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Crack Lung
June 23, 2008 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Amy Winehouse has Emphysema. The 24 year old artist, whose career has netted multiple awards but has often been overshadowed by her drug use, now faces a lung condition that can be slowed but never reversed, with effects ranging from shortness of breath to cyanosis and heart faliure.
posted by Artw (292 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Will they try to make her go to rehab?
posted by optovox at 1:52 AM on June 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


I thought about a rehab reference for the title, but then I said no, no, no.
posted by Artw at 1:56 AM on June 23, 2008 [54 favorites]


She has a great voice. Just a shame about the person it's attached to.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:59 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, her dad says she has emphysema, but that's it. Amy's a great singer and songwriter, who is brutal to her body.
posted by Joybooth at 2:04 AM on June 23, 2008


And here I thought she just had zero impulse control and multiple addictions.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:20 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks heaps for the spoiler. Now I'll have to resort to reading about Brangelina's desire to adopt an alien baby in this week's gossip mags.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:48 AM on June 23, 2008


Her dad actually appealed to drug dealers to stop selling to her. Talk about the ultimate admission of total failure as a parent.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:50 AM on June 23, 2008


Talk about the ultimate admission of total failure as a parent.
Seriously? I am embarrassed that I know this much about Amy Winehouse, but by all accounts, she was a normal, if slightly rebellious, teenager, and until fairly recently, she was of a healthy size and didn't appear in the gossip columns for smoking crack, etc. Whatever she has going on now is likely a manifestation of some kind of mental illness which has nothing to do with the way she was raised. I think the fact that her dad is doing everything in his power to help his daughter (which, since she is a legal adult with a shitload of her own money, isn't much) speaks to the fact that he is, actually, a great parent.
posted by cilantro at 3:04 AM on June 23, 2008 [51 favorites]


I'm sure he'd welcome your suggestions about how you stop your adult daughter fucking up her life, allkindsoftime. Feel free to provide them.

Hell, there are probably a few parents reading mefi right now with adult offspring who are determined to do dumb, self-destructive stuff. I'm sure they'd welcome your simple steps to get them to cut that shit out.
posted by rodgerd at 3:10 AM on June 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


Is this where we all make ourselves feel righteous and superior by mocking troubled people?
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 AM on June 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: mocking troubled people

I'd say that's a yes.
posted by bwg at 3:14 AM on June 23, 2008


HA HA!
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:20 AM on June 23, 2008


Whilst I'm no big fan of Winehouse, I get sick of hearing all this shit about her. She's a talented musician, and a nutcase. She's also rich. Of course she's into drugs. Did the News of the World et al. write spiteful gossip like this in the days of the Stones or the Beatles?

Fame, eh? It's a killer disease.
posted by Acey at 3:23 AM on June 23, 2008


Does this make anyone else sad? I've had a feeling for a while that if she doesn't get the right kind of help she's going to kill herself. I get no pleasure watching someone self-destruct so dramatically with paparazzi cameras documenting every painful moment, and every other blog and message board laughing at how horrible she looks.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:25 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Her dad actually appealed to drug dealers to stop selling to her.

A full-grown woman with money, determination, and an intercontinental career is not even going to be around for her father to do anything but try to phone. Asking the dealers to lay off is ludicrous (because where would dealers be if they started caring about who they hurt?), but I can't blame him for trying. He might have had better luck trying her handlers and friends, but they also don't own her, don't have much motivation to aggravate her, and can't stop her from doing whatever the fuck she wants to do. All you can do to save determined addicts is get them convicted or declared incompetent and then throw them into a place where it's hard to get what's killing them. Of course, then maybe something or someone else will kill them.
posted by pracowity at 3:36 AM on June 23, 2008


cilantro writes 'Whatever she has going on now is likely a manifestation of some kind of mental illness'

More like a manifestation of Blake Fielder-Civil.
posted by jack_mo at 3:38 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Louche, yes, it makes me sad too. She was a beautiful and extraordinarily talented young lady who could have had an amazing future ahead of her. With her fame and riches, she's sadly turned into something else, something sad, and if I can say this without sounding judgmental, something ugly. I really hope she hasn't reached a dead end, and that there's still hope for her to turn around.
posted by premiumpolar at 3:46 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not judging the guy about his talented and screwed up adult child (if we believe that people can rise above an awful upbringing due to their character, the opposite is likely to apply) but where is the good, or even the neutral, in him making himself the story by blabbing this to the press? It seems unclassy and ghoulish somehow, since there is nothing to be done about it and disclosing an illness seems like one of those things you let the afflicted party do, or not do as they wish to. It's Amy Winehouse; the odds that she was never going to explain the hospital thing without her dad helpfully filling in the blanks are very slim.

It seems like there has been some nontrivial increase over the last few years of parents of freaking-out stars who have journo phone numbers on speeddial.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:46 AM on June 23, 2008


She has a great voice. Just a shame about the person it's attached to.

That voice would be nothing special without the person to which it is attached. It's the price some performers pay to reach their fans.

Rock on Amy. Don't listen to the squares.
posted by three blind mice at 3:47 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Rock on Amy.

Indeed.
posted by fire&wings at 4:01 AM on June 23, 2008


That voice would be nothing special without the person to which it is attached.

Well she's got a great voice full stop... but the 'heart', the core of herself as an artist, what makes her a great star comes from what's inside. Unfortunately that also leads to self-destructive behavior. Yeah, I feel sad for Amy because in what seems to now be a world of utterly over-produced plastic singers she seemed like a throwback to better time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:14 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


HA HA!

Congratulations on an absolutely vile and witless comment. Your compassion for your fellow creatures is obviously without bounds.

Does this make anyone else sad?

Yes, it does. This is a talented and troubled person who is doing herself a deal of damage. I hope she can pull herself back from the edge.
posted by Wolof at 4:25 AM on June 23, 2008


Maybe it says more about me than I want to consider, but I'd always assumed that drug dealers would consider it something of a prize to be known as "the dealer who provided XXXs fatal high".

Telling dealers to back off is never going to happen. She's rich, she's desperate and now she's going to be in physical and mental pain. They can demand pretty much any price they want...
posted by twine42 at 4:26 AM on June 23, 2008


Baby smoke with me
And tell me what you see
You're not gonna see the best of me yet
Given time I'll fall behind all the rest

I got more crack in me
As the whole world can see
I can catch the pipe in my hands
Wait, what I forgotten who I am

Remember my shame
Fame

I'm gonna live not much longer
I've really learned how to fly
High

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 AM on June 23, 2008


You people have hilarious fantasies about dealers. I thought more of you were... experienced.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:31 AM on June 23, 2008


Wait wait wait--a up and coming musical entertainer has turned to drugs??
posted by DU at 4:33 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did the News of the World et al. write spiteful gossip like this in the days of the Stones or the Beatles?

Pretty much, yeah. Remember Marianne Faithfull and the Mystery of the Hidden Mars Bar?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:33 AM on June 23, 2008


So how does she get emphysema when as far as I know lots of addicts do not, at least at that age?
posted by konolia at 4:36 AM on June 23, 2008


As to drug use clips, this one is really sad, with the combination of destroyed judgement, enslavement, and career damage.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:37 AM on June 23, 2008


This is terrible news. Emphysema is a horrible thing to live with, and an awful way to die. I would never have thought someone so young could get it.
posted by orange swan at 4:42 AM on June 23, 2008


Konolia :

Other less common causes of emphysema include:
* Intravenous drug use in which some of the non-drug additives like corn starch can be toxic to lung tissue
* Immune deficiencies in which infections like Pneumocystis carinii can cause inflammatory changes in the lung
posted by Dave Faris at 4:42 AM on June 23, 2008


I can't find the particular promotional photo I was after, but the bottom one on this BBC story, showing Amy during 2003 or 2004 does almost as well. Sad face.
posted by nthdegx at 4:45 AM on June 23, 2008


She's 24 and she's had FAME!!! land on her like a ten-ton weight. Acting up and going a bit crazy is part of the package.

I've had a very small dose of fame, and it reached me around the time I turned 40. I can usually go out in public without being recognized and accosted by total strangers (although it happens, from time to time). I'm probably two or three orders of magnitude more obscure than Amy Winehouse, and I've had an extra two decades on her to figure out who I am and to get myself grounded. Even so? It fucks your head up. And I can just barely begin to imagine the pressure she's been under for the past few years. (Those of you taking cheap pot-shots at her or criticizing her appearances should pause for a moment to think: how would I feel if total strangers felt that my body was public property and a fit subject for their judgement? Be ashamed; be very ashamed!)

Self-medication is one way of dealing with intolerable social pressure, and blocking out the sight of all those distorting mirrors reflecting her own face back at her the whole time is probably one of her priorities. To the extent that Amy Winehouse has a drugs problem that the media is focussing on, it's one that the media has created by applying pressure to a vulnerable personality.

Partial solution: strict privacy laws (and shoot the record industry marketing and publicity types who let the tabloids get in her face in the first place, before they kill any more talented 18 year olds).
posted by cstross at 4:47 AM on June 23, 2008 [33 favorites]


Is it just me or is this site, which can't even spell "exclusive" properly, uses ALL CAPS in an article, and references the subject being rushed to the hospital after "a fit", not really the kind of reliable source that makes a good FPP?
posted by loiseau at 4:51 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I saw that one recent picture of her where she looks like a scab encrusted 600 year old Grimm's tale crone I was like, "What the fuck is she snorting now? Botulism?"
posted by The Straightener at 4:53 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Talk about the ultimate admission of total failure as a parent.

Something tells me that you actually don't have any kids, allkindsoftime. Or maybe you just sprang from your mothers womb, fully formed, as a conscentious, law-abiding, middle-of-the-road, conservative adult?

For the rest of us, though, there's the problem of agency. Kids don't always do what their parents want them to do -- and sometimes, that's actually not their parents fault. Again, I know that this is a notion many Americans struggle with. If everything isn't absolutely perfect, then somebody has to be to blame, because you need to find somebody to sue.

In the real world though, you get situations where everyone tries their hardest, everyone does their best, and people and things just repeatedly fuck up. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Now, I've no idea about the extent to which Winehouse's parents have any culpability with regard to her problems, but from what I've seen of father and daughter, they appear to have a very close, loving relationship. While disapproving of her behaviour, he's kept the lines of communication open, and is encouraging her to change wherever possible. He seems to be the furthest thing imaginable from the vile parents of people like Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears who have regarded their kids as property to be exploited in sickness or in health.

But I appreciate that this kind of approach to one's children isn't that well regarded in the USA, where Tough Love seems to be the recommended strategy when dealing with children who screw up. Well, here's a clue: cutting off your children's allowance doesn't work that well when they're a multi-millionaire, and packing them off to boot camp really isn't feasible when your kid happens to be a rich and married 24 year old adult.

Outside the USA, there comes a point when we expect our children to stand on their own two feet and be responsible for their own screw ups. The age tends to vary somewhat, but I don't think anywhere still considers 24 a kid.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:59 AM on June 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


Maybe it says more about me than I want to consider, but I'd always assumed that drug dealers would consider it something of a prize to be known as "the dealer who provided XXXs fatal high".

What the hell? I don't think the average "Drug Dealer" is interested in their client base. The ones selling hard-core stuff are probably users themselves and have deluded themselves into thinking the stuff isn't that harmful, or that their users can handle it -- or they're higher ups who never deal with street junkies.

It's the same as Oil companies who have convinced themselves that global warming doesn't exist, or whatever. Once money is involved in something, it becomes difficult to think about the downsides of things rationally.
posted by delmoi at 5:07 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


All you can do to save determined addicts is get them convicted or declared incompetent

Determined being the key word here. She isn't going to get help voluntarily until she wants it. In some cases, health awakenings are enough to trip that desire to get off the merry-go-round. Let's hope that's the case with her. Sad? Yes, indeed.
posted by netbros at 5:08 AM on June 23, 2008


I think there's a bunch of celebrities that manage not to get fucked up by fame & a larger number of ignored people who manage to get fucked up without being at all famous, so I call bullshit on the "price of celebrity" argument.

She got in with a bad crowd & had enough money to really damage herself, so that's what she did. I feel sorry for her family and to a smaller degree I feel sorry for her, but I refuse to accept that this is any different to the woman who used to sit by the door of our local KFC asking for money to fuel her drug and alcohol addictions.

Talent be damned. That whole "sensitive but genius artist who can't help themselves because they feel things more than mere mortals" argument is a damaging piece of self-perpetuating mythology that does more harm than good.
posted by seanyboy at 5:10 AM on June 23, 2008 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I feel sad for Amy because in what seems to now be a world of utterly over-produced plastic singers she seemed like a throwback to better time.

Honestly, I do and I don't. I feel sorry for the person, but as an artist she's such a huge breath of fresh air that I'd hate to see her get cleaned up.

cstross, I think blaming the media is going a bit far. I've never been famous, but I know a thing or two about self medication. Certainly "the media" can fan the flames, but there are lots of ways to get the fire started that have nothing to do with photographers.
posted by three blind mice at 5:12 AM on June 23, 2008


there are plenty of other new bright young things out there that dont turn to drugs and are the same age. no sympathy for her what so ever, all she's good for is propping up sales figures of trash mags and tabloids.
posted by monkeyJuice at 5:15 AM on June 23, 2008


I was going with alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency. Emphysema and liver disease in the young. Didn't know crack cocaine could do that so quickly.
posted by gramcracker at 5:20 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Severe drug users can become immunocompromised, and I'm guessing that this is what happened in her case. She had impetigo within the past year, and I'd wager that the emphysema is the result of a respiratory infection, exacerbated by the smoking.

