Saturday, 6 August 2011

On Amy Winehouse's death

I’ve no intention to sound cynical, but perhaps Amy Winehouse’s death should have been a suicide. If only to go a little bit easier on the world and these times of ours. It’s just that deaths demand explanations; suicides defy them. With suicides, well, we are at least entitled to put some part of the blame on the one who did it. After all – he had to tie the knot, load the gun, find the roof…

With Amy Winehouse – it’s like life had a choice. I remember the day I learned of Heath Ledger’s death and that desolate feeling of standing naked in the middle of the greyest, commonest street in your hometown. Filled with awkwardness and insecurity. For if all that was not an insurance, then what was? Life is unfair, okay, sleeping pills, okay, playing the Joker, okay… It still didn't add up. How come you need no crack addictions or cancers or plane crashes or freak accidents? How come you only need to be there, alive and breathing?

But again: with Amy Winehouse – it’s different, as tabloids and flashy TV reports had always been ready to testify. Tales of her self-destructive lifestyle had long overshadowed her exciting take on Motown and become ordinary, if not mundane. I myself may have many reservations when it comes to her creative output, but there’s just no denying the bright, inescapable force of nature that she was. Amid the flimsy hoards of the wimpy and the whiny here was someone with style, looks, and personality. Who, if nothing else, just kept radiating power and wonderful self-confidence… And the tragedy is that she didn’t kill herself, not quite. Someone else did, someone who had perhaps an option or two.

Yes, on the face of it, Amy Winehouse’s death could not have been more obvious or more explicable. You’ve got the reasons, you’ve seen the photos, you’ve read the stories; she had certainly done her share to justify the sticky outcome. And still there’s something about the whole thing that just feels wrong and makes an old atheist raise his face to the sky and ask “why?” Something that will make you think of Heath Ledger, totally against the logic. This something is age, the only thing we haven’t quite learned to defy or reconcile with.

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