Gary Steel is obviously a heartless bastard.
Why all the fuss and bother about another avoidable, yet inevitable, and very stupid junkie/celebrity death?
All day I’ve been besieged with friends, and friends of friends (and Facebook friends) expressing their grief about the demise of poor, dear Amy.
Of course it’s sad, and maybe those close to her will have a lot of grieving to do. Or maybe they already did their grieving, when it became obvious that she was a living train-wreck, and that the probability of her untimely end was beyond question.
But why should I care? Let me count the ways I don’t care:
1) Artistically, Amy Winehouse will, at best, be a footnote. She had a distinctive voice that was at odds with her diminutive size. Big deal. What she did with that voice was eulogise the past, creating a ready-made composite of soul and jazz style tics that was merely a big gesture gimmick. While it could be argued that her music articulated something of the joy of her influences – which goes some way to explain her popularity with her peers who hadn’t experienced the eras she so shamelessly cribbed – she only made one album that was notable in any way. One album. And that album did nothing except wallow in nostalgia. It was a blip on the scanner, a novelty. Compare this to others from the ‘dead at 27 club’, like Hendrix (who gave the world multiple albums of still unmatched guitar greatness) or Janis Joplin (whose heroin death was a genuine tragedy, at a time when people were far less cogniscent of the impact of hard drugs).
2) Even on that album, both her behaviour, general persona, and even the songs – ‘Rehab’ being the crowning example – exemplified and celebrated the art of being wasted, the supposed coolness of addiction. While sympathetic to what was obviously a serious addiction – or perhaps an addictive personality – I’m more concerned for those many thousands who were consciously or subconsciously influenced by the singer’s promotional attitude. I’ve known junkies who were at least honest about their problems, and concerned that others should follow them down that dark tunnel of addiction. Winehouse clearly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that. So, why would I give a rat’s ass about her?
3) Winehouse was a tragic personality with a tragic end, but she was no innocent. Why are so many crying over the inevitable end – an end that she brought on herself by failing to shoulder any responsibility for her plight – when there are genuine tragedies, like the gunning of innocent people in Oslo, playing out all around us.
No, I won’t be mourning Amy Winehouse, or giving it even another passing thought. There are more pressing concerns in life. Celebrity culture, you have a lot to answer for.