Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ode to Amy Winehouse...

Amy Winhouse is the only celebrity I follow.

The interest started innocently. Someone mentioned her and I remembered the name. I saw her in an issue of Rolling Stone. I looked her up and listened to "Rehab". Catchy ditty. Retro stylings. I listened to a few more tunes. I liked her. I was pro-Amy Winehouse and I didn't know a thing about her other than the music.

The media coverage kicked in a month or so later. She wasn't just a singer. She was a problem. A big problem. Married or engaged in some kind of co-dependent death spiral relationship. Glug-a-lug-lug drinking. Drugs. Weirdness.

Amy Winehouse is freakshow perfection.

Disappointed that the nifty little singer was a Problem? Not really. I like it. The world is a freakshow, I reason. You might as well fill the stage with interesting freaks. Outlandish crazies. Dangerous personalities. I'm one of the few fans of the music who isn't praying for Amy to settle down. I don't necessarily want her to fix up her life and "go straight". It may sound cruel, but I like my Amy Winehouse snorting vodka through her nose, getting into altercations half-dressed and looking like a George Romero zombie, and otherwise going Rock Star.

A pause of conscience here. I suppose that it would probably be a better thing for Amy Winehouse, those close to her and malleable little minds who take their cues from her behavior if she'd come to her senses, dry up and become a solid citizen. It would be a good thing if Amy Winehouse exorcised whatever inner demons curse her. Deep down inside, I do want her to be a happy, well-adjusted gal. Even if it means real rehab and a cessation of high-stakes drinking games.

Let's put that aside, though.

It's a lot more fun for me as a grown man in Kansas to have some crazy British bitch running around, looking like shit, puking on people's feet and otherwise living a punk rock fantasy with an old-school R&B soundtrack.

I love ugly Amy Winehouse. I love the beehive. You know it smells like a cross of Kool-smoked urinal pucks and a grandma's dusty basement close to the scalp. I dig the black magic marker eyeliner. I like the pants hanging off the flat, white, near-death ass. I like the risk of chaos. The promise of violence. The potential for destruction (self and otherwise).

When I first heard "Rehab", I didn't take it on its face. I initially considered it a tongue-in-cheek number that not-so-slyly advocated a little partying. That's a pop music tradition and I didn't hear anything groundbreaking. I started thinking that there might be a feminist subtext in the lyrics. You know, it's really all about a woman tellling authority figures that they don't necessarily know what's best for her and that they have no standing to control her actions.

I liked the song under either interpretation. When I realized it was biography, I liked it even more. Amy Winehouse is hellbent on complete ruin, living a fantasy of excess, jumping from party to party to who-the-hell-knows-what with little or no consideration that the last jump ends on a morgue slab. It's vapid, stupid, in-the-moment, hedonism.

Amy Winehouse is throwback rockstar.

I can't do that myself. Even when I lived a life unfettered by adulthood and responsibility, I couldn't let myself go that much. Even when I wanted to, I couldn't pull the trigger on complete and utter recklessness. I feared little things like permanent physiological damage, addiction and death. In my mind, Amy Winehouse doesn't give a fuck. She's full speed ahead. That's good. I give the mindset a thumbs-up.

Amy Winehouse is anarchy without conscience. She's self-contained self-destruction. She's like a suicide bomber without a cause who swallowed the fucking bomb along with a fistful of illegally-obtained prescription drugs.

She's the only gossip-column target I follow. I check in on her every week or so, hoping to find some new transgression. I want to read about the night Amy Winehouse wandered into Nuevo Laredo's Boystown and did the donkey show herself after snorting coke off a campesino's cock and drinking three bottles of gin. I want to see her in the street at 4 a.m., looking mean ugly and as if she has absolutely no idea where she is, why she's there or how in the hell she's going to get back to where she probably should be. I love Amy Winehouse.

She's the girl who flips off the kid at Burger King when the Whopper has too much ketchup on it, right before hurling the condiment-rich bun in the fucker's face. She's the one who's ready to beat the crap out of a stranger for looking at her the wrong way. Amy Winehouse doesn't let little things like rules, laws, expectations, or society stand in the way of her good time, even if it's actually a miserable time. It's her time. That's good stuff, kids.

Back to reality.

Amy Winehouse is probably a decent enough young woman who happens to suffer from a chemical imbalance, a few addictions, and some other diagnosable malady. Her parents probably did something horrible at some point. She probably isn't happy. Snorting vodka may be a cry for help or a show for attention because she feels really stuck in a very bad place. It might just be that charting a personal course for doom and destruction fills one more with dread than excitement.

I'm not interested in the reality.

I'm interested in the next big stunt. I want more rock star. I want bigger beehives, more eyeliner, more "I fell down because I did 26 different illicit substances last week" bruises. i want more coverage of every ugly night and stupid decision.

I want them to keep telling her to go to rehab.

I hope she keeps saying, "no, no, no".

Sick but true. Sort of. I'm conflicted. You know what I mean.

Amy Winehouse is a beautiful meltdown. When Chilean midgets copy your look and lip-synch your tunes, you are perfect.


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1 comment:

  1. I like Amy, too, John. I also happen to like that song. For all the same reasons. It's self-destructive, of course. But it is her life. And, even if its a stupid course she's chosen for herself, it's a course for her to get figured out, I agree.

    I've started to take that attitude with my kids, lately. If they want the stupid course, it's not up to me to stop them, necessarily. Just while they're at school lately. I can try to persuade them to be more responsible. But, ultimately, it is their life to lead and their choices to make. And I respect that more, today, even as it doubles my own efforts to be a decent role model for my own kids so hopefully I'll have less bullshit to deal with in their teen years, especially.

    For many kids and people, it's a sad, self-fulfilling prophecy. And I just try to be the voice in their heads that says, "You might want to think twice about that." Lately, I've been more of a hardass because I get tired of getting treated like shit by kids. But I need to let up, I think, and remember that it's not my life, as much as I wish they would lead it more responsibly. I didn't take a straight route to responsible adulthood, and neither will they. And being a dick about it isn't going to make anything better.

    Plus the girl can wail? Have you heard her other stuff, dude? She's got a voice. It's impressive. Good luck to her.