Today came the tragic, shocking news that Amy Winehouse had been found dead of undisclosed means. Within moments, the Twitterverse, the Book of Faces and the tubes of the interweb were abuzz. Many were saying that it was a shock, a shame, inevitable, or too soon. Was it really?
Amy Winehouse was 27 years old and for the last couple, was battling a very public issue with drugs and alcohol. If you had been watching the pop quiz Nevermind the Buzzcocks on March 8th 2004, you would have seen a very fresh faced, almost shy Winehouse who looked and sounded like a throw-back to a different generation. She was full of potential, had natural looking hair and was very attractive. Her next appearance was 16th November 2006, just over two years later and she had totally changed to be covered in tattoos, wearing a wig/birds next on her hair and generally acting as if not completely sober.
In just two years she had changed, and she remained this way for the last five years of her life. Many public displays of intoxication, in the gossip columns non stop, looking worse and worse. We all saw this and yet today, people were saying that they were shocked this had happened. Frankly I would have been more shocked if she had lived to a hundred.
It is a shame that she only recorded two albums although there is sure to be a ‘lost’ recordings album coming out around Christmas. She had a great voice, and a very different way of using it. It was soulful as well as raw, it was something special so yes it is a shame we won’t hear more of it but doesn’t that make us guilty of being selfish? After all, if we were that concerned that we wouldn’t hear her sing anymore, shouldn’t we have done something to help? If it is a shame, it seems more to be because we won’t hear her rather than she won’t sing more.
People are making a lot out of this Club27, where musicians such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones all died at the same age, and all coincidentally, were substance abusers. Kurt Cobain is the only one to join the club via shotgun. No mention of Pat Tillman, a very true American hero, even to my jaded way of seeing things.
Why is there a Club27 and no club for say, 33. Club33 would have members such as John Belushi (substance abuse), Chris Farley (substance abuse) and some guy named Jesus who started some religion. Club36 would have Bob Marley, Marilyn Monroe, and Lord Byron for members. It seems that as soon as someone dies, so many things are read into the facts as to make it something special. People die, it isn’t special it is just sad.
I think most people would agree that nearly everyone dies too soon. James Dean, Tupac, River Pheonix, everyone dies. You will, I will, we will all die. I am sure I will die too soon, unless my creditors catch up with me and then it will be too late. Hitler didn’t die too soon, nor did other people, you don’t wish people to die sooner. It isn’t the done thing. The polite thing to do is say that they died too soon. As will we all.
At time of writing this, these are the hot topics on twitter
It appears that the death of one person and the Club27 overshadows the deaths of 94 Norwegians. In what universe does that make sense? We didn’t know Amy Winehouse to talk to, so why do we mourn her more than 94 other people we didn’t actually know. Yes, we did know of Ms Winehouse but we also know of politicians, newspaper reporters and postmen, should they attract as much attention? Of course not because they aren’t famous, are they.
Friends are saying that people shouldn’t make jokes about Amy Winehouses death, that they should understand how difficult it is to deal with addiction. Addiction is a terrible thing, just ask any smoker, but so is mental illness, just ask me, but I don’t hold back on mental illness jokes anymore than I would on any other subject. Just because someone has died doesn’t mean humour cannot be employed to deal with it. I certainly used it when dealing with my own suicidal thoughts. Besides, does anyone really think that someone who has died would want people to cry, mourn, be serious and straight faced? I know I would want people to be drunk, laughing and having fun, life is too short, as Amy Winehouse just proved.
Oh, is it too early for “the next time someone suggests going to rehab, don’t say no, no, no”?