Everett True

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

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Amy Winehouse dies

Hannah sent me a message on Facebook, that I received at 4.30am over here in Brisbane.

Amy Winehouse died today in Camden at around 4pm. Fuck. 27.

Doubtless, all the reports already mention the following:

  • The ‘outpouring of grief’ on Twitter
  • The fact she was 27 when she died
  • How other famous people are ‘beyond sad’
  • The ‘tremendous waste’ of such a ‘phenomenal talent’
  • How she lived a ‘troubled life’
  • Her drink and drug ‘problems’

I don’t mean this to sound cynical. I’m genuinely upset by this news. It just seems that the media always reacts in a certain way to a ‘famous’ person’s untimely death, doesn’t matter who they are. I love Amy’s voice, the way it so resonated with knowingness and promise and complicity and joy. I loved the way she moved on stage, her clear and abiding love for music and her songs. Folk talk about emotion, about great singers. Folk call this person or that person incredible because they can gargle their scales in the bath. Folk fall over themselves to praise anyone who can sing without an auto-tuner, anyone who can. None of that matters shit. I measured my life by Amy Winehouse. Here’s what I wrote for Village Voice in June 2008.

I don’t like listening to Amy Winehouse in Australia, not here where it stays 28C and gets dark at 5.30pm.

It’s a shocking discovery, if not entirely unexpected. In my old life, Ms Winehouse signified late night sophistication, the allure of cheap neon, the allure of being part of the now, warmth, familiarity, integrity in a world hardly based on same, nostalgia for the shakes, slippers carelessly discarded on bedroom stairs with cassette tapes lying shattered all around, revelry with no desire for illumination, the usual. Now, she sounds hasty, not bawdy exactly, but tarnished by association. What use do I have for intimacy when surrounded by so much open green, refreshed by tropical rain? I can still delight in her voice, appreciate the thrill of her chase as she momentarily gives herself over to The Song but now I find myself turned off by the outmoded clutter of production, the reference to the Present Day (whatever that signifies). The horns on ‘Rehab’ still sound kittenish and coquettish but … y’know … rehab? Despite my announcement to bemused Aussies that I can’t be handling alcohol right now because I may have handled alcohol too much in the past, I don’t make a song and dance about it. Or do I? Is it simple jealousy that makes me unable to appreciate Ms Winehouse right now?

I don’t know (shrugs).

One reason I appreciated Ms Winehouse so much when I first heard her (roundabouts last Christmas, 30 years after everyone else) was because I usually feel so alienated by the zeitgeist — all those tawdry talent contests on TV, all that midriff flesh hanging loose — it felt so comforting to be in the muesli-bar aisles and grooving to the same sounds as The Herd. Now, I get that feeling from Kate Nash (only yesterday in Woolworth’s) but not Ms Winehouse. She’s too worldly. Plus, I never could stand the coffeehouse gentrification of Nina Simone. Now, when I hear those beautiful muted horns on Frank’s ‘Help Yourself’, I just yearn for a rerun of Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings’ triumphant rerun of Marva Whitney’s times and voices.

I’m reading Jonathan Coe. He came free with an airport copy of The Times. He greatly depresses me. Partly because his tales of “prog rock, punk rock, bad poetry, first love (etc)” remind me of John Braine (who always greatly depressed me), and partly because he reminds me of Amy Winehouse — cutting edge culture commodified for Those With Jobs, Those With Homes.

Isaac wanted to know why Amy Winehouse is dead. I wasn’t sure what to tell him. It took several attempts. Charlotte said something about how she “liked to live a life of danger”. That’s as maybe. Or maybe she just liked to feel alive? I can certainly sympathise with anyone who was reported to pass out “three times a week” through drinking. ‘Me & Mr Jones’ starts up three songs in, and tears prickle underneath my eyelids. Not because Amy is dead. It’s just the way they always do. It’s so uncalled-for beautiful. She was so generous in the way she shared her beauty.

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse. I suspect we’ll always be missing your next album.

9 Responses to Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

  1. Pingback: Amy Winehouse « Reinspired

  2. hannah golightly July 24, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I’m so sad about this. I miss her already. Which may sound stupid as I never even met her. But I do. It’s come as a major blow that I can’t explain as I don’t understand. But in some way, I’m in mourning right now.

  3. hannah golightly July 24, 2011 at 9:16 am

    There was NO ONE like her. In an era of copy-catting she was original.

  4. ogsy July 24, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Don’t get me wrong, I was never a fan. But what I fucking hated was the press camped outside her house, and worse. Sickest of all was the decision of the BBC News to get an insight into this tragedy from a former showbiz editor at the News of the World. Fucking parasites, the lot of em.

  5. mmc July 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    One reason I appreciated Ms Winehouse so much when I first heard her was because I usually feel so alienated by the zeitgeist

    Exactly how I felt when I stumbled on “Rehab” around the time it crossed the pond to North America. I was in a pretty dark place in my life when I heard it, mid-twenties failures of various sorts, but also in a period of spiritual reawakening, and it was the perfect song for that, and I built a mixtape around it, walked around listening to it, etc.

  6. Joseph Kyle July 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    this is a fine piece, Everett.

  7. Simonson July 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    The death of anyone due to drugs (if that is the case) is an occasion for regret, mourning, and reflection. I live in Camden and know many who have died the same way yet they are referred to in the tabloid press as worthless scum who the world is better off without. Everyone of these had families, were loved and many had unfulfilled talent. Lets extend our sympathies to them as well as Amy. It’s drug death remembrance day soon so lets remember amy, epic, chet, my brother, Karl Newcombe, and the others who died needlessly.

  8. hannah golightly July 25, 2011 at 6:48 am

    It seems that something other than an overdose happened. No one knows what yet.

  9. Aallyhia Cruz February 11, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Well one things for sure we are all going to Miss Ms.Winehouse.Her song Rehab was the medicine for when I was feeling down.Amy wether some hated or loved her like it or not she wil be missed.
    “They try to make me go to rehab but I said no,no,no.Yes I’ve been black but I when I come back no,no,no.”-Rehab (2007) R.I.P Amy Winehouse

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