I love her voice and I feel sad for her, but I find her very tough to look at. She looks like she could drop dead at any moment.
posted by emd3737 at 6:03 AM on June 23, 2008


there are plenty of other new bright young things out there that dont turn to drugs and are the same age. no sympathy for her what so ever, all she's good for is propping up sales figures of trash mags and tabloids.

This is disgusting. "Turning" to drugs? Really? As though this is an active choice she makes every time she uses? Addiction is a serious behavioral problem and not a choice. You may as well be saying that bipolar people are making a choice to max out their credit cards when they have a manic episode. Did you know? Depressed people can just choose to stop being depressed.

I'm 23 and I'd say that 24 years old is still "a kid" as in, you're allowed to make mistakes and they shouldn't have to haunt you for the rest of your life.
posted by giraffe at 6:14 AM on June 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


Maybe it says more about me than I want to consider, but I'd always assumed that drug dealers would consider it something of a prize to be known as "the dealer who provided XXXs fatal high"

No-one in the service industry want's to kill their clients before getting maximum return at the very least. Seeing as how Amy Winehouse probably pays good money and a lot of it, I really think killing her would not be any sort of prize!

All this bollocks about the drugs, if it wasn't crack she would probably be killing herself with booze, tortured artists and all that. Sad but hardly unpredictable.
posted by twistedonion at 6:15 AM on June 23, 2008


I feel sad for Amy because in what seems to now be a world of utterly over-produced plastic singers she seemed like a throwback to better time.

I loved her first album. She's a very engaging singer and it's a damn shame she's bent on becoming a 21st century Janis Joplin, but, really, she's not the only talented and engaging singer out there. The notion that she's a star, some kind of a singular figure, instead of just a talented person with a job to do is a little part of the problem here.

as an artist she's such a huge breath of fresh air that I'd hate to see her get cleaned up.

Untrue and gross.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:17 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


If true, this is really sad. I love her voice and her music, and if this ends her career the world will be poorer for it.

There have been a lot of artists whose musical gifts seem to be difficult to separate from their substance abuse problems (Johnny Cash is the first who comes to mind for me, but it is actually a really long and sad list) -- something about self-medicating both with the performance and the substance. And then you get the copy cats, who turn it around and figure that the way to be as awesome as their favorite dead singer is to develop the same bad habits.

There was a really good article about Britney a couple of months ago, focusing on the role the hangers-on and the handlers play when a star starts to have mental and substance problems. A regular person, who lacks that huge array of enablers, would hit bottom and end up broke and in a detox center pretty fast, but when there is an army of people focused on getting you up on stage, regardless of what it takes to get you there, these problems can become really extreme before someone hits bottom.
posted by Forktine at 6:25 AM on June 23, 2008


I pretty much think that if you're cracking on a troubled person who is doing no (direct) harm to anyone but herself (I mean, I feel sorry for her dad and all), largely because they're there and you can do it and it'll make you feel better about your own pathetic life for a second or two, fuck you, and you're a douchebag. So. You know. Now you know. Asshole.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:26 AM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Amy, Amy, Amy. This makes me very sad. I hope this will be enough to make her realize that she needs serious help, but I'm not convinced it will be.

Forktine, I would love to read that article if you can dig it up.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:38 AM on June 23, 2008


I have never heard an Amy Winehouse song, somehow, so I know her only from tabloid updates.

Recommendations (links?) from the assembled gallery?
posted by rokusan at 6:40 AM on June 23, 2008


I'm 23 and I'd say that 24 years old is still "a kid" as in, you're allowed to make mistakes and they shouldn't have to haunt you for the rest of your life.

Of course, it changes your perspective if, at age 23 or 24, the rest of your life is maybe another six months.
posted by StandardObfuscatingProcedure at 6:45 AM on June 23, 2008


"Hey I got talent and money, now let me piss it away with a crappy husband and drug use. Oh yea and I got emphysema, feel bad for me."

Sorry Miss Winehouse, if you changed your ways and learned from your mistakes, then maybe I would. But no. I really don't care.
posted by dasheekeejones at 6:48 AM on June 23, 2008


Boy, if crackheads could just learn from their mistakes.
posted by phaedon at 6:55 AM on June 23, 2008


I thought she was going to pop those little rat babies into her giant gaping maw at any second. I could barely finish the video, but did out of morbid curiosity.

Anyway, it's a shame.
posted by self at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2008


Here is the Britney article I was remembering; there are some similarities in the out-of-control downward spirals, though there couldn't be more difference in the talents of the artists in question. (Well, that's not fair -- Britney's not untalented, but her talent has never been focused by any artistic temperament or clear sense of aesthetics.)
posted by Forktine at 7:10 AM on June 23, 2008


Recommendations (links?) from the assembled gallery?

This is a personal favorite.

Also, I'm pretty sure Amy Winehouse never asked anyone to feel bad for her. Can someone quote an interview or something saying otherwise?
posted by giraffe at 7:16 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does this make anyone else sad? I've had a feeling for a while that if she doesn't get the right kind of help she's going to kill herself. I get no pleasure watching someone self-destruct so dramatically with paparazzi cameras documenting every painful moment, and every other blog and message board laughing at how horrible she looks.

Agreed. I generally skip right past news about her; it's just too sad.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:20 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that she, maybe more than any other musician, is obsessed with the 27 club mythology. Others have certainly gone out of their way to die young, but who else has created an entire identity out of dying young?
posted by roll truck roll at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2008


Wait a second... this is from the Sunday Mirror. I thought that the Sunday editions of respected UK papers were basically no better than the US's Weekly World News--printing dubious articles that report secondhand information from anonymous or mistaken sources in a way that helps them avoid being sued for libel. UK MeFites, what's the real scoop?
posted by infinitewindow at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2008


YTMS"where is the good, or even the neutral, in him making himself the story by blabbing this to the press?"

Well, this is a way of creating a public outcry. This outcry may in turn create pressure on her music labels to "protect" her (or, more likely their investment). This may lead to them forcing her into rehab and therapy.

It's not too much of stretch to see things turning out this way. Whether or not it all works out in the end is, of course, another question entirely.
posted by oddman at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2008


An unsurprising amount of people ignorantly pontificating about problems they've never had and will never understand.

Rokusan, here's a nice little Amy moment
posted by merocet at 7:35 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Giraffe: "I'm 23 and I'd say that 24 years old is still "a kid" as in, you're allowed to make mistakes and they shouldn't have to haunt you for the rest of your life."

As a general principle I mostly agree with your conclusions: mistakes shouldn't haunt your forever. But this has nothing to do with being a kid or not.

Also, you're 23, you've had time finish a Bachelor's degree (or an MA if you're industrious) and start your career. You're not a kid anymore. Face it. You may not want the responsibilities and lifestyle of an adult (or more accurately you don't want the responsibilities and lifestyle of a stereotypical, cliched understanding of adulthood), but that doesn't make you any less of an adult. You're not a kid, your are an adult that wants to abdicate as much responsibility as possible.
posted by oddman at 7:35 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


if you're cracking on a troubled person

There's nothing special about a drug addict troubled person that should render them safe from being cracked on, especially when it's a self destructive junkie troubled person who is pissing away a life and talent that many would kill for. Sympathy can only go far when a person is refusing to any help and their own parents are reduced to asking drug dealers not to sell to her. I would hope she cleans up and continues making good music for a long time, but if she continues fucking up then the only sympathy I got is for the other talented musicians who never got her the big break.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 AM on June 23, 2008


"...pissing away a life and talent that many would kill for."

Apparently she'd kill for it too - she just won't kill anyone else.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:41 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


cstross, I don't doubt that being famous is a freaky experience, but as three blind mice points out, chronic chemical abusers will always find an excuse to self medicate. The cartoonist John Callahan drew a strip once where he was in group therapy with fellow alcoholics who were presenting their "reasons" for drinking: "I drank because I had the nickname 'Corky'!" "I drank because my shoes were too tight!" "I drank because I have a machine on my back that forces me to drink!"

That's not to say that her handlers or the press or whomever haven't been assholes, because, pretty clearly, they have. But it's not helping to suggest that it's their fault; after all, they're not the ones who wrote and recorded "Rehab."
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:42 AM on June 23, 2008


Brandon Blatcher: I posit that there is a middle ground between mockery and sympathy that is probably most appropriate here. You don't have to sympathize with Amy Winehouse or feel bad for her, per se, but drug addiction is an insidious, horrible problem that doesn't really deserve mockery.

I'm sitting here, and not really thinking, "oh that poor woman," but at the same time, not really thinking, "wow, how stupid." Mostly it's just, "how unfortunate," and "is there perhaps a way to either not need to document her downfall, or at least not sensationalize it?"
posted by explosion at 7:56 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: I posit that there is a middle ground between mockery and sympathy that is probably most appropriate here. You don't have to sympathize with Amy Winehouse or feel bad for her, per se, but drug addiction is an insidious, horrible problem that doesn't really deserve mockery.

That's pretty much what I was about to say, too. I'm not trying to argue that we should all light candles for Amy Winehouse; I'm just saying that the degree to which some people take evident glee in how fucked up she is says a lot more about them and how they feel about their own no doubt shitty lives than it does about her.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:05 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dont understand all the "talented" comments about her. At best she's a forgettable one-hit wonder. Without her producers and handlers and backup musicians (who arent total wrecks) something tells me she'd still be busking.

Shame all of this, but we're not losing a Jimi Hendrix here. We're losing a Toni Basil here.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:25 AM on June 23, 2008 [12 favorites]


I posit that there is a middle ground between mockery and sympathy that is probably most appropriate here

I can agree with that. Drug addiction is horrible but it doesn't mean the person isn't human.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:26 AM on June 23, 2008


You're not a kid, your are an adult that wants to abdicate as much responsibility as possible.

That is rude as all hell and you don't even know me. You are basing this on a single statement I made on the Internet. Well, I guess that's par for the course, eh? For the record, I was vaguely responding to the statement that no one considers 24 to be "a kid". If you or someone you love magically transformed into a responsible adult at the age of 18, then I apologize for my sweeping generalization. I, however, still make mistakes because I'm young. Hopefully by the time I turn 50 I will understand protocol for renting a car, picking a good insurance plan or starting a 401K.

You can't judge Amy Winehouse for the choices she makes and you don't know if she's a responsible person. Just because she uses drugs doesn't mean she's incapable of paying her rent on time or putting money into a savings account. There's a huge difference between making a mistake and owning up to it vs. doing whatever the hell you want with impunity. People make mistakes so they can learn. I certainly don't want to be done learning by the time I'm 24. And I certainly don't want to judge people younger than me just because I've lived longer (or "better") than them.

You can feel free to make arguments re: maturity vs. age and I will politely disagree with you. Personal attacks in my direction that are completely unrelated to Amy Winehouse make you a jerk with an agenda.
posted by giraffe at 8:30 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Without her producers and handlers and backup musicians (who arent total wrecks) something tells me she'd still be busking.

You could say that about ANY artist. Becoming successful requires not only talent and working hard, but also considerable luck. At least she wasn't a carefully-concocted, dolled up and digitally enhanced "singer" like so many other "talents" out there.

Shame all of this, but we're not losing a Jimi Hendrix here. We're losing a Toni Basil here.

In a time in which we're being force-fed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse was a real breath of fresh air.

Seriously, who's out there right now? Cher or Madonna making yet another "come back" album? A hope that Hilary Duff or Miley Cyrus will someday make music that appeals to people over 12?

So no, maybe we're not losing a Jimi Hendrix here, but Jimi's pretty much legendary. It's not even a fair comparison.
posted by explosion at 8:46 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


You can't judge Amy Winehouse for the choices she makes and you don't know if she's a responsible person. Just because she uses drugs doesn't mean she's incapable of paying her rent on time or putting money into a savings account.

This is strange. The only thing you can judge people on are their actions. And it is fair to judge her poorly for her abuse of drugs and alcohol that led to her present medical condition. And it's that abuse in the face of advice telling her that she'd end up in precisely this situation that establishes her as an irresponsible person. The fact that she paid her rent and saved money are irrelevant. Almost everyone does those things, it isn't an accomplishment.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


As an artist I think she's pretty limited and her hype far outweighs her talent. I really do believe that her career has been greatly helped by her reckless lifestyle and sad antics. Most people would have stopped talking about her as her single slipped into the world "oh I used to like that song - what was her name?", but by staying in the press she's stayed current in people's minds.

It's sad when anybody gets seriously ill, but her being in bad health doesn't make me forgot how much I don't like her as a musician or pop culture train wreck. I've never wished ill on her, I've just wished that she'd just go away.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Soul Music is a tough gig. She shoulda been in contact with Keith Richards from the beginning. He woulda told her about Blues and Dues. Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Billie Holliday. Trying to hold magic in your hands can kill you. And she's kind of an asshole anyway. Much better people fall than her.
I'm not sad and I'm not surprised.
posted by Flex1970 at 8:50 AM on June 23, 2008


Emphysema is a prison. You're tied to an oxygen bottle and eventually suffocate to death. Peace on you, Amy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:54 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


When someone this young gets this sick and may possibly die it's the promise of what could have been that's lost. The girl has the gift and might have been able to develop it if not for her sickness. It's fucking tragic is what it is.
posted by hojoki at 8:57 AM on June 23, 2008


Recommendations (links?) from the assembled gallery?

I'm partial to this video of her singing Love is a Losing Game. Particularly poignant, if you know even a little bit about her and "her Blake".
posted by hellopanda at 9:00 AM on June 23, 2008


Whatever she has going on now is likely a manifestation of some kind of mental illness

I did read an interview where she talked about being bi-polar and refusing to medicate it.

