I have no doubt that you’ve heard the news already. Of course, something like this travels fast across the tangled web of the Internet. Twitter lights up with fans expressing their grief, Facebook goes into overdrive with fan pages and memorials, bloggers start tapping away with gushing emotion… And I join the outpouring.
I hope you like metaphorical posts, because that’s the way I plan to do this.
I was a little late to the Winehouse party. A good friend of mine who knows I love house parties invited me along, suggesting that the music was something a little different, and that people really loved it.
So while I don’t normally like that kind of popular music, I was actually really impressed to hear it when I got there. It was a great mix of blues, soul and jazz with a modern twist, and I found myself dancing along to it. It was a really great house, quite beautiful. The whole place was packed with original style and the owner seemed to have a lot of pride in the place.
It was packed with all kinds of people, old and young, alternative and mainstream. I guess I was having a great time for the first hour or so, meeting new people and checking the place out. But then I started to look around and realized that something wasn’t quite right.
There were a couple of kids throwing up on the balcony. When I went to the bathroom I squeezed past a stumbling young guy to get in and there was a sheen of white powder across the wash basin. In the hall a couple were getting far too friendly while others walked around them. Outside the front door a young couple were screaming at each other, yelling obscenities and slapping each other while the neighbors looked on in disgust.
Then something happened to the CD player, and the music started to jump. It sounded so terrible and everyone who had been dancing and having a great time gave up and took a seat. A few people tried to fix it, but after another hour it was obvious that whatever they were doing was just making it worse. It was really bad, you couldn’t understand the lyrics and although the music seemed to make sense, the energy had gone.
People started to leave. Every time another bottle smashed or another person fell unconscious the numbers thinned out. But a few stuck around and kept on listening to the stereo even though the music was impossible to appreciate. I guess they’d never heard such music before and were not quite ready to let it go just yet.
That’s when I left. I had the music playing in my head, and I really didn’t want to ruin what had otherwise been a good night. It was so sad to see the house being trashed in front of me and hear that music becoming nothing more than a horrid noise.
What had been a beautiful home had become little more than a crack house. There were a few people who were trying to stop the destruction, but it seemed futile. As I walked out the door I knew the party would be raided and closed down pretty soon, and I didn’t want to be there. Plenty of people I talked to as we were leaving thought the house might even be totally destroyed; it was so out of control it was more like a riot than a party.
In conclusion, the party started great. But soon it became clear that it was out of control. I think we all knew that it would end in a mess, we just hoped that maybe it would calm down and could carry on.
Ultimately, Amy Winehouse was an adult, capable of making her own decisions and responsible for her own health. While it is probably right to feel sad that such talent was lost, do we celebrate recklessness and addiction in any other aspect of life? I believe we should mourn, but with a certain perspective – just as we mourned the death of Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe.