photo manipulations by nacrowe
i was born within a few months of AMY WINEHOUSE, so revisiting her music is always compelling because it makes me consider the distance of where my life is now and where hers ended. and it will probably always be that way, but man what a talent she was back in the 2000s. the second coming of BESSIE SMITH who paved he wave for countless "unconventional" female singers, most famously ADELE.
AMY (ON THE CORNER FILMS, 2015) is a documentary created in the wake of her untimely demise from succumbing to the effects of alcohol poising after a much publicized struggle with chronic alcoholism. but the film goes out of its way not to amp up her victimhood, instead presenting a driven, multi-faceted artist that had varied interests and a unique, charismatic presence that drove people towards her. i remember when encountering her music while i was working at a book store immediately after college jus thinking how much of a force of nature she came across as. she seemed like someone who was in control of her art and her image. she was a artist in ever sense of the word. she seemed to own her identity. several former confidantes even elucidate on how she manipulated those around her with her affection and brute sex appeal. i wasnt prepared for that going into the film but it was interesting nonetheless. i never saw her as a sex symbol, but in retrospect maybe now i can. again she was in control, that is, until she wasnt.
her contemporaries included other artists like THE LIBERTINES and LILY ALLEN (with histories themselves with substance abuse) among many others, but her los of control has long been pinpointed to her time in the ultra-chic CAMDEN TOWN scene in northwest LONDON with its private clubs, trendy pubs and celebrity culture. she jumped in head first and never came out basically.
interestingly, JAMES HETFIELD composed the METALLICA song "MOTH INTO FLAME" after watching this documentary and it very much delves into the depths of depravity and loss of self when people get too drawn into celebrity culure. that loss of self, loss of identity. that inability to suss out who are your actual friends and those with an agenda. hangers-on. moochers. parasites. including her boyfriend whom i dont even want to mention by name. he had his moment in the sun, hopefully now he'll just keep on living in her shadow the rest of his life.
in the end with WINEHOUSE we all lost. we lost a generational talent. her parents lost a daughter. those who supported and believed in her behind the scenes lost a friend and partner.
its the same story repeated. talented person becomes a star. they are sensitive, empathetic people by nature. they get exploited by those around them they can't say no to. they develop coping mechanisms, some healthy, some not. those that dont sometimes succumb to those unhealthy coping mechanisms and their phony friends flee like rats off a sinking ship. PRINCE, LIL PEEP, CHRIS CORNELL, WHITNEY HOUSTON, MARILYN MONROE, BON SCOTT, DINAH WASHINGTON, CHRIS FARLEY, PHIL LYNOTT, MAC MILLER, LAYNE STALEY, FRANKIE LYMON, ANDREW WOOD, JOHN BONHAM, SHANNON HOON, PAUL GRAY, JOHN BELUSHI, WAYNE STATIC, BRADLEY NOWELL, OL' DIRTY BASTARD, KURT COBAIN, THE REV, TOM PETTY, HILLEL SLOVAK, MIKE BLOOMFIELD, SCOTT WEILAND, JAY REATARD, DOLORES O'RIORDAN, KEITH MOON and the sad list goes on.
and on and on.