And god I hate Generation Y. So glad my family decided to just skip it and my next youngest relative is 11. Maybe by the time she hits 23 self-righteous whining won't be in fashion anymore.
posted by fshgrl at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2008


I've said my opinions on Amy Winehouse, her talent, and her demons previously. Won't add more.
Just makes me sad. Period.

.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:05 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


In a time in which we're being force-fed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse was a real breath of fresh air.

Why? What has she done that shows anymore depth than the rest of the pop stars? She has a skilled vocal range perhaps, but so do the finalists on American Idol. Why does jazz, the style with the most consistently empty lyrics that almost never moves past personal relationships and troubles, get put on a pedestal?

This is a musician we're talking about here. Rather than contribute something to the social good, she chose a career path of aggression and achieved money and fame. Unlike the Britney Spears types who seem to have largely been forced into that lifestyle by idiot parents, she willfully took this path (so far as I know, I'll accept that I haven't studied her backstory and could be wrong here). I don't in any way wish harm on anyone, but certainly find it a little irksome when loads of sympathy are fed to people who reaped the rewards in life undeservedly when so many unrewarded innocents suffer on and on.
posted by kigpig at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Amy Winehouse on David Letterman, singing Rehab. And she's no one-hit-wonder; just listen to the entire first cd. She's got a great voice, great phrasing, and she writes great songs, and seems to love singing. I wish she'd get whatever help she needs to have this not be the end of her.
posted by tula at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read a pretty good essay in Time Magazine a few months back that pointed out how the difference between Amy Winehouse and, say, Britney Spears is in their art; with Britney, the mental illness and addiction has no connection to the bland manufactured music and dancing, but Amy actually takes her issues and channels them into her songwriting, much in the same way that Curt Cobain did. I think that's a pretty valid point. She is an artist, for all her troubles, so her troubles are more poignant than the schadenfreude that goes along with the Britney Spears circus.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


In a time in which we're being force-fed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse was a real breath of fresh air.

..which she maybe should've been breathing AHAHAHA!

*smokes* *coughs*
posted by jonmc at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2008


I feel bad for what ever demons are haunting her...

...on the other hand I also know that she has received more opportunities to change her life than most in the world ever will.

As for a contrast to other artists, say what you will about Christina Agulera, she is a very talented singer. Probably a better singing talent than Amy IMHO, but she doesn't represent the "rebellion" that people want to see.
posted by ozomatli at 9:24 AM on June 23, 2008


say what you will about Christina Agulera, she is a very talented singer

I always wanted Christina to sing a cover of 'I'm Nobody's Baby Now" with full orchestral/band backing-no dancepop synths. It would've been amazing.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on June 23, 2008


What has she done that shows anymore depth than the rest of the pop stars?

Well, if nothing else, kigpig, unlike Britney, Pink, Jessica Simpson, or Christine Aguilera, to name a few, Amy Winhouse doesn't seem to intentionally cultivate the "slut" persona.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:26 AM on June 23, 2008


I always wanted Christina to sing a cover of 'I'm Nobody's Baby Now" with full orchestral/band backing-no dancepop synths. It would've been amazing.
posted by jonmc at 11:26 AM on June 23 [+] [!]


A-men. Has she done an "unplugged" type album?
posted by ozomatli at 9:31 AM on June 23, 2008


No she'll sound even more stupid every time I hear "Rehab."
posted by dopamine at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2008


WHO IS AMY WINEHOUSE?
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


I've already made a comment on this post in musical form (don't wish to self link, it's in my profile under Music), but let me just say she's gotten a lot of people into old school soul music, which is a Good Thing. Don't see it as a pop star thing, see it as a ravaged by the awesome power and melancholy of the blues thing, c.f. Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:38 AM on June 23, 2008


I'm 23 and I'd say that 24 years old is still "a kid" as in, you're allowed to make mistakes and they shouldn't have to haunt you for the rest of your life.
posted by giraffe


You're allowed to make mistakes at 23, 33, 53, but you pay for them at any age. That doesn't make you a kid.

What a naive thing to say.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:38 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, but when you're 23, you don't know enough to know that yet.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:40 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rather than contribute something to the social good, she chose a career path of aggression and achieved money and fame.

Music does contribute to the social good. She, through her music, has probably positively influenced more people than I ever will in my entire life.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Agreed, slimepuppy. The entire United Kingdom should thank her for infesting the top 40 stations with decent music instead of the utter shite that would be there in a Winehouse free world.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:44 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is strange. The only thing you can judge people on are their actions. And it is fair to judge her poorly for her abuse of drugs and alcohol that led to her present medical condition. And it's that abuse in the face of advice telling her that she'd end up in precisely this situation that establishes her as an irresponsible person.

I'm okay with saying that it's generally irresponsible to use drugs. However, I don't think it's fair to hold an addict accountable for his or her actions like continuing to use instead of getting clean (yes, there should be legal ramifications to related activities like stealing, because you're harming someone other than yourself, but jailing seems really unproductive to me). "If you keep using, you are going to kill yourself," doesn't mean much when you're an addict. Everyone already knows that overuse of drugs gets people killed.

If people were able to do the responsible thing and stopped using drugs just because they were told of the consequences, then there would only be a handful of people struggling with addiction problems. Unfortunately, addiction is really sinister. Most people don't have a life-changing moment that helps them "snap out" of it or "see the light." I could've sworn that it was recently discovered that part of the recovery process can include "falling off the wagon" a couple times before truly getting clean. This really makes me believe that addiction isn't just a personality flaw, because people who get on the wagon in the first place must want to kick their addictions, and then something happens along the way to ruin their progress.

Of course this opens a whole argument regarding whether addiction is a choice or not, because people are supposed to know if they have addictive personalities (??), or they should be smart enough to stay away from drugs (and what about people who are addicted to "legal" drugs? Or gambling? Or sex?). Do we judge Stevie Nicks less harshly because she was addicted to painkillers her doctor prescribed instead of crack?

I just can't believe that addiction is a choice, so that's why I can't judge someone negatively for being an addict. I like to think that the human spirit is significantly stronger than addiction, but that doesn't seem to be the case all the time. It's not irresponsible. It's just sad.

(Everyone poke holes in my argument now, because I just made myself depressed. Sigh.)
posted by giraffe at 9:46 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when a crackhead doesn't run out of money. It's been obvious amy winehouse was going to die for awhile.
posted by Tlogmer at 9:47 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Shame all of this, but we're not losing a Jimi Hendrix here. We're losing a Toni Basil here."

or, we're losing a human being. the lesson from all this shouldn't be that a(nother) talented singer is going down the toilet and it's a shame. the lesson is that, for whatever reason people of all colours, creeds and classes get into drugs, and when they're ready to get out, they need help, not to be judged by a bunch of callous assholes and consigned to the trash heap of history.

having known more than my share of drug addicts and parents of drug addicts, i'm tempted to wish that agony on the people who haven't the imagination to put themselves in that place and try to feel some sympathy. i'm just not capable of that sort of cruelty.
posted by klanawa at 9:49 AM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's interesting how, no matter what happens to Amy Winehouse, I still don't care.

No, wait - not interesting. The other thing.
posted by greenie2600 at 9:51 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're allowed to make mistakes at 23, 33, 53, but you pay for them at any age. That doesn't make you a kid.

You're arguing semantics. Perhaps a better choice of phrase would be "still allowed to do immature things if you actually learn from them." I didn't say "you're allowed to get hooked on crack when you're 24 but not when you're 54."
posted by giraffe at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2008


Perhaps a better choice of phrase would be "still allowed to do immature things if you actually learn from them."

Also works at 3, 13, 23, 33, 53, 73....

There's no magic age. Who's doing the "allowing", anyway?
posted by rokusan at 9:55 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Probably the same authority that tells kids they don't know shit.
posted by giraffe at 9:57 AM on June 23, 2008


giraffe said:
"I'm 23 and I'd say that 24 years old is still "a kid" as in, you're allowed to make mistakes and they shouldn't have to haunt you for the rest of your life."

"If wishes were horses...", and all that.

Reality doesn't care how old you are. It's up to people at whatever age they are to realise they are making mistakes and fix them or ask for help and act on said help or otherwise identify the problem and amend it.

Someone else videotaping you while you're having sex without your knowledge or permission because you left a curtain open? Minor mistake on your part that shouldn't impact you for the rest of your life, but probably will.

Being really talented, choosing to do drugs despite the volumes of information and warnings along with attempts at parental and legal intervention, ruining said talent with said behaviour, refusing to address clear mental health issues in order to be cool...

...as sad as it is, this is precisely the type of mistake that should haunt you the rest of your life, because even if it's too late for you, you can now be someone else's horrible warning.
posted by batmonkey at 10:03 AM on June 23, 2008


For the vultures: Predict Amy's dead and win a iPod touch
posted by goo at 10:04 AM on June 23, 2008


You mean the "authority" that has given her emphysema, and her other health issues, after she played fast and lose with her own body, disregarding advice from many people, both near and far?
posted by Snyder at 10:07 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's up to people at whatever age they are to realise they are making mistakes and fix them or ask for help and act on said help or otherwise identify the problem and amend it.
That's why I kicked my 3-year-old out of the house for pooping his pants. Oh, sure, some folks said I was being harsh, but it's good to know that batmonkey agrees with my decision.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:07 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


S'funny. We (culture wise) use to revere rock and rollers for this kind of lifestyle... now people point and laugh. Not sure if it is an improvement or not.
posted by edgeways at 10:15 AM on June 23, 2008


rokusan: Here's a good primer for Amy Winehouse:

Rehab
You Know I'm No Good
Back to Black
Fuck Me Pumps
Tears Dry on Their Own

I think that the stray suggestion that she somehow deserved it — because of her fame, her irresponsibility, or whatever reason — is distasteful at minimum.
posted by Weebot at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2008


Well, if nothing else, kigpig, unlike Britney, Pink, Jessica Simpson, or Christine Aguilera, to name a few, Amy Winhouse doesn't seem to intentionally cultivate the "slut" persona.

But that's because society considers what she does as soulful and what they do as slutty. Behavioristically they each have their nuances but aren't all that different. And all are being physically provocative / appealing to some sex image or another. Hell Brittney was supposed to be the 'good girl' for some time and is in fact far from a slut from last I recall.

Music does contribute to the social good. She, through her music, has probably positively influenced more people than I ever will in my entire life.

influence does not equal good. What positive influence has her music had on anyone? What noble message is contained within? Unless, through her tragedy, it discourages others to follow her path...on preview it seems batmonkey has mentioned just that. But that's still not attributed to her music but her lifestyle. Otoh, music has plenty of negative influence since innately inscribed in its function is that beauty outweighs truth.
posted by kigpig at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2008


The other day I saw a commercial for "Duffy," singing in a style reminiscent of Winehouse and quoting reviews that made it seem like her UK-export style was completely unique. I thought "Wow. Universal Music is really hedging their bets with Winehouse being so self-destructive." It's a bit sadder with the knowledge that she is killing herself in a quite literal way.
posted by VulcanMike at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


refusing to address clear mental health issues in order to be cool...

A lot of mentally ill people refuse to get treatment. It's because they're sick. Or because there's a huge stigma attached to being mentally ill. Or because you then have to admit that there is something wrong with you that you have no control over.
posted by giraffe at 10:27 AM on June 23, 2008


MrMoonPie:

What? How did you get that out of what I said? Gods, people baffle me in their insistence on being overly literal in order to cling to some bizarre personal point which has nothing to do with logical reality.

We learn lessons our entire lives. Accidents are not mistakes, although some accidents can be caused by mistakes.

If we didn't learn, we'd all still be crapping ourselves and smearing it on walls, eating bits of drek from the floor, and putting small metal objects into electrical outlets. We initially learn by someone identifying for us what we don't know and guiding us through the steps to overcome our lack of knowledge...if we're like the fortunate majority.

After a while, though, regardless of what our parents and guardians may or may not have taught us, we have to recognise our own gaps in knowledge and expectation and address them.
posted by batmonkey at 10:29 AM on June 23, 2008


Every man is a king, so long as he has someone to look down on. —Sinclair Lewis
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


On non-preview...

giraffe:
No shit.

Do they not teach reading comprehension and main idea in school anymore?
posted by batmonkey at 10:32 AM on June 23, 2008


influence does not equal good. What positive influence has her music had on anyone?

It convinced me not to go to rehab, for one.
posted by jonmc at 10:32 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


You're arguing semantics. Perhaps a better choice of phrase would be "still allowed to do immature things if you actually learn from them." I didn't say "you're allowed to get hooked on crack when you're 24 but not when you're 54."

Allowed by whom, exactly? If you fuck up your health, that's going to haunt you regardless of how fair you think it is. Same thing at 16. If you were too ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and become paralyzed, there is no question about 'allowance', there is no one who gets to make a choice about it or forgive you. It's the same thing with damaging your body through whatever it is Amy Winehouse is doing. There is no one who can grant her a reprieve.

And speaking of 54 year olds, well, personally I don't see why they shouldn't get to take drugs, after all for many of them their health will already be shot or they'll only have 10-15 years of quality living ahead of them anyway. A little drug use won't be too much of an addition to the natural aging process, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2008


...her dad still drives a cab?
posted by Roman Graves at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2008


VulcanMike: I don't think Universal ever knew what to do with her. I remember seeing her at Coachella last year, right as she was hitting it big, and they had relegated her to the smallest stage there, which I'm sure didn't make the fire marshalls happy. I also recall a minor bruhaha about releasing / not-releasing her first album stateside.

