enshrine her. The glamour of drugs and alcohol must be tarnished, it's unbearable. The fact that now this so-called "27 Club" is being heavily reported and noted, will only further entrench the allure of drug-taking. Worse still, drugs arguably will be seen as a rite of passage for any serious and true musician, especially so for jazz, soul or rock; a chance to prove their mettle.

Amy Winehouse admitted that she had manic depression, and that her hair became bigger the less confident she felt; her tattoos were a pain she enjoyed; her self-harm also, a companion to her sorrow; her drinking and drug-taking synonymous with her very identity, so much so that all these facets were impossible to sacrifice. Her winged eyeliner, so extreme that it was more egyptian than 60s, also became her hallmark. It is tempting to blame her sometime husband for 'introducing' her to hard drugs and tipping the balance - but in truth, in those 'showbiz' circles, it wouldn't have taken long before it was someone else offering. Amy Winehouse was susceptible.

In an era when it's so difficult to stand out, and even looking "alternative" has in itself become a fashion trend with its own unwritten, harshly judged rules, Amy Winehouse truly managed to create a recognisable image. Her hair, tattoos, makeup and fashion was all her own invention, and that naturally deep voice - which has been now silenced forever - had effortlessly evoked pain, empathy and hope, to unite a wide-ranging audience from young to old and across cultures.

Plenty of hackneyed phrases will be used; platitudes will ring out, but let's now mark this blog post with the assurance that she has left her mark, and indeed it'll only take a bouffant black hairstyle and that winged eyeliner, before she is remembered afresh.


  1. So sad Gail but your writing is beautiful.

  2. A touching post. She will be missed x

  3. @Shell senseless style Thanks, I read yours too xx