Thursday, January 17, 2019


Can you see who this is? You knew what she looked like when she was dressed to the nines, fancy, beautiful, retro. This screen capture isn't indicative of bad times or exploitation, just security tapes of an artist looking in a mirror, alone with herself for better or worse. It was the one travail she couldn't handle, and proved lethal. 
It might have been a more apropos graphic to promote the 2015 documentary "Amy" directed by Asif Kapadia. The world's rarest orchids cannot survive even a cocooned hothouse without care 24/7, such is their bargain. She should have had it since, as Tony Bennett reminded us in the film, she was that important. And yes, it could have been possible. The too far gone insane and truly evil seem to be immune, but others can saved by the right experts. A physician friend reminds me that drug and alcohol addiction are harder to cure than cancer, but herein, no one in her immediate familial relationships pushed hard for medical care.

Note that the anomalous greatness is taken for granted, and all that's left for discussion is her medical/psychological plight. Explanation: not in the film, but dead on, author Nick Coleman's phrasing of Amy Winehouse's "...terrible, bone-eating pain that is always the result of too much compulsion;" i.e., the very template for superiority in the arts.

One such observation stood right out to me. One of her producers/song collaborators pushed for medical help for her when he first became aware of the problems, very early in her career. He claimed if she had gotten longterm help way before she was a media figure and subject to a very exploitative tabloid press personal harrassment every time she went outside, the whole process may have gone easier with less resistance from her and possibly put her on a better road; i.e., those who backslide repeatedly until something clicks later on and they give it a chance.

Artists are artists because we perceive life differently. Add deep seated psychological problems that one may or may not be born with to the whole miasma, and it can incubate forces which may not have been so overpowering in more ordinary lives. The documentary then adds specific, poignant evidence, like the dismissive jailbird husband asked about Amy and quoted saying directly to the camera "I can do better."  I hope that's his fu-kin' epitaph, "I can do better..." when the inevitable catches up to his future anonymity.
 Image result for Amy winehouse documentary

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