Who can blame them, though? I wouldn't have ever thought that a pro-addiction motown throwback would become such a big hit.
posted by Weebot at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2008


I'd bet the underlying cause of her emphysema is also responsible for a lot of her odd and self-destructive behavior. You don't develop emphysema at 24 unless something big has gone really wrong, and that kind of thing can really change your personality.

I wonder if the emphysema could be a manifestation of lupus.
posted by jamjam at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


After a while, though, regardless of what our parents and guardians may or may not have taught us, we have to recognise our own gaps in knowledge and expectation and address them.

How long is "after a while" then?

Do they not teach reading comprehension and main idea in school anymore?

Well, they certainly didn't teach manners when you were in school.

Do you really think Amy Winehouse is refusing to treat her mental issues to be "cool"?
posted by giraffe at 10:37 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


...her dad still drives a cab?

she's got a crazy old lady name o' Cocaine Katy who embroiders on her jeans/she got her poor old gray-haired daddy, drivin' her limousine...
posted by jonmc at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2008


What has she done that shows anymore depth than the rest of the pop stars?

She writes her own songs.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you really think Amy Winehouse is refusing to treat her mental issues to be "cool"?

I don't know if it's that simple. Maybe we're all just sick of inconsequential artsists who develop problems and get them cured by rehab/Jesus/Krishna/the Chicago Bears and then hang around forever pumping out self-enthused bland pap. It's kind of refreshing to see a star who's honestly commited to self-destruction.
posted by jonmc at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2008


In a time in which we're being force-fed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse was a real breath of fresh air.

Sigh.... I suppose it's true but, while her music is perfectly OK, I would never put it on - I do like that classic 50-60s R&B but there is so much amazing material from back in the day, much of which has the additional romance of being history.

It makes me sad almost every day that few if any of the "music stars" of our day are famous for their musicianship; that Amy Winehouse is our best and brightest.

That said, it's very sad, what happened to her. She didn't end up with that voice without a ton of practice as well as talent; I hope she gets better, very soon.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2008


Roman Graves: "...her dad still drives a cab?"

I'm not sure I understand the question. Fathers of pop stars shouldn't drive taxis? She should be supporting him? What else should he be doing?
posted by octothorpe at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2008


She writes her own songs.

She does? Token credits (and hence royalties) given as a sweetener to make her sign with Island, if anything.

As for her beloved Blake, he's a trustafarian thug with idiot friends.
posted by tapeguy at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


She writes her own songs.

I could swear that Christina Aguilera does too. But then again, not writing their own songs actually gives an artist an excuse for banality...
posted by kigpig at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


The 'writes their own songs' thing is a dopey-assed litmus test for quality. Plenty of great singers (Sinatra, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin) did not write their own material.
posted by jonmc at 11:08 AM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Madonna writes her own songs, which makes the lyrics the worst thing about them since she outsourcs everything else brilliantly.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on June 23, 2008


tapeguy: That's very selective. Back to Black was largely written by her alone. If you want to challenge those writing credits, go ahead, but that wouldn't be anything beyond speculation.
posted by Weebot at 11:09 AM on June 23, 2008


giraffe:
"How long is "after a while" then?"

As soon as your actions are impacting your ability to live a healthy and productive life and you're too old for CPS/Int'l analogue to take you away from irresponsible parents.

"Well, they certainly didn't teach manners when you were in school."

Awww, I'm sorry if you took that as me being mean. It wasn't, I promise, although I see how it could come off that way. When I was your age, we had spent many years with the phrases "no shit" and "no shit, Sherlock" as an evolution of "no duh". I'm sorry I didn't realise you were sensitive. I hope you'll pardon my lack of couth.

"Do you really think Amy Winehouse is refusing to treat her mental issues to be "cool"?"

I think she's partaking in destructive activities in order to keep some illusion of herself alive in her head and doing it publicly while out and about in front of cameras because she truly believes it's a credible and permissible method of existence, despite evidence to the contrary.

I understand that you're arguing from the position that she doesn't realise what she's doing. I think based on several statements and actions on her part that she does realise what she's doing and knows it is destructive and is too stubborn to admit that other people may be more right.

Here's some pointless backstory on my position:
My dad spent 20 years as a heroin junkie, which means he did anything else he could get his hands on. He knew what he was doing was wrong and hurt his family and was destroying his health, but he felt the cost was worth the ride. Now that his bones are turning to powder and he has to live on a pharmaceutical cocktail in order to get through the day, he feels differently and acknowledges we were right all along and that he knew it even then.

I'm not without empathy for Ms. Winehouse. She's clearly vulnerable and had some bad input at some point, either from her husband or friends or whatever. It's horribly sad to see someone who did have some modicum of talent and proved to be darkly interesting to lose their humanity and now, likely, their life. And, yes, it's partially sad because she's so damned young.

But this is the choice she made. She's been warned about it for years. The British medical community even had several physicians publicly release opinions that she needed to straighten up and consider her health, but she has stubbornly and immaturely held out, maybe not consciously, but it really is your job as a human to learn to be as conscious as possible about the impact of your decisions and then mitigate those that could harm you or others. And these are the repercussions of not doing so.

She could have been a musical treasure. Now she'll be a sad blip. I can only hope, as I said above, that this will help someone else make better decisions for themselves.
posted by batmonkey at 11:13 AM on June 23, 2008


So much for the compassionate MeFite stereotype.
posted by tkchrist at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess Tabloid Celebrity, with its metaphoric idolization/evisceration cycle, is better than old-fashioned, literal, stacking wood-around-a-stake witch-burning, but the whole thing still makes me uncomfortable.

As for Amy Winehouse-- and hey, even Britney Spears, and whomever next will be produced, packaged, purveyed, pumped-up, and then pulled apart into dainties and morsels for a hungry public, I sympathize.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:20 AM on June 23, 2008


But this is the choice she made. She's been warned about it for years. The British medical community even had several physicians publicly release opinions that she needed to straighten up and consider her health, but she has stubbornly and immaturely held out, maybe not consciously, but it really is your job as a human to learn to be as conscious as possible about the impact of your decisions and then mitigate those that could harm you or others. And these are the repercussions of not doing so.

I seriously doubt that a drug addict takes drugs without realizing the impact on personal health. I'm sure most addicts are acutely aware of the toll their addiction is taking on their bodies, or quickly grow awareness. Rather, it is that their compulsion subjugates all other needs and priorities, and repercussions are problems for another day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


The 'writes their own songs' thing is a dopey-assed litmus test for quality. Plenty of great singers (Sinatra, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin) did not write their own material.

The question wasn't about quality, it was about what she's done that indicates "more depth" than Britney, et al.

And I disagree; I don't think songwriting is a dopey-assed litmus test. I don't think it's the be-all and end-all--it's certainly not the only litmus test--and like you said, plenty of great singers don't write their own material, but some people are more interested in songwriting than singing ability. A lot of my favorite musicians are pretty crap at singing but make up for it with great songwriting, and conversely, a lot of really talented singers have never really captured my attention because the songs just didn't do it for me.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:30 AM on June 23, 2008


Blazecock Pileon:
You're preaching to the choir. I'm guessing I've got some kind of tone thing going on in my replies that's muddying my intentions, but, truly, we're on the same page here.

Most addicts have that same problem. It doesn't mean what they're doing isn't their responsibility.

I've got my own sick compulsions that harm my health. Just because it's a battle doesn't mean I'm excused from fighting it.
posted by batmonkey at 11:33 AM on June 23, 2008


we're not losing a Jimi Hendrix here. We're losing a Toni Basil here.

Maybe you have no idea, because you're all about the rock, man, but Basil has always had talent to burn. Besides "Mickey" and besides choreographing everything from American Graffiti to David Bowie's tours, to "Once In a Lifetime" for Talking Heads, she's been an actor, a video artist, and--back in the day--a member of Wallace Berman's Semina circle.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


She's really interesting. Her videos convey a theme of isolation and the quality of being misunderstood, and I think it's her irreverence and subversion of all relevant stereotypes that makes her a cultural icon for this moment. It's like, let me get this straight: she's an English, Jewish, Foulmouthed, Tattoed, Motown Singing ...Crackhead? An original.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:41 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


but some people are more interested in songwriting than singing ability.

Call me spoiled, but I like both. And you listen to records, you don't read them.
posted by jonmc at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


...with a beehive.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Artw, that was a moment of accidental surrealistic beauty.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on June 23, 2008


I'm just going to append "...with a beehive!" to everything now.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


...with a beehive!
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on June 23, 2008


Of course, really what I should do is link that to the Lovecraftian horror of The Living Sign!
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on June 23, 2008


I cheated myself
Like I knew I would
I told you I was trouble
You know that I'm no good


You can take that as ironic or tragic or what-have-you. But that about sums it up in her own words.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:56 AM on June 23, 2008


Addicts need treatment, but they have to want it. Maybe, God grant, this will move her in that direction.
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:57 AM on June 23, 2008


batmonkey, I'm sorry your dad was a junkie. I knew people who did (maybe still do, I don't know) heroin and it never really occurred to them that they were doing long-term damage. It was hard to watch. Massachusetts had the purest heroin in the states for awhile, I think. You could snort it. Don't know if that's still the case.

Anyway, I'm not saying it's par for the course, but a lot of people start using a drug thinking they'll stop before anything bad happens. The problem is, people like my friends, like Amy Winehouse, they all start using drugs before their cause/effect reasoning firms up. There's no logical connection that says "smoking crack = death" except whatever the police officer told you about drugs in elementary school. This is unfortunate, because some people don't firm up these connections until their early 20's.

Watching people disintegrate like that, I don't understand why anyone would say that staying addicted is a choice or a personality flaw. Kind of like how Layne Staley used heroin from when he was 15 until he died. He lost his liver and he had to keep using because he was in severe pain and would probably die without it (weighing like 90 pounds probably didn't help). It's something far more sinister than just being a fuckup.
posted by giraffe at 12:01 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I appreciate your sympathy, giraffe. I'm kind of beyond that part of it - sort of a "facts of existence" type thing at this point - but it doesn't mean I won't take a shoulder pat when it comes along.

"There's no logical connection that says "smoking crack = death" except whatever the police officer told you about drugs in elementary school."

Well, there is actually a hugely logical connection to that, called statistics, medical facts, and news reports. And simple chemistry & biology.

It has nothing to do with the police officer in elementary school, really. I know my perspective is a bit rare, but I believe if you're going to be using a substance to alter your consciousness, you owe it to yourself and society to research it, first, and determine possible negative effects and figure out if you can handle it or are otherwise willing to go down that path. You know, informed consent.

If one chooses to experiment the way the vast majority if the world chooses to do so - blindly & spontaneously - there are often opportunities after it has started for one to then do research after the fact and correct course or ask for help. Particularly in the age of the internet and Erowid (look it up).

If one choose to turn an experiment into a habit and never question it and spit on any who suggest they do so and avoid treatment when it is freely offered, well, there's really not much anyone can do but watch the inevitable decline.

And that's where Ms. Winehouse is at. Bless the poor little dear.

"It's something far more sinister than just being a fuckup."

Huh?
posted by batmonkey at 12:15 PM on June 23, 2008


It always startles me seeing the words great and talent being so misused on this particular website. Given a music industry that allowed the best to participate she'd be working at a convenience store for a living. She only seems like a great talent because the alternatives are just so much worse.

I watched a young cousin die of emphysema, someone who refused to quit smoking even after diagnosis. I hope Amy can quickly find a reason to like herself so she doesn't have to spend what's left of her life in turmoil and so her poor family can have some quality time with her. Outside of that small bit of empathy for her, I hope she cleans up so we all don't have to be tortured with photos of her in such a terrible state (esp. when those photos include her macking on Pete Doherty, holy shit).
posted by zarah at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2008


Also, a question:

How many of us actually *are* sick of the Tabloid Terror? You know, the whole following people around constantly and never giving them a private moment and pursuing them even when they begin to self-destruct?

Which leads me to another...

For those of us who are sick of it, is there anything you can think of to help turn the tide? Is there, in other words, anything we can do about it?
posted by batmonkey at 12:26 PM on June 23, 2008


The only thing that could stop it would be if nobody bought the magazines anymore. How do we make that happen?
posted by wabbittwax at 12:34 PM on June 23, 2008


And you listen to records, you don't read them.

You do? You mean...I'm doing it wrong?!
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:35 PM on June 23, 2008


You would have thought that if anything would have stopped it, it would have been back when Princess Diana was killed. It has only intensified since then. A hurricane of schadenfreude.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:36 PM on June 23, 2008


You do? You mean...I'm doing it wrong?!

If you're emphasizing lyrics over musicality, I'd have to say 'yes.' Music is not poetry, it's a sensual form far more than it's an intellectual one. Even rocks weirdo lyrical geniuses like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen may not have been great singers, but they are great vocalists. Leonard Cohen is a great songwriter, but he is a terrible vocalist, which is why his songs sound better when covered by better vocalists.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2008


For approximately two years, London has had two free evening "newspapers" that are handed out in front of Tube stations, thelondonpaper and London Lite. The former is published by R. Murdoch, the latter by Associated, publisher of the noxious Daily Mail and Evening Standard. Both these rags are unremittingly senationalist, downmarket and trade heavily on celebrity gossip. They have space to fill, and a London-based "troubled" celebrity is there bread and butter. It's "news" when they're pissed at a party. It's "news" when they're not pissed at a party. It's "news" when they skip a gig. It's "news" when they successfully show up for a gig.

