I don't tend to write about this sort of stuff, as I often think blogs that deal with these sort of subjects are always striving to make a more serious, political point, or
the writer is writing about the subject because they feel they have to comment on it, not because they're genuinely emotionally involved in the subject. But coming home from work today and hearing the news that Amy Winehouse had died, aged just 27, has genuinely thrown me. Not just because she's so young; not just because of all that untapped potential she still had within her, but because she was somebody who I liked, somebody who I admired, and trying to grasp the fact that she's died is truly bizarre.
Tomorrow, the media will be full of articles that celebrate Amy's life; I'd be willing to bet every penny I own that they focus on her 'tragic heroine' label; the failed relationships, the alcohol and drug problems, the fight to stay sober. As such, Amy stops being a person; she stops being a human being. Instead she becomes an exhibit, a statue for the media to hold up and say 'look! look what drugs do to you! Stay clean, kids, or end up like poor Amy'. The majority of these media outlets are the ones that delighted in posting pictures of 'sad' Amy looking dishevelled and lonely, because that sort of things sells papers. To them, Amy stopped being an actual person the moment she fell out of a club looking a bit worse for wear. Her life story is tragic, yes, but the media presence in it makes it all the more heartbreaking. There's a wonderful two-sidedness to the British media; kick them when they're down, praise them when they rise to the criticism and martyr them when they fail to fight their demons.
I won't remember Amy as a troubled figure, or as a junkie. I'll remember her as a musician, as a woman who was one of the best lyricist of the last 10 years. Her voice was beautiful; she was soulful, she put so much meaning and emotion into her songs and her lyrics walked that fine line between wit and heartbreak. 'Love is a Losing Game' is, in my view, her best creation. By all accounts, she was a warm, funny person who suffered the same problems as so many of us do; break-ups and make-ups, and it was these flaws that made her who she was. Mixing traditional jazz with modern rock and her unique, Cock-er-nee voice made her so different to listen to, and Back to Black moves from songs that make you dance to songs that make you cry in a matter of seconds.
I'll miss Amy Winehouse. I won't miss her being used as tabloid fodder, but instead I'll miss the girl who broke into the music scene and took it by storm. The music world has lost an incredible talent and it is that spark that we should remember her for. She was a real person, a real, flawed person, and it was because of that that so many people grew to love her. RiP Amy.