Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Black is the new Black.

Was listening to the radio last night. A balmy evening with street sounds drifting in through my open bedroom window. Amy Winehouse's voice came drifting from the gently vibrating speaker. The song she recorded with Tony Bennett. Body and Soul. A dedication to a smokey kind of love. Lovely song. It was sadly a reminder that there would be no new recordings from that frankly amazing woman. That a powerful humanely soulful voice was lost to the world when she passed away. I put on Back to Black and one of the tracks that holds special meaning for me. OVER FUTILE ODDS AND LAUGHED AT BY THE GODS.  AND NOW THE FINAL FRAME,LOVE IS A LOSING GAME. Oh,the lovely Amy. If she only knew just how beautiful she was. A luminous talent that struck like lightning. A flash of raw primal energy that flared all too briefly, illuminating everything in sight before the dark closed in. If you have never believed in demons then just what was it that assailed this complex and fragile young woman. I do not know nor understand the decisions and events that may have driven her down a road best not traveled. I just marveled at her immense talent and the genius wrapped up in her recorded output. And the dizzy spell cast by her on form live appearances. And that singing voice. My god, that heaven sent voice.Was there ever a songstress who managed to convey through her vocals and the way she used them to show her understanding of the dangers that come with daring to love the big love. The 3rd or 4th time I listened to her second album and masterpiece Back To black I truly believed I was listening to one of the finest albums ever recorded. That nothing I ever heard so captured what it is to be an adult and believe yourself to be in love. Young love is celebrated widely and ultimately falsely. Grown up love is not always something worth singing about as it is close to madness. Few performers inhabit the world they sing about the way Amy did. Like a diver swimming with sharks who does not use a cage. Few performers are able to look the world in the eye, wink and tell it I TOLD YOU I WAS NO GOOD. All that wistful longing, the great sadness and joy, the masochism of heartache, the narcissism of need.
             Her work seems so impossibly fresh and alive it is hard to remember she is not. Yet that is the awful truth. Twenty seven years. It was not a long life. Filled with as many ups and downs as it is possible to imagine in a lifetime. I then watched I TOLD YOU I WAS NO GOOD. A DVD recording of one of her live appearances on stage in London. The whole thing is just electrifying. So many highs. I love Hey Little Rich Girl. I see and hear a great unmade kitchen sink English drama that just breaks your heart but in her hands also makes you want to dance. It is like a finger with a broken painted finger nail pointing at a dying sunflower turning one last time to catch the rays of the rising sun on its face. We are all desperately hoping to feel that familiar warmth on our faces, to remember what it is to be young and alive. To energize our lives and lift them out of the mundane and the ordinary. As Amy managed to do on so many occasions.
               But maybe there is a price to be paid for catching those rays of light and trying to hold on to them. The brightness blinds you to the pitfalls of this life. The tragedy is that the bright lights never look brighter than when we are falling into the darkest of places.