Amy Winehouse is basically the patron saint of these freesheets. She's in them every day. She's paying for them. Her instability and relentless slow decline fills their pages, and means that her problems are essentially rewarded with coverage. Each lurch towards oblivion wins another splurge of coverage that is literally plastered all over London. There's a micron-thin layer of sanctimonious "concern" but it's basically WE LOVE YOU AMY EUURGH LOOK AT HER TOES GROSS. The influence of these two rags - and the rest of the celeb-based trash media - is a big part of the formula that appears to be killing Winehouse.

It might seem a bit parochial to focus on the two London freesheets, since Winehouse is in the rest of the media a lot as well, and the mass-market red-tops and supermarket magazines don't exactly have her best interests at heart, but I think it's woth mentioning as their influence is literally impossible to avoid when you're in London and invisible when you're not in London. Non-Londoners should know about them.

These newspapers and magazines are, in essence, hurting a young woman for money.
posted by WPW at 12:41 PM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Batmonkey, you're right, something should be done, and I have no idea what.
posted by WPW at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2008


It's kind of refreshing to see a star who's honestly commited to self-destruction.

That's what I was on about, jonmc. As usual, you said it better.

She makes Pete Dougherty look like a punter.
posted by three blind mice at 12:48 PM on June 23, 2008


The free newspapers have become a common thing in a lot of big cities. They are beneath contempt. They contain no real journalism, nothing even close to good writing, and are entirely built on wire-service reportage and recycled tabloid junk. I suppose they're paid for with ad space which means the end-user has no way to leverage the content by either buying or not buying. It's free. And you get what you pay for.

(this sort of negates my previous comment that all this would stop when people stopped buying the magazines)
posted by wabbittwax at 12:49 PM on June 23, 2008


I was actually kidding, Jon, but no, I don't emphasize lyrics over musicality; honestly, I'm more interested in composition than either lyrics or pure musicality (a lot of my favorite music is instrumental stuff that might be abrasive or unpleasant but does interesting things with composition and arrangement). But to get to your Leonard Cohen example, he is a pretty terrible vocalist, but I actually prefer hearing him do his own stuff than hearing "good" singers do his songs. It's like, he wrote it, he arranged it, and he's singing it, so it somehow feels like closer representation to me to how he was imagining the song when he created it. When I hear a really great song, the thing that usually kickstarts my curiosity isn't the sound of the singer, but how the person who wrote the song came up with the melodies and the rhythm and the vocal hooks and all that, so I tend to be more interested in that aspect of things than in the performance side. I think (and there's an article in The Onion's AV Club somewhere about this) that this might have something to do with why I never got more into hip-hop; with all the guest appearances and the rotating producers and stuff like that, it was always too hard for me to tell who was responsible for what. For that matter, I have kind of the same sticking point with jazz. It's not that I don't like it, it's that it's sort of overwhelming to figure out who did what and where that should take me next.

I realize this makes me sound like some joyless effete snob, unable appreciate music for its own sweet sake, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case. I love music; I also love thinking about music and what it is about it that I love, and being kind of anal-retentive probably isn't helping me make my point, but there you go.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2008


Why does jazz, the style with the most consistently empty lyrics that almost never moves past personal relationships and troubles, get put on a pedestal?

Winehouse isn't a jazz musician.
posted by box at 12:55 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wabbitwax: The free newspapers have become a common thing in a lot of big cities.

The evening ones? My work does take me out of London every now and then and I see local editions of Metro (Associated) a lot but I don't think I've seen any free evenings. And London Lite makes Metro look like Le Monde Diplomatique.
posted by WPW at 12:56 PM on June 23, 2008


When I hear a really great song, the thing that usually kickstarts my curiosity isn't the sound of the singer, but how the person who wrote the song came up with the melodies and the rhythm and the vocal hooks and all that, so I tend to be more interested in that aspect of things than in the performance side.

That's all well and good, but a good song badly performed still makes for lousy records. I'm still grateful that Elvis sang 'Jailhouse Rock" and not Lieber & Stoller.
posted by jonmc at 1:00 PM on June 23, 2008


Holy generation gap:

Well, if nothing else, kigpig, unlike Britney, Pink, Jessica Simpson, or Christine Aguilera, to name a few, Amy Winhouse doesn't seem to intentionally cultivate the "slut" persona.

First of all, by "slut" do you mean they danced and dressed provocatively in their videos? Way to maintain the double standard - girls who appear sexual are sluts. In fact, didn't Jessica Simpson claim to have been a virgin until marriage, or something?

But if the singer is troubled, if she sings about not wanting to go to rehab when she's smoking crack in 2008, then she's an artist, because she writes her own songs or something.

Avril Lavigne writes her own songs too, or at least she shares a writing credit on most of them, as does Winehouse. And she's written more songs than Winehouse, and has charted astronomically with a lot of them. And she also wrote Kelly Clarkson's hit song as well. But she isn't troubled, isn't visibly a drug addict and therefore isn't a valid artist? I wonder if the legions of teenage girls inspired by her aggressive, sexy, but not "slutty" image would feel the same way.

The difference between someone like Jessica Simpson and Winehouse is that where both project a carefully constructed image, the former has the maturity to understand that she is not obliged to live that image, and that her fans don't expect her to either. Winehouse confused her image with reality. In this respect, Winehouse is a lot more like Britney Spears than Simpson or Lavigne.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:02 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


honestly, I'm more interested in composition than either lyrics or pure musicality

Me, too, which is why I enjoy Big Star over the Grateful Dead (although I do like both), you see where I'm going.
posted by jonmc at 1:02 PM on June 23, 2008


I'm still grateful that Elvis sang 'Jailhouse Rock" and not Lieber & Stoller.

Yeah, you got me there.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:07 PM on June 23, 2008


she sings about not wanting to go to rehab when she's smoking crack in 2008

Rehab actually dates back to 2006, predating Winehouses crack use and being more about alcohol:

The song was written about Winehouse's refusal to attend an alcohol rehabilitation centre after her management team encouraged her to go. "I asked my dad if he thought I needed to go. He said no, but I should give it a try. So I did, for just 15 minutes. I went in said 'hello' and explained that I drink because I am in love and have screwed up the relationship. Then I walked out." Winehouse later changed her management company.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on June 23, 2008


Me, too, which is why I enjoy Big Star over the Grateful Dead (although I do like both), you see where I'm going.

You've got me there, too. Man, I sure do like Big Star.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:09 PM on June 23, 2008


Wabbitwax: The free newspapers have become a common thing in a lot of big cities.

The evening ones? My work does take me out of London every now and then and I see local editions of Metro (Associated) a lot but I don't think I've seen any free evenings. And London Lite makes Metro look like Le Monde Diplomatique.


Here in Ottawa, and also Vancouver, we have a pair of execrable rags called "24" and "Metro" that are flogged to everybody taking public transportation.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:11 PM on June 23, 2008


The two 'you got me there' 's tell me that we're on the same page. Like I said, Leonard Cohen is a great songwriter, but I heard a live recording of Don Henley (who's faults are numerous, but he's a far better singer than Cohen will ever be, as Cohen'd be the firt to admit) covering 'Democracy,' and on that particular night, Don sung it like he meant it and it was a far better recording for it.
posted by jonmc at 1:15 PM on June 23, 2008


I wonder if the emphysema could be a manifestation of lupus.

I was totally convinced that "lupus" would actually link to this, but it turns out you weren't kidding. Silly me.
posted by naoko at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2008


The two 'you got me there' 's tell me that we're on the same page. Like I said, Leonard Cohen is a great songwriter, but I heard a live recording of Don Henley (who's faults are numerous, but he's a far better singer than Cohen will ever be, as Cohen'd be the firt to admit) covering 'Democracy,' and on that particular night, Don sung it like he meant it and it was a far better recording for it.

Absolutely. The only point I was really making from the beginning was that, if someone had never heard of Leonard Cohen or Don Henley before, and was introduced to both of them after hearing and loving that "Democracy" cover, some folks would then go seek out more Leonard Cohen stuff, and some folks would go seek out more Don Henley stuff. In that particular hypothetical situation, I'd probably end up as a burgeoning Cohen fan rather than a burgeoning Henly fan. Incidentally, now I want to hear that Henley recording.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:21 PM on June 23, 2008


Addiction is complicated and one reason we hate/fear addicts is that their state makes us question how much free will *anyone* really has. No one wants to think of themselves as being out of control or under the influence of urges that are beyond control-- addicts make visible this possibility. The same is true of fat people I think-- we want to look down on them for lack of willpower because we fear that the real difference is that they have urges that are stronger than ours and that if we were subject to them, we'd be fat, too. We have to make the problem be *theirs* so we don't have to look at us.

I was once addicted to cocaine and heroin-- I do not know what combination of youth, inexperience, depression, and alienation contributed to my situation, but I do know that I did things that I would never do now. At the same time, I didn't shoot up in front of the police-- my will was impaired, it was not eliminated and the tricky thing is that this fluctuates so that there are moments when you are freer than others.

So, what I'm saying is, unless you are Amy Winehouse, you don't know what it's like in her skin and you don't know what is driving her self-destruction and you don't know how to stop it. What could help at one minute may hurt at another-- given this, the obligation is to simply attempt to do no harm and work towards attracting her into recovery.

People don't continue using because they haven't been punished enough-- they continue using because they don't believe life would be bearable without drugs. While punishment may occasionally get someone to stop and think, the truth is that if punishment stoppped addiction, addiction wouldn't exist since by definition it is compulsive use *despite* negative consequences.
posted by Maias at 1:24 PM on June 23, 2008 [12 favorites]


Hmm... maybe harvest next year will be even better.
Greetus! Greetus Omnibus!!

posted by yoHighness at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


infinitywaltz: it's pretty easy to find on p2p
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on June 23, 2008


In that particular hypothetical situation, I'd probably end up as a burgeoning Cohen fan rather than a burgeoning Henly fan. Incidentally, now I want to hear that Henley recording.

I'd be inclined to check out both.
posted by jonmc at 1:31 PM on June 23, 2008


I don't understand why this thread hasn't changed into an effort to figure out which semi-celebrity cstross is.
posted by davejay at 1:40 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Winehouse isn't a jazz musician.

Care to elaborate? A very brief perusal and it seems critics use the words jazz singer to describe her, she started her career as a singer for a jazz band and her first album included two jazz covers. Further the motown/soul/R&B which she does, are often looked at as subsets of jazz.
posted by kigpig at 1:43 PM on June 23, 2008


Further the motown/soul/R&B which she does, are often looked at as subsets of jazz.

Are they? This is news to me - and, I suspect, everybody else.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why this thread hasn't changed into an effort to figure out which semi-celebrity cstross is.

It's been mentioned before with a link to his website

and his wikipedia entry
posted by kigpig at 1:49 PM on June 23, 2008


Why does jazz, the style with the most consistently empty lyrics that almost never moves past personal relationships and troubles, get put on a pedestal?

The only way someone could say that is if a) they know shit about jazz & b) don't know any career jazz musicians.

In pop music, the studio musicians I know often make six figure salaries. Unless you're in pop jazz (backing up Diana Krall or -gasp- Rod Stewart), a lot of jazz guys make $75-100 a NIGHT for a four hour show with two twenty minute breaks. Meanwhile, jazz venues are shutting down every day and the art is dying. People who played with Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra live in small hovel apartments in North Hollywood barely affording food. And some of the major jazz icons of our history are currently incognito sitting in rest homes that I wouldn't have a dog live in. There is no money in jazz. People who say it gets respected and that these people are put on a pedastal don't know a damned thing about the state of jazz musicians in reality. It's depressing, empty talk.

Since it was the first form of American music that was broadcast on the radio, it's a piece of our history. And it deserves to be preserved.

The thing I don't think people realize is that to play jazz, people have to know their instruments INSIDE OUT. You have to be able to play 4 hours of improvised jam... often acoustic... without second takes.. without pro tools. It's more of an art than you are giving it credit for just because you don't like the lyrics!!???? Wow, that's bullshit.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:50 PM on June 23, 2008 [21 favorites]


And anyone who calls the entire Classic American Songbook "empty"? All tens of thousands of tunes?

Is just being an idiot.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:52 PM on June 23, 2008


FWIW I'm not entirely sure he knows what the fuck he's talking about, which may or may not be a mitigating factor. Seems to be quite a common thing among the hipper-than-thou crowd here.
posted by Artw at 1:54 PM on June 23, 2008


Further the motown/soul/R&B which she does, are often looked at as subsets of jazz.

Uh, what??? Many people would consider jazz an offshoot of blues and R&B.

Also, the whole singer vs. songwriter equation holds true in self-contained groups as well. Pete Townshend wrote The Who's songs but Roger Daltrey sang them and thank God. (Townshend also wrote the line 'it's the singer not the song/that makes the music move along' which should tell you something). Even in my beloved Dictators, Andy Shernoff wrote the tunes, but he realized that he needed the bellow of a Handsome Dick manitoba to put them over. Ditto Dee Dee ramone and Joey.
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM on June 23, 2008


Amy Winehouse responding well to treatment
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on June 23, 2008


Well, shit, anybody who blithely dismisses songs about 'personal relationships and troubles' as 'consistently empty' probably doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

Or, to put it more gently, he already showed that he knows about as much about jazz as he knows about Amy Winehouse. And, with these recent comments, he's shown a similar immersion in motown/soul/R&B music.
posted by box at 2:04 PM on June 23, 2008


Further the motown/soul/R&B which she does, are often looked at as subsets of jazz.

Are they? This is news to me - and, I suspect, everybody else.


