Friday, 12 August 2011

I go back to Amy...

You've got to get up every morning...

with a smile on your face and show the world

all the love in your heart.

Then people going to treat you better...

You're going to find, yes, you will ...

That you're beautiful ... as you feel.'

The 'Beautiful' lyrics from one of Amy Winehouse's idols, Carol King.

Her album, Tapestry, undoubtedly featured as a permanent fixture on Amy's ipod with many tracks in her top 25 Most Played.

I wouldn't be surprised if she had listened to the album more than a 1,000 times. Like Amy's personality - this album is highly addictive.

There's a song for every stage of being in love from 'I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet.' To my personal favourite 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Women.' King sings her heart out(if you'll pardon the pun) about the most powerful addiction of all...which of course, can only be love.

I feel heartbroken for Amy, yes, she had some serious issues, a destructive battle with drink and drugs, an evil eating disorder coupled with the ingrained belief that she was simply, 'No Good.'

Oh Amy, why couldn't you see you were good, better than good, amazing, if not sensational. It gets me so cross when you say to someone: 'Isn't the death of Amy Winehouse so tragic'? And they reply :' No she deserved it, she was a junkie.' It riles me. It really does. Shut up. Have you no compassion? No one deserves to die you small-minded. IDIOT.

Learning the shocking news of Amy Winehouse's death disturbed me more than Princess Diana's. Don't get me wrong - her death is horrifyingly tragic in a completely different way. Some may criticise me for this... But listen up. I was only a teenager when my mother broke me the news.

I was young and naive, and knew very little about all the good she did. I know it's hard to put the two women in the same realm, one a princess touring the world reaching out to the sick and needy, and the other being sick and needy. And I don't mean that in a horrible, harsh way.

I love Amy - she touched the hearts of millions with her truly frank and honest music. She struck a chord with those affected by addiction – painfully living out her problems in the press.

But the inspirational Diana and musically gifted, Amy, share many similarities too. Like Princess Diana, Amy publicly battled with Bulimia - and was hounded by the media 24/7.

Both were completely down-to-earth homely girls, who liked nothing more than spending time with people they loved the most as well as strangers. They could talk to a tramp and make them feel loved.

Despite the fame and fortune they kept it real. They were quirky. They broke the mould. They led the way for others to different too- and above all, they were always true to being themselves.

I will never forget the Saturday when the reality of her death broke on Sky News. It was one of those moments I will never forget... I bet if you think hard enough you will be able to vividly remember exactly what you were doing when.

1.) The first plane hit the first Twin Tower (I was on a work placement at The Worthing Herald, I received a text and I thought it was the first part of a joke.)

2.) During the London bombings (I was power-walking to work on Oxford Street – and thankful I rarely took the tube)

3.) When JR was shot in Dallas (ok, that was added for humour)

When you hear bad news, whether it's national, international – or more importantly more closer to home (like family news). You stop everything you are doing. You pause and automatically assume it's not real. This is not happening. I wished it had not happened for Amy.

So it comes as no surprise for those of you who read my blog, that I was with my two nephews, sister, and her beloved, Mark. Sat comfortably on their sofa giving Toby a foot massage when I listened in disbelief. My heart sank. She was just 27, only three years younger than me... And oh, oh so very troubled. I squeezed my nephew tight and prayed he would never fall victim to drugs.

Judge me if you like – call me sad/mad cow. After all, it's not like she is my sister this Amy Winehouse woman. No, you're right. She isn't.. she is however, my soul sister.

That crazy bee hived hair lady has coached me through some fantastic times in my life, as well as some not so fantastic times (mainly break ups with bad London men.)

The tattooed temptress had been a staple part of my music diet. I could always rely on her powerful voice to snap me out of a bad dark mood.

So what - she was an addict – get over yourself - that doesn't make her a terrible person. It shows she is real. I have great admiration for the sassy singer. She said what she thought, did whatever she wanted not giving a second thought about what the media published about her.

Or did she? Was the media's evil and critical coverage to blame for her demise? Why was she so self destructive and completely hell bent on getting out of her mind on a mix of narcotics and alcohol?

Did she hate herself so much that she didn't believe she deserved to be happy? Or, was she controlled by dark paranoid thoughts -the only way to free her mind was to get high and carefree? She once admitted openly in an interview that she was her own worst enemy. Or was it Blake? Did he haunt her? So many questions left unanswered. No one will ever really know what was going on in that incredibly creative mind of hers. I wished someone could have saved her from herself.

If only she'd listened to my opening lyrics penned by Carol King. Yes, Amy, you had your issues, but you were you were beautiful. Maybe that was her problem she never felt beautiful..

And that becomes even more poignant now when you listen to her music. You feel her pain. The words paint the dark sinister thoughts that she fought daily.

Let's hope her father's foundation can save the masses out there - who still struggle daily to the beat the demonic addictions that attack through their bodies and minds like a ravaging disease.

Lets spare a moments thought to the millions suffering in silence. Are they listening to Amy Winehouse to get them through the days? I'm an addict, we all are. Whether it's shopping, gym, Facebook, blogging - we all have it in us. For myself, the self confessed communication addict - I will mostly be listening to Back to Black and Frank on repeat. 'Stronger Than Me, Tears Dry on Their Own and Monkey Man being in my 25 most played - and yours?

Google her musical idols too and give them a whirl...from Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington to Jimi Hendrix and The Shangri-Las. I personally would type in Carol King into itunes first.

Amy loved the track 'So Far Away' so much so, that it was played out at the end of her funeral. Listen to the words. They paint a picture of a lost soul pining for her soul mate. Maybe it wasn't addiction that killed her – it was the longing for Blakey. Was it a broken heart that killed her?

I'm a hopeless romantic – So I'm rolling with this. Blake incarcerated, and father to another woman's child. If that were me, and I'd lost John. I would be a broken woman.

Back to the words – they speak for themselves. Powerful and emotive...

'So far away -

Doesn't anybody stay in one place - anymore

It would be so fine to see your face at my door.

Doesn't help to know - that you're just time away

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood

Holding you again could only do me good.'

R.I.P forever Amy Winehouse. Continue to listen to her music and keep her legend alive. And remember...

You've got to get up every morning

with a smile on your face and show the world

all the love in your heart.

Then people going to treat you better...

You're going to find, yes, you will ...

That you're beautiful ... as you feel.'

Follow me on Twitter @sammyemmamay

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