08 Dec Amy
I’m always wary of biopic documentaries, it seems so crass to charge in and make a film after someone has died, a cheap way to make a fast buck from a subject that will never fail to pull on people’s heart strings.
When I first heard about the Amy Winehouse documentary I was especially wary, particularly as it went in to production so soon after her death. Would it tell a real story with integrity or re-hash a load of shock footage in to the gross spectacle of someone’s inevitable demise? Would she be immortalised as a tortured fuck up?
I met Amy Winehouse in a bar in Camden many years ago, I had no idea who she was, I thought she was a pop star. She asked us to buy her drinks because the bar man had refused to serve her any more. She looked sad and lost.
In the years that followed, through all the headlines, internet videos and photographs of her downward spiral I felt really sad because even though we only exchanged a few words I had had an opportunity to see her as she was, a human being, not a construct created by the press to sell newspapers. The thing that made me most sad was that with every drunken performance, every slip up on stage you could see the fire being extinguished, a fire that made her one of the most talented musicians of my lifetime by far. It’s rare that someone like that comes along.
Music is life blood and we champion and celebrate moderately talented, pre-prepped, photoshopped, mass produced pop bunnies who take their clothes off in the hope of being loved. Like fast food, it’s cheap, unsophisticated and bad for our kids. Where are the Nina Simones and Ella Fitzgeralds?
I’m happy to say that this film is a great tribute to Amy Winehouse and I believe it has integrity at it’s core. I also believe it will go some way to painting over the tragic picture that was created by the newspapers, and be a reminder of what a cool person she was long after those newspapers have been thrown in the bin. It shows the darkest and brightest side of human beings, reminds us that red top journalists are (mostly) scumbags and will hopefully make it clearer that even good people take drugs to hide from things that make them sad, and that doesn’t make them bad people.
I hope lots of people watch this film.