I doubt that most people not involved in one of them can distinguish between each of the above given a random song selection. Due to the timeline of what came first there seem, IMO, to be 5 larger categories used as wrapper styles for a ton of sub-genres of music that encompass most of American music: rock, jazz, classical, rap, folk (sometimes interchanged with country). Jazz even in the critics world encompasses a number of things from big band to be-bop to ragtime to blues to funk to fusion. I suppose one could argue that jazz should be the subset of gospel but I imagine this didn't happen because of the specific meaning of the word gospel.
posted by kigpig at 2:04 PM on June 23, 2008


You Do Not Know What You Are Talking About. Please Stop.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Leonard Cohen is a great songwriter, but I heard a live recording of Don Henley (who's faults are numerous, but he's a far better singer than Cohen will ever be, as Cohen'd be the firt to admit) covering 'Democracy,' and on that particular night, Don sung it like he meant it and it was a far better recording for it.

Don Henley a better singer than Leonard Cohen? *sputter* That's just crazytalk. Have you heard the boots of Cohen's current tour? Don Henley [Must Die] could only fucking wish to sound half that good on the best day of his life, let alone in his seventies.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2008


Don Henley a better singer than Leonard Cohen? *sputter* That's just crazytalk.

Well, then put me in a straightjacket.

Also, as an adjunct to my earlier point, vocal ability isn't everything. Eric Burdon was a (by standards of sheer ability) far better singer than mick Jagger, but Jagger's imprint on musical history is larger because he was a brilliant songwriter as well as a great singer.
posted by jonmc at 2:14 PM on June 23, 2008


You Do Not Know What You Are Talking About. Please Stop.

You are wrong on that as I have been involved in jazz before. You could even look at the wikipedia entries to see repeat references of these styles having evolved from or be a combination of jazz. What I am speaking of is how some people refer to music not as an authority of what the styles are which would be a stupid game to play.

Further, Amy Winehouse's page says she's a jazz singer (among other things), so I rephrase to all of you that have somehow taken offense, in what way is this wrong?

Well, shit, anybody who blithely dismisses songs about 'personal relationships and troubles' as 'consistently empty' probably doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

If you see nothing more meaningful than one's personal relationships and troubles to sing about then there's little response I can give. I don't see the literary world being so kind to such works so forgive me if I don't take your case.
posted by kigpig at 2:25 PM on June 23, 2008


Don Henley [Must Die]

to Don's eternal credit, he showed up at a Mojo Nixon show and sang a chorus or two along with him, rendering Mojo (for once) speechless. He now performs it as 'Michael Bolton Must Die."
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on June 23, 2008


kigpig - Are you possibly thinking of blues or something?
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2008


Further, Amy Winehouse's page says she's a jazz singer (among other things),

and plenty of porn models pages say that they're figure models or interpretive dancers. She's an R&B singer, anyone with ears and a grasp of music history will tell you so.
posted by jonmc at 2:28 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This just in: Amy Winehouse and Paul Newman's lungs were spotted last evening at a London eatery snuggling in the VIP section. Details to follow.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2008


I doubt that most people not involved in one of them [jazz and soul] can distinguish between each of the above given a random song selection.

In case the reader would like to test this assertion for themselves, I've provided these four Youtube links. One's modern jazz, one's '60s jazz, one's '60s soul and one's modern soul. Call it box's jazz-and-soul challenge. On second thought, don't. Can you identify which is which? No cheating and using Wikipedia. Good luck.
posted by box at 2:41 PM on June 23, 2008


kigpig - Are you possibly thinking of blues or something

I possibly should have included that as an alternative sort of wrapper class that is used to describe many different styles but I still have heard and see evidence of jazz being used as the broad category more often. Either way if she's not a jazz singer, since as I admitted in the original remark that I could have missed some excellent gems which should imply that I'm not claiming authority on what exact style she is, then what is she and how can so many others have a wrong definition of what jazz is when if a million threads about 'begging the question' has taught me anything, its that words are defined by their usage not authority ("amy winehouse" + jazz turns up 734,000 hits on google).
posted by kigpig at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2008


Congratulations on an absolutely vile and witless comment. Your compassion for your fellow creatures is obviously without bounds.

You're right, it was vile and witless and I actually regret posting it, but I take umbrage with the notion that you seem capable of measuring a person's levels of compassion for "fellow creatures" (sorry, but Amy Whitehouse ain't even the same fucking phylum as me, pal) by offhanded comments on an internet web page. My compassion for my "fellow creatures" is actually quite expansive and apparent, but for this piece of insane trash? Less than zero. Why isn't she in jail? And what happened to her teeth?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 PM on June 23, 2008


Winehouse. Whatevs.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 PM on June 23, 2008


"amy winehouse" + rock: 1,080,000.
"amy winehouse" + pop: 937,000.
"amy winehouse" + soul: 751,000.
"amy winehouse" + jazz: 738,000.
"amy winehouse" + metal: 719,000.
"amy winehouse" + reggae: 660,000.
"amy winehouse" + grunge: 219,000.
"amy winehouse" + bluegrass: 149,000.
"amy winehouse" + klezmer: 39,000.
"amy winehouse" + gamelan: 4.900.
"amy winehouse" + skronk: 730.

This is kind of fun.
posted by box at 3:02 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


kigpig: For what it is worth, here are the awards that she's won. The Grammys have her and her album under pop, not jazz. She won Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Funny enough, she lost Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock.
posted by Weebot at 3:09 PM on June 23, 2008


I enjoy this video of Amy Winehouse as Rizzo in the school play of Grease when she's about 12. Such a young talented thing... it's such a terrible tragedy... that she had to sing such a ricockulous neutered version of Grease for fuck's sake.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:10 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Further, Amy Winehouse's page says she's a jazz singer (among other things), so I rephrase to all of you that have somehow taken offense, in what way is this wrong?

Yeah, Amy Winehouse's origins are partly in jazz... she studied it and started out doing Dinah Washington material, etc. She's the only pop singer I've heard attempt the genre who actually displays an understanding of and respect for *genuine* jazz singer sensibilities instead of tackling the songs on a superficial "Gee, look, I'm singing JAZZ!" level. However, all creative artists follow a different path and take on different influences to create their own sound. She started in jazz then moved more into R&B (which she mentions in her own songs)... Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, etc. Some of her arrangements are very, very Marvin Gaye -- especially the horn sections. She's also got ska influences in there (I've even heard her cover Bad Manners). Her style is a mixture of a lot of different influences.

She is not a jazz singer per se, but if she *wanted* to be a jazz singer she could very definitely be one in a second and do a very creditable job. She CAN pull off jazz, and she call pull it off well. Well, unless she's coughing up a lung or something. That can put a damper on a song.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:14 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


She's the only pop singer I've heard attempt the genre who actually displays an understanding of and respect for *genuine* jazz singer sensibilities

*cough* Dionne Warwick *cough* Judy Henske *cough* Dusty Springfield *cough* Etta James. *cough*
posted by jonmc at 3:21 PM on June 23, 2008


Tsk. "who is alive and active in this decade" was pretty clearly implied there.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on June 23, 2008


I enjoy this video of Amy Winehouse as Rizzo in the school play of Grease when she's about 12. Such a young talented thing

Heh. After your comment above, I was thinking I could really picture her doing a fantastic, post-ironic 'Hopelessly Devoted To You', but it would never happen as she'd have to play Rizzo...
posted by goo at 3:28 PM on June 23, 2008


Now that you mention her, Amy Winehouse does share Dusty Springfield's love of eyeliner and bee-hive hairdos.
posted by Weebot at 3:30 PM on June 23, 2008


but sadly not her vocal ability.
posted by jonmc at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2008


We can probably add "knows who Dusty Springfield was" to the list of differences between Amy Winehouse and Britney.
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


She's the only pop singer I've heard attempt the genre who actually displays an understanding of and respect for *genuine* jazz singer sensibilities instead of tackling the songs on a superficial "Gee, look, I'm singing JAZZ!" level.

I believe this falls under the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy and I'm not really sure what metric you're using to distinguish between the genuine article and a superficial level though based on your earlier rather curt remark it seems you're tracing it back to it's roots and calling best emulation of that genuine?
posted by kigpig at 3:41 PM on June 23, 2008


I'm not convinced you actually know what that means either.
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on June 23, 2008


I was going to comment on the whole Jazz/R&B thing as far as Amy Winehouse is concerned, but miss lynnster said it.
posted by ob at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2008


*cough* Dionne Warwick *cough* Judy Henske *cough* Dusty Springfield *cough* Etta James. *cough*

Okay, so in the last two or three decades. Compared to others. Most of whom do things like stand there uncomfortably limp or wiggle and pantomime to overcompensate for their discomfort. And it makes me want to hurt them.

True jazz singers are so relaxed and deeply entrenched in the music they're singing and the stories they're telling an audience... you can feel it deep. They can stand still and tell an epic story and make it look effortless. (That last Cole Porter Sinatra/Crosby link is one of my favorites... because singing lyrics that conversationally takes masterful skill... and they were masters. Generally people are either a melody singer or a storytelling singer. They were both.)

BTW, of all of those I'd only agree that Etta James can definitely sing jazz. Dionne and Dusty both have tried some jazz things I believe, but their Bacharach stuff was far stronger. Never heard of Judy Henske but when I googled her, no jazz came up other than that she was Woody Allen's inspiration for Annie Hall... and Annie Hall DEFINITELY couldn't sing jazz very well. She tried, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:22 PM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


You can't judge Amy Winehouse for the choices she makes and you don't know if she's a responsible person. Just because she uses drugs doesn't mean she's incapable of paying her rent on time or putting money into a savings account.

No no no.. YOU can't judge Amy Winehouse's actions. Judgment is one of the faculties you acquire as you grow up. But before this happens, you must realize that slowly killing yourself with drugs and an ability to pay rent on time don't really have anything to do with each other. She may do a perfect job of wiping her ass after taking a dump, but it still does not change the fact that she's a junkie with fucked up lungs and is about to kill herself.

I'm okay with saying that it's generally irresponsible to use drugs. However, I don't think it's fair to hold an addict accountable for his or her actions like continuing to use instead of getting clean

Dude (dudette?), we're on the internet. No one here is holding her accountable for anything. Except her own body and to her parents, who's lives she's fucked up.
posted by c13 at 4:45 PM on June 23, 2008


I've gotta agree with cstross about the effects of fame on one's decision to self- medicate, but I think it also comes down to an unfortunate vicious cycle where those most likely to get fame as performers or other creative types seem to disproportionately self-medicate.

There's a chapter in the great book Forest for the Trees, by Betsy Lerner, entitled "Touching Fire," which explores the glamor of addiction and self-destruction to those who would try to present the full human experience to others. If you can find the book, the whole thing is worth reading, but the (partial) gist of the chapter is that, unfortunately, creative types often become masochistic about their experiences in order to have more material. Michael Chabon describes it perhaps more eloquently in Wonder Boys as "writing your name in water," the concept of forcing crazy experiences so that the story may be out there, even if you never actually tell it.

That doesn't begin to explain this phenomenon, but it at least addresses the question, which is why performers and creative people tend to be more likely t be addicts and substance abusers. Maybe the simple answer is just, "because they can be." We know that a lot of young Wall Streeters are coke fiends, and that alcoholism transcends all fields, apparently, though it's most noted with doctors, pilots, and lawyers - three stressful positions where the lives and livelihoods of others are in their hands. Maybe it's simply that musicians, actors, writers and other artists have the liberty of feeding their addictions and still working, and in industries where their addictions wouldn't make them unemployable.

That fits, somewhat, but I don't think that's all of it. When I was 12 or 13, I too obsessed about being a member of the "27 Club," though now that I am actually 27 I have changed my mind completely on the matter. Still, I'm a creative person - a failed creative person in many respects - but I still see the glamor in the great flame-out, and the strange, sad, epic beauty in the performer who's so laid-out that the only way he or she can even get off the couch and get on stage is to have another bump and a shot of Jack. It's horrible, and it has killed a lot of brilliant people and it will kill a lot more, while doing no real good to anybody, but there's some reptilian part of my brain that responds positively to it.

In college, I dated a fairly well-known movie starlet for a little while, whom I won't name for obvious reasons. Her fame, which was at least one level removed from Amy Winehouse's (no paparazzi, but we'd get stopped every couple blocks by fans) had led her into insane drinking binges beyond those of even a normal 19-year-old, she had nothing but shitty friends who only cared about being seen with her (a couple of whom literally asked me how I'd earned the right to hang out with her) and acted out at every public scene we would get to, once enough people surrounded her and demanded something from her presence. Fame is indeed as much a drug as anything, and you could see the pained love/hate relationship she had with it as she "performed" for the crowds, and I understand completely why she needed to be a little "medicated," in order to keep doing it night after night.

Yes, she didn't have to. Nobody was making her drink or toke or do anything else, but she was surrounded by people who all expected it from her (I humbly mention myself excluded) and her public identity was not only her identity as she had then come to know it, but also her source of livelihood as well. She's dropped out of the spotlight significantly since then, and I hope she's more stable now that she's older and doesn't have quite as much attention on her, but it could easily be quite the opposite.

I've known and worked with and been friends with many famous people, and a hell of a lot of them have problems in their youth, and a hell of a lot of them had problems in their youth even when they weren't famous yet, and thankfully, a good amount of them found help and got clean in their middle age.

Let's hope Amy Winehouse follows that example. Add Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Pete Dougherty and many others to that list as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:48 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Amy Winehouse" + ham: 240,000
posted by boo_radley at 4:53 PM on June 23, 2008


If you see nothing more meaningful than one's personal relationships and troubles to sing about then there's little response I can give. I don't see the literary world being so kind to such works so forgive me if I don't take your case.

Which literary world?

Otoh, music has plenty of negative influence since innately inscribed in its function is that beauty outweighs truth.


