24.7.11

back to black



Having never met Amy Winehouse, I can't tell you any anecdotes*, nor take credit for any of the photos in this tribute - apart from doing some painterly things to the last shot in this post. While looking around online for images and youtube videos, I found that most of the images of Amy Winehouse were.. exploitive. Catching her looking bad, out of it... you can do that with anyone, you know. I've shot people and caught them in half blink and they don't look great. For someone who lived her light in the spotlight, it seemed the hunger for her looking her worst was.. oh it's just so sad. The whole thing.

*(But Russell Brand did: and he told it beautifully, here, as just retweeted by a friend).



She was only 27: it seemed she was around so long, and had disappeared from public view for so long, but like other stars who burned brightly, and briefly, she seemed to cram a lot of living into such a short time (did you know that everyone who died young - Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Kobain, Jim Morrison.. ALL 27). We always knew she wouldn't last forever, although we hoped she would - which is perhaps why her vulnerability mixed with her seeming toughness to make something that was so tragic, but also quite beautiful. And her taste in music, her friendship with the brilliant producer Mark Ronson, the musicians she worked with..



It wasn't just her talent: she also had such a strong brand. Was she a style icon? I can't tell. She wasn't a role model, like an Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe or Jackie Kennedy.. but the way she took certain iconic ideas of the Sixties Motown girls.. the big eyeliner, bee hive hair, but it certainly wasn't period dressing. The shorts, tees.. what can I say. She was her own person. The love child of Diana Ross and Billie Holiday. I'd have loved to see her do a remake of Lady Sings the Blues.



My last video for this little tribute is, ironically, from a concert sponsored by our new, current, all time favourite phone company, Vodaphone. We can't sing Vodaphone's praises enough. And it was at Somerset House: home to London Fashion Week. This is what Freja, who uploaded the video, said:

"Amy Winehouse live performance "Back To Black", Vodafone Somerset House, 2007. She was sober, sounded amazing, and this is really impressive and amazing performance. She insert a part of Shangri - Las song "Remember (Walking In The Sand)" during the song, as she often does."



Someone wrote that she said if she died today, she'd be happy. No regrets, coyote.

And I've just discovered: this North London, white, Jewish, middle class girl's birthday was the day after mine.

Rest in Peace, Amy, though I have a hunch you're still giving them hell, wherever you are. In a voice that's a gift from God.

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)

16 comments:

Abigael said...

so sad :(

http://likemousseauchoco.blogspot.com/

Joni said...

Your birthady is 13 September? Mine too!

Anyway, I wasn't really a fan of hers (I only liked 'Back to black' and 'You know I'm no good'), but I liked her style. I actually liked seeing pictures of her looking good :) I kinda hoped she'd recover from her addiction(s) and live a long happy life and I was sad when I read that she died. It's always tragic when somebody dies, especially so young...

slowdownapproaching30 said...

So very tragic..i saw at Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2004 and she was such a performer and I feel so honored now that I had the opportunity to see her live.

alexandratherese said...

It's quite bizarre - one day she was a singer everyone had forgotten about because she hadn't done anything for a couple of years and then BAM - it's all over the headlines, Amy Winehouse has been found dead. What a waste of such talent, she had such an incredible voice and you could feel the sheer emotion she put into her music.

style odyssey said...

wow, amazing voice, and i rather like this song. i really didn't know who she was, i honestly didn't know if she was a performer or simply famous for her unusual style. (yeah, i'm one of those people who does not keep up w/ pop culture at all.)
that last photo is haunting and kind of beautiful.
anywya, what a sad, sad tale. how did she die? 27, that is so young. poor girl.
xo

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

uh oh...blogger is up to its old tricks. my post disappeared...i don't feel like rewriting it. :(
xoxo

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

well, how abou that- there's my post! xo

Soccer Mom Style said...

I'm like Stephanie, I don't keep up with pop culture or even current events (yes, bad me) but this is so sad. btw, she has my bday.
So strange you mentioned number 27. When I studied Russian literature in high school I remember that was a common age that many talented poets have died: one of them my favorite Lermontov. This is so sad...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lermontov

Kate said...

She was such a talented singer, such a shame she didn't look after herself better.
www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

polka dot said...

Maya, Stephanie: I wouldn't have expected you to know her - I was wondering if anyone outside the UK did. I probably wouldn't know a UK singer.. no, that's not true. I knew of LIndsey Lohan's problems, but that's also cause I caught up while in the States.

I'm not saying that I 'loved' her - she was so not a girl's girl - while going thru the photos and videos, the most popular recurring videos were the ones of her punching someone. Most likely another woman. She was so jealous: back to black was about her boyfriend (future husband) getting back with his ex - and I doubt, if for some reason we were ever in the same room together - we'd have got on.

She was deeply flawed - and fatally self destructive. We always knew it was just a question of when. It's not even that I felt moved to tears when my husband said she died. It was more.. I felt like paying tribute to how she created a a brand: how she made herself into such a unique style icon.

It's interesting to hear your thoughts - thank you - and Joni, lovely to hear we share the same birthday! And yes, Maya, I remember we talked about being one day apart.

Which just occurred to me: how could a fellow Virgo be so.. imperfect? Unmethodical.. she was an even more chaotic disorganised Virgo than I am! Speaking of which: better run.

Soccer Mom Style said...

I just realized not only she was born on the same day, but the year 1983 also is a year of a Pig (Boar), which is also my sign according to the Chinese calendar. Sooo, that's why I'm so disorganize!
RIP, Amy Jade...

The Foolish Aesthete said...

The most I ever knew of Amy Winehouse was after her brief life. Really tragic, and I only belatedly discovered how talented she was. Makes me really reflect on the words "out, out, brief candle ..." and the rest of it.

polka dot said...

p.s. Something that did move me to tears: Russell Brand's post: http://tiny.cc/xogg6

adrielleroyale said...

So sad - Russell Brand did tell it beautifully. My brother is struggling out of the same sort of mess as described in his post so I have some understanding of these kinds of situations, but he described that distant sort of stare perfectly that I had never really been able to pinpoint... Anyway, so though this is "typical" of famed addicts, it is no less heart wrenching to me to see it happen - the life, the talent, the struggle and the end. Very nice of you to remember her so well Jill - as is your way.. not everyone will or can find that bit of humanity that is becoming so rare these days. :)

TheKiwiBex said...

One of the loveliest tributes to Amy Winehouse that I've read!

AvaPilar said...

We'll all miss Amy and her beautiful voice. Such a horrible shock, and far too young to die. By the way, you missed Brian Jones on your list of the those who have deceased at 27.