The only point of departure for me from the universal tide of shock and grief that followed the news of Amy Winehouse’s tragic death was that I’m not totally convinced the world of music has lost a genius.
The fault is probably mine. People whose opinion I respect rated her already among the greats with her third album still to come. I need to try harder and listen again to Frank and particularly Back to Black.
My patience with her music failed because I can’t hear her lyrics clearly. Perhaps it’s my ancient ears but I don’t have the same problem listening to, say, Adele. Without an appreciation of her music, it was Amy Winehouse, the paparazzi-fodder, with which I was the more familiar.
Her passing at the age of just 27 raises a host of questions to which there are no easy answers.
Amy Winehouse loved by her family, adored by fans, and apparently supported by a sympathetic management and record label was still set on a path of self-destruction that couldn’t be diverted from its inevitable conclusion.
Whatever the immediate cause of Winehouse’s death, the years of drug and alcohol abuse would have taken their toll on her constitution.
If all the protection of her fragile state both physical and mental, the rehab and the tropical island sojourns couldn’t protect her, how much harder it must be for ordinary families to save loved ones similarly afflicted. All power to agencies like AA that offer their help.
No doubt books are already underway about the demons that drove Winehouse inspiring her music and her decline.
I wouldn’t presume to suggest what makes an addict or why some can step back from the brink and others not. I suspect the answer will be linked to bio-chemical pre-dispositions.
I can’t see how legalising hard drugs would have had a detrimental impact on someone such as Winehouse seeing the ease with which she obtained them illegally. She wouldn’t have been supporting the lifestyles of criminal dealers and the quality of the stuff she was absorbing could have been guaranteed unadulterated. In any case drink was as much a threat to Winehouse as drugs.
Amy Winehouse’s death is a tragedy. But if her story persuades other young people they risk their lives when abusing drink and drugs, some good might come from this sad tale.