But that's just your opinion, your personal art paradigm. I don't know if AC/DC have Big Balls and don't care.

Any thread that mentions Etta James is a good thread.
posted by ersatz at 5:01 PM on June 23, 2008


"Amy Winehouse" + "vienna sausages": 523
posted by miss lynnster at 5:02 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, she didn't have to. Nobody was making her drink or toke or do anything else, but she was surrounded by people who all expected it from her

Oh, yes. And for people who are fucked up and famous, there are always the facilitators happy to help keep them there. The people who are happy to see Gazza or John Dly or whoever as a right lad, buy them another drink, tell them how fantastic it is that they "aren't letting the squares get them down".

Of course, they aren't the people who are terrified they'll bury their kid before they're 25, or the kids that daddy's too busy drinking to pay attention to, or...

But, hey, it's a great spectator sport, right?
posted by rodgerd at 5:03 PM on June 23, 2008


"amy winehouse" + bacon: 167,000
"amy winehouse" + bologna: 99,000
"amy winehouse" + salami: 19,000
"amy winehouse" + proscuitto: 6410
"amy winehouse" + "corned beef": 4100
"amy winehouse" + pastrami: 1400
"amy winehouse" + capicola: 160

If anybody manages to find a Winehouse deli-meat or pork-product Googlewhack, I'll paypal you a buck. Seriously.
posted by box at 5:05 PM on June 23, 2008


Dammit, even "Amy Winehouse" Biltong returns 498 responses.
posted by rodgerd at 5:09 PM on June 23, 2008


Easy on the pork products, shes a nice jewish girl who just needs taking care of.
posted by Artw at 5:10 PM on June 23, 2008


Amy Winehouse + cheeseburger 24,600
(and you actually get video of her haz'ing one.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:35 PM on June 23, 2008


Who'd have thought that Amy Winehouse + Geoduck would produce 346 hits on Google, yet only a mere 105 for Amy Winehouse + Hakarl? It's a weird old world I tells ya.
posted by ob at 6:00 PM on June 23, 2008


"amy winehouse" Pancetta 6130
"amy winehouse" "duck confit" 196 results.
"amy winehouse" "Black Forest ham" 37 results.
"amy winehouse" "Bayonne ham" 6 results
"amy winehouse" Bakkwa 4 results.
"amy winehouse" "duck rillette" 1 results.

Plain old rillette gets over 200, as do cretons.

DINGDINGDINGDING WE HAVE A WINNER

"amy winehouse" Bindenfleisch no results.
posted by rodgerd at 6:23 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Now that is an artful derail if I ever saw one.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:28 PM on June 23, 2008


amy winehouse + schadenfreude, 10,700 results.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:34 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Her fathers words: "With smoking the crack cocaine and the cigarettes her lungs are all gunked up. There are nodules around the chest and dark marks. She's got 70 per cent lung capacity."

Later in the article: Emphysema kills 40,000 Britons a year. Usually caused by smoking, it ages the lungs prematurely and the effects cannot be reversed.

So cigarettes are apparently part of the picture here too. And they're perfectly legal and sanctioned, taxed and regulated by the British government. If Amy is like most, she smoked ciggies long before she had her first hit of cocaine.
posted by telstar at 6:41 PM on June 23, 2008


"amy winehouse" + ortolan = 3,480

"amy winehouse" + "larks' tongues in aspic" = 1,220
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 PM on June 23, 2008



There's actually no evidence that addiction rates are elevated amongst doctors (except anesthesiologists and there's an obvious reason for that: if you like drugs, it's an obvious specialty) or lawyers or other professionals. In fact, if you go into a 12-step meeting, you'll hear virtually everyone say "Well, I was an accountant and you know how it is with accountants and alcohol," or "I was in advertising and you know..."

Addiction rates do seem to be elevated amongst creative types-- but it's hard to know about the self-selection noted above, ie, if you like drugs, being a rock star is as obvious a choice as choosing an anesthesia specialty.

The real groups that addiction rates are elevated amongst are the poor and people with elevated exposure to trauma and the mentally ill-- groups which, of course, tend to overlap.

And the association between certain types of mental illness and creativity may be what actually mediates the association with addiction. Ie, bipolar people have a much elevated addiction risk and bipolar disorder is linked with creativity in some (though this does not mean that treating it destroys creativity).

There is also a link between addiction and extreme wealth-- which I guess would also connect it with celebrity. My feeling is that this association is linked not just with the ability to get away with doing drugs for longer because you can afford them but also with the fact that if you have everything, it's almost as meaningless and your life is often as structureless as that of those who have nothing. Unemployment is highly linked with addiction and not just because you lose your job if you are fucked up-- idle time is indeed the devil's playground.

Of course, being rich is better-- those who claim that hitting bottom is critical to recovery can't explain why the middle class and doctors are far, far more likely to achieve stable recovery than the poor. If it all takes is losing everything, these people should have *lower* rates-- but the truth is, being employed, having family support and something to live for are better correlates of recovery than being unemployed, isolated and with no education or opportunity or goals.

So Amy's chance are better for recovery if she keeps her career-- but even better if she comes up with some kind of structure and social support for abstinence (or for maintenance as prescribed, which it sounds like she may be on for opioids).
posted by Maias at 7:00 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Malas, I know that no one profession creates or is an indicator of alcoholism, which was my point about that. We just notice it more in professions where we see it as greater cause for concern and, I guess, can "understand" it more due to the stress involved. Hence, Doctors, Lawyers, Pilots.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:33 PM on June 23, 2008


And yeah, "hitting bottom" is - I'm pretty sure - a concept imagined either by someone who's never actually been there, or else those guys who found religion and started AA, who of course had a support system of each other to turn to.

For anyone who actually "hits bottom," the truth is that they've got nothing - no friends, no resources, etc. At that point the only support they've got is their addiction, and they'll lie, cheat, rob and kill to maintain it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2008


Forktine:
There was a really good article about Britney a couple of months ago, focusing on the role the hangers-on and the handlers play when a star starts to have mental and substance problems. A regular person, who lacks that huge array of enablers, would hit bottom and end up broke and in a detox center pretty fast, but when there is an army of people focused on getting you up on stage, regardless of what it takes to get you there, these problems can become really extreme before someone hits bottom.

Ok.
Just a little pinprick.
There'll be no more — aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.

Can you stand up?
I do believe its working. good.
Thatll keep you going for the show.
Come on its time to go.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 7:56 PM on June 23, 2008


This is kind of crazy. I started with exotic food...
"amy winehouse" + escargot: 42,200
"amy winehouse" + spaetzle: 124
"amy winehouse" + "nasi goreng": 2,380
"amy winehouse" + koshari: 33
"amy winehouse" + spargel: 764
"amy winehouse" + menudo: 69,400

Then went into unpleasant bodily affectations/diseases:
"amy winehouse" + "toe jam": 23,000
"amy winehouse" + meningitis: 19,000
"amy winehouse" + mononucleosis: 241,000
"amy winehouse" + "herniated disc": 745
"amy winehouse" + pinkeye: 40,500
"amy winehouse" + halitosis: 1,610
"amy winehouse" + hirsutism: 18,100
"amy winehouse" + elephantitis: 844

I've just come to realize that Amy Winehouse really, really gets around.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:11 PM on June 23, 2008


Pastabagel writes "Avril Lavigne writes her own songs too, or at least she shares a writing credit on most of them, as does Winehouse. And she's written more songs than Winehouse, and has charted astronomically with a lot of them. And she also wrote Kelly Clarkson's hit song as well. But she isn't troubled, isn't visibly a drug addict and therefore isn't a valid artist?"

Well, no, not because of that.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:31 PM on June 23, 2008


But I appreciate that this kind of approach to one's children isn't that well regarded in the USA, where Tough Love seems to be the recommended strategy when dealing with children who screw up. Well, here's a clue: cutting off your children's allowance doesn't work that well when they're a multi-millionaire, and packing them off to boot camp really isn't feasible when your kid happens to be a rich and married 24 year old adult.

Peter McDermott, where do you get your sanctimonious stereotypes about American child rearing practices? One could just as well have said the exact opposite: that Americans are too lax about parenting, that children run their parents' lives, that parents are not tough enough with their children out of fear of harming their little psyches or getting cut off by them.

It's not enough to blame the parents, eh? Blame the whole country? Ridiculous.
posted by cogneuro at 8:33 PM on June 23, 2008


jonmc writes "*cough*"

Joni Mitchell, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:35 PM on June 23, 2008


Now Winehouse's US representative says "She is not diagnosed with full-blown emphysema, but instead has early signs of what could lead to emphysema"

Does that mean we can stop acting like she's a victim and just acknowledge the trainwreck she has become and move on? Maybe next week she'll get something else good that'll be worth a few column inches. I'm hoping for Chronic Obscurity.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:49 PM on June 23, 2008


Peter McDermott, where do you get your sanctimonious stereotypes about American child rearing practices?

The American media. Posters to this website. The growing number of books on the subject. Places like that.

And sanctimonious my stereotypes may be, but the poster I was responding to was a perfect example of the sort of widespread attitudes and values that reinforce that stereotype. Also, FWIW, I'm not aware of another country in the world that packs it's children off to private prison camps in third world countries to be tortured at great expense, as soon as those children become problematic or tiresome.

YMMV, obviously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:09 PM on June 23, 2008


a London-based "troubled" celebrity is there bread and butter

Those magazines are so viciously mysogynistic too. They just love tearing young successful women apart. I'm convinced half those paparazzi would be stalkers even if it wasn't their job.

I don't really know why any famous people live in London, it must be like living in a zoo. Except you can understand all the comments the people make from the other side of the bars.
posted by fshgrl at 10:07 PM on June 23, 2008


"Amy Winehouse" + "Nobel Prize": 47,900

Give the girl some credit, please.
posted by lukemeister at 10:22 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


And sanctimonious my stereotypes may be, but the poster I was responding to was a perfect example of the sort of widespread attitudes and values that reinforce that stereotype. Also, FWIW, I'm not aware of another country in the world that packs it's children off to private prison camps in third world countries to be tortured at great expense, as soon as those children become problematic or tiresome.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that some people from the U.K. did this as well. Either way, it's not very common.
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on June 23, 2008


I love her music, and don't understand: a) the compulsion some people have to say she should be ignored, and b) the compulsion some people feel to say her music is so Motown-influenced. It's more Stax/Memphis/Muscle Shoals and Ray Charles and southern soul generally by a zillion miles, in part as a result of recording with the Dap Kings. (The ska influences mentioned earlier are due to recording with an Afro-Caribbean group on other songs). There are also the nearly obvious early '60s girl group influences. Motown? Except for maybe Marvin Gaye, and I don't hear that outright, there's not much. Motown never produced anything that sounds like "Rehab."
posted by raysmj at 1:27 AM on June 24, 2008


Also, FWIW, I'm not aware of another country in the world that packs it's children off to private prison camps in third world countries to be tortured at great expense, as soon as those children become problematic or tiresome.

"Not a punishment, but an educational measure"

The best part is "He said the idea was to remove the boy "from the stimuli of consumer culture" in Germany." Force me to enlightenment, baby!


"Amy Winehouse" + god: 3.310.000

"And ye shall know Amy Winehouse, and Amy Winehouse shall make you free." Sounds a bit too much.
posted by ersatz at 2:49 AM on June 24, 2008


*sigh*

I stand by my first comment.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:53 AM on June 24, 2008


I think the fact that her dad is doing everything in his power to help his daughter (which, since she is a legal adult with a shitload of her own money, isn't much) speaks to the fact that he is, actually, a great parent.

My point exactly. He can admit he failed and look to others for help.

You don't have to have a mental illness to start a crack habit, and if you think her upbringing had absolutely no connection with her inability to make good choices with her adult life, than you need to re-enroll for Psych 101.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:48 AM on June 24, 2008


The dad's actions seem less funky now that it's come out that he jumped the gun a little bit, since the worst outcome is still actually preventable. I didn't want to mention how pointless it is to try to get her label to intervene if she already has emphysema, because it's too depressing to spell out.

Still kind of troubled by how much detail about barely-related minutiae he provided to the Mirror, an basically evil newspaper with no one's best interests at heart.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:36 AM on June 24, 2008


Actually, I'm pretty sure that some people from the U.K. did this as well.

I'm pretty sure that the only people from the UK who have ever done this have done so in an attempt to wash their dirty linen all over the telly. I've never heard of anyone here spending their own money on it.

Either way, it's not very common.

Apparently, it's a billion dollar industry that warehouses somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 US kids at any given time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:09 AM on June 24, 2008


.Also, FWIW, I'm not aware of another country in the world that packs it's children off to private prison camps in third world countries to be tortured at great expense, as soon as those children become problematic or tiresome.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that some people from the U.K. did this as well. Either way, it's not very common.


delmoi,
Maybe "some people from the UK" have been known to try these wretched, corrective boot camps - but even the concept of sending teens away to normal summer camp is more American than British.

(This is partly due to the typical length of the summer vacation - longer in the US).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:14 AM on June 24, 2008


Apparently, it's a billion dollar industry that warehouses somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 US kids at any given time.

Dude, that's nothing -- we keep more than 2.3 million people in prison, which is something like one percent of the adults in the country. The 20-100k in your link is nothing in comparison.

Also, looking at that link, it looks like she is conflating a bunch of things to come up with a woefully imprecise figure -- everything from privately run reform schools to those wilderness camps and probably other stuff, too. The "private prison camps in third world countries" is some very small fraction of that figure.

The point being, it's a rare and unusual thing to do (however much one wonders if Amy Winehouse might have benefited from that kind of intervention at the right moment). And the people who send their kids off to these places (the ok ones, not the torture camps one occasionally reads about) are usually doing so out of love and a sense of powerlessness in the face of adolescent crises, not a desire to replicate Lord of the Flies with little Junior.

There's a lot that's screwed up about child rearing in the US, but the UK isn't exactly in a position to point fingers. Check out the chart of UK 11-15 year old drinking rates in this article, for example. You have the highest teen pregnancy rates in Western Europe. And for exciting depictions of abusive conditions, look at all the books about being sent off to boarding school ("public school") and there experiencing the finest tradition of the rum porridge, sodomy, and the lash.

My point being that child rearing is actually quite a tricky business, and relying on extreme stereotypes for an accurate depiction of the average child's experience is a pretty foolish endeavor.
posted by Forktine at 6:39 AM on June 24, 2008


Amy Winehouse is gimmicky and overrated. Her losing battle with addiction is sad and deserves compassion, but is nothing special.
posted by mistsandrain at 6:43 AM on June 24, 2008


Well, no doubt the boot camp thing is uniquely horrible, but if 20,000-100,000 are numbers which you think prove that it's representative of something broader about the culture, you might not be considering that there are something like 40 million American kids in that age range. I think it's firmly in the "I can't believe there aren't laws yet preventing the loose marbles from doing this to their kids" corner and not "Americans think this is awesome and it gives insight into their ideas about parenting as a culture."

If I was going to generalize about American parenting, I'd say that people have gone a little crazy with praise with no context, and heavy advocating for their kids even in low-stakes situations, and it has left the kids at loose ends when they have to start thinking and working independently. But you know, it's a huge country, so even that might be just my localized perspective as someone from the Northeast.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 7:22 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"And for exciting depictions of abusive conditions, look at all the books about being sent off to boarding school ("public school") and there experiencing the finest tradition of the rum porridge, sodomy, and the lash".

Not a bad comparison, Forktine - UK public schools and corrective USA teen boot camps!

(It's just that "I don't want to go to St. Swithun's" doesn't scan that well for Amy!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2008


I love her music, and don't understand: a) the compulsion some people have to say she should be ignored, and b) the compulsion some people feel to say her music is so Motown-influenced. It's more Stax/Memphis/Muscle Shoals and Ray Charles and southern soul generally by a zillion miles, in part as a result of recording with the Dap Kings. (The ska influences mentioned earlier are due to recording with an Afro-Caribbean group on other songs). There are also the nearly obvious early '60s girl group influences. Motown? Except for maybe Marvin Gaye, and I don't hear that outright, there's not much. Motown never produced anything that sounds like "Rehab."

My take exactly. I was listening to a Marvin Gaye cd the other day and her horn arrangements seem almost DIRECTLY inspired from his post-Motown stuff. Definitely not the Motown days at all.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:11 AM on June 24, 2008


As for shipping kids off to keep them from being unruly... I'm confused. Wasn't that how a vast number of upper class Brits were raised for generations? In classic boarding schools, seeing their parents on holidays? Or did Charles Dickens steer me wrong?
posted by miss lynnster at 8:20 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


miss lynster: I don't know about the horn lines, haven't noticed, but general melodic structure, the feel of his post-"Motown Sound" stuff, is certainly an influence. If she's into Donny Hathaway, how not? Marvin's stamp is all over the era.

The larger point is: I love her voice, her feel. I hope she survives. Anyone who says otherwise is someone I'd rather not talk to.
posted by raysmj at 11:00 AM on June 24, 2008


"amy winehouse" + "tentacle hentai": 2,250

Gabba gabba hey!
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:19 PM on June 24, 2008


Winehouse Hospitalized: Emphysema or 'Crack Lung'?
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2008


"amy winehouse" + "gabba gabba hey": 1,490
posted by miss lynnster at 4:04 PM on June 24, 2008


Now, in my own limited experience, feeling kind of ... hollow after performances- even really good ones - happens and it's a dreadful feeling that you want to get out of at all costs. I'm pretty sure it happens to professionals all the time - in the Iain Curtis film, "Control" e.g. the Joy Division singer says "people don't realize how much it takes, how much you're giving away at every performance."

At a particularly bad occurence of this type one time a couple months ago, I went out after the show and got fucking wasted. Getting fucked was, I realized, also a way of saying fuck them - the strangers who don't realize how much it takes. (and of course keeping it real, you know.) I say limited above because my max is a lowly 200 people and I don't have to do the same 10 songs night after night. Wonder how Amy Winehouse feels after a gig?

posted by yoHighness at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2008


Sorry, I just meant to say doing a Amy Winehouse now and again helps dealing with career stress in the music business. Record labels with inhouse coke dealers, I'm looking at you.
posted by yoHighness at 5:19 PM on June 24, 2008


"amy winehouse" + "jonmc": 25
"amy winehouse" + "myss lynnster": 13
"amy winehouse" + "mr_crash_davis": 6
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2008


(the middle result is correct for 'miss lynnster', I apparently just can't type)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:58 PM on June 24, 2008


That's weird... I got...
"amy winehouse" + "jonmc": 72
"amy winehouse" + "miss lynnster": 42
"amy winehouse" + "mr_crash_davis": 6

It's weird, she's like a virus that's growing, quickly spreading over everyone on the internet! It's like Outbreak or the Andromeda Strain or something!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Get the crack lady OFF OF ME!!!!!
posted by miss lynnster at 6:04 PM on June 24, 2008


but what if she uses her forces for good?

"amy winehouse" + "cancer cure" = 5,260

"amy winehouse" "president obama" = 7,600

"amy winehouse" + "middle east peace" = 7,820
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:44 PM on June 24, 2008


Well if this google search is anything to go by, she does.

"amy winehouse" + "god" = 622,000

"amy winehouse" + "satan" =220,000

That's all the proof that I need.
posted by ob at 8:04 PM on June 24, 2008


In fact a search for "the church of amy winehouse" gives 316,000 hits, so I guess more than a few people beat me to the punch. Damn!
posted by ob at 8:07 PM on June 24, 2008


Well hey! On that note, lookee what shows up with "amy winehouse" + exorcist:
Exorcist seeks to rid Amy Winehouse of the devil!

So we can all breathe easy now. She'll be okay and stop spitting up pea soup any minute! YAY!
posted by miss lynnster at 8:28 PM on June 24, 2008


Oh good grief.

I have participated in real honest to goodness exorcisms as part of a ministry team. You do NOT make a circus of it, you DO respect the person's privacy, and THERE IS NO PEA SOUP. (I'm glaring at you, Hollywood.)

These things are done-well, supposed to be done- quietly, calmly and for the most part peacefully. I have no idea whether or not Amy Winehouse could benefit from this, but it is pretty darn, well, unprofessional to publicise stuff like this.

NOT helpful at all.
posted by konolia at 8:48 PM on June 24, 2008


don't feed the exorcist!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:52 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Movies aren't real? Wait... whaaaaaa?
posted by miss lynnster at 9:06 PM on June 24, 2008


dang, and just when i'd connected my Kelly leBrock realdoll to my Commodore 64, and set up my lightning conductor on the roof!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:37 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't disconnect that setup just yet, Ubu--I'm coming right over.
posted by box at 9:48 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone has linked to this yet?

According to her publicists, her dad was jumping the gun hugely: "Amy is showing early signs of what could lead to emphysema". Emphasis mine. So, almost no story at all then.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:03 PM on June 24, 2008


some paparazzo snapped her sharing a cigarette?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 AM on June 25, 2008


What gets me is how a musician is reduced to a tabloid personality , so even people who have never heard her music (HER music - she wrote and sang it) feels entitled to comment on her life.
2 Things
She is an Intelligent young Woman.

I think some of the fury over amy is based around the can't stand a strong female image she is doing.
I am a huge fan of Nina Simone, Ella, Bessie and others and I would say given time and enough room to do her own thing she could produce comparable work.

Nothing as great as 4 women, or Ella in Berlin but at least in the right direction.

This public braying reminds me of the churches debate on homos - we neither asked your opinion or need to be used as a rallying cry for your troops.
posted by dprs75 at 6:14 AM on June 25, 2008


Movies aren't real? Wait... whaaaaaa?

Yeah, if we're going to start picking at every single instance of a lack of veracity in a Hollywood flick it's going to be like watching a movie with my dad.
posted by ob at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2008


"I think some of the fury over amy is based around the can't stand a strong female image she is doing."

? I don't think that's it *at all*. What strong females do you know who:
1) Are trapped in a co-dependent relationship with the jailed lifetime drug user who got them hooked
2) Can't control their own usage of harmful substances
3) Can't be trusted to turn up to their own gigs capable of performing
4) Wastes every opportunity to make their life their own and instead bolsters the existence of their drug dealer(s)
5) Has had their creative process completely stymied by constant drug use and attempts to escape the notoriety this generates
6) Can't even stand up for themselves

?

None who are alive, and I think one of the definitions of strong is being survival-oriented.

Those of us who have lived during the last 50 years have watched innumerable talented entertainers and artists (I believe Ms. Winehouse is both) pointlessly self-destruct, painting a giant metaphorical canvas with the powder burns of their wasted lives and leaving nothing behind but whatever they managed to crank out before the often sadly expected but sometimes wildly and disappointingly surprising end.

If she can't look back at the song catalogues which inspire her and see the inevitable end of the line for this type of behaviour, she's blinded herself and is choosing to put on this phantasm-suit, wearing the ghosts of other dead performers as she courts her own wasted end.

That's not strong. It's sad. It's a waste. But it's not strong.
posted by batmonkey at 8:25 AM on June 25, 2008


BTW, just to highlight what I said earlier about jazz musicians being far from put on a pedestal...

I just got an e-mail this morning asking for donations to help four time Grammy nominee Ernestine Anderson from losing her home. She's 80 years old and has exhausted all resources so she has until June 30th to raise at least $45,000 or her family home will be foreclosed.

Just because you have the talent to sing for your supper doesn't mean you'll have one tomorrow...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:51 AM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Esteemed miss lynnster.

I am Four time GRAMMY nominee Ernestine ANDERSON and am writing to you because I need an HONEST & RELAIBLE partner to assist in the save of my house (estimated value = $170,000,000)!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:11 AM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sounds like a hell of a house. And be assured that I can help you, Ms. Anderson. But unfortunately, due to my position as civil servants and members of the Royal Bank of Nigeria, I cannot acquire the money in my name. I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an Overseas partner INTO whose ACCOUNT the sum WILL BE PAID BY TELEGRAPHIC TRANSFER and you will therefore retain 20%. Please note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope THAT THE FUNDS CAN ARRIVE YOUR ACCOUNT in latest ten (10) banking days from the date of reciept of the following information by TEL/FAX: A SUITABLE NAME AND BANK ACCOUNT INTO WHICH THE FUNDS CAN BE PAID. PLEASE ENDEAVOUR TO RESPOND ASAP.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:40 AM on June 25, 2008


Jezebel did a write up that addresses some questions and positions here, and it's linked to an article by a writer who hung out with Ms. Winehouse to see what the real deal was.
posted by batmonkey at 12:24 PM on June 27, 2008


Glastonbury appears to have gone okay, with just the one fight.
posted by Artw at 9:19 PM on June 28, 2008


Sock it to 'em, Amy!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:14 AM on June 29, 2008


Jay Z rocked the house
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2008


Jay Z rocked the house

Well, not for the first two minutes or so. I'm sorry... that was the worst Oasis cover I've ever seen. It was like a bad high school talent show act with a big budget. WTF? The man apparently cannot carry a tune whatsoever.

He has talent in rap, okay. But singing? From that clip? As Wino would say... no no no.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:49 AM on June 29, 2008


Lots of rappers could be good at scat-singing and vocalese and whatnot, but Jay isn't really that kind of emcee. He's got lots of flow, but he's not real strong at that voice-as-instrument thing.

The Youtube caption says something like 'Jay-Z gives Noel Gallagher the metaphorical finger.' What's up with that?
posted by box at 9:58 AM on June 29, 2008


What's up with that?

'I'm sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance,' guitarist Gallagher complained in April. 'Glastonbury has the tradition of guitar music ... I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong.'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on June 29, 2008


Awesome. Thanks, fearfulsymmetry.
posted by box at 10:14 AM on June 29, 2008


Winehouse, however, was less appreciative of Glastonbury’s headline act, the rapper Jay-Z, who she preceded on the Pyramid Stage, announcing that she thought he had “got some front to come here...with tunes you don’t even remember”.

Which, with all respect, si a bit rich from someone who sings in entire muical genres her audience doesn't remember.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2008


WinehouseGate assaulted man comes forward... shock footage
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2008


By the way, did anyone else catch her performance on the Nelson Mandela birthday thingie? Her voice seemed really damaged compared to previous performances (e.g., that Teach Me Tonight video; amazing). I hope it was just a temporary thing and that she'll recover her edge soon. It would be such a shame.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:07 PM on July 1, 2008


Yeah, some of the stuff I saw of her at the Mandela show was painful. At this point she just doesn't pay attention to the lyrics, she just vamps it and makes up new ones. Plus she's suddenly doing a very Santa Claus treatment of "No No No" and "Go Go Go" on Rehab which is weird. Oh, and she needs to stop pulling on her skirts like she has to pee really badly.

But I gotta say, I'd give anything to be in her shoes in this clip because DAMN that looks like like fun. I'd have totally been forming a rockette line with Annie Lennox. (I'm actually impressed she didn't change the lyrics to "Free My Incarcerated Blake!" though.)
posted by miss lynnster at 9:26 PM on July 1, 2008


Russell T Davies says Amy Winehouse would be a brilliant Doctor Who
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on July 8, 2008


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