AMY

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“I fell in love with someone who I would have died for. And that’s like a real drug, isn’t it?” – Amy Winehouse

Amy’s death was one of those cultural events – like the passing of Whitney Houston and Ginger Spice fleeing the nest – where you turn to each other in conversation and ask, ‘Where were you when it happened?’

I was packing up my tiny room at university to come home for good after three years of partying, busying myself with being upset about the break up I was in the midst of, the prospect of graduating with no job and the fact that I was waving goodbye to my last dose of freedom. To make things worse, I had already taken my laptop home so only had the fat-stained kitchen radio to entertain me as I piled up boxes and packed away memories.

I was pulling down posters and half listening to Radio 1 when the music stopped. Amy Winehouse was dead.

I called out to my housemates about the news and one of them called back, ‘So what? She’s a crack whore.’

Well housemate, who I actually happen to love dearly, please watch this film. I think – in fact I know – that you and everyone else who took this view will change your minds. Casting aside the beehive which looks like a nightmare to maintain, the tattoos, drugs and celebrity status, she was just a 27 year old girl who couldn’t cope with the pressure of sky-rocketing to success. I’m not sure I could handle it either if i’m honest; my twenties have been tough enough without all the trimmings so I, no doubt, would have curled up into a ball and cried. Amy dealt with it in the only way she knew how: to self destruct.

I didn’t expect the film to tell me anything I didn’t know to be honest and I wasn’t sure how the making of it sat with me morally, but I needed a distraction last night and it came in the form of this. As I sat in my comfy chair however, with a share bag of Minstrels and a bottle of water, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat uncomfortable. Why were we all here? Why had we all bought tickets to this? To watch a young girl’s slow demise into death whilst eating sugary snacks? Basically, yes. It was a form of twisted entertainment to fill an otherwise empty Monday evening. Humans are strange, I thought.

But then, around three minutes in, I understood it. I got lost in her story. Her huge eyes. Her changing appearance. Her journey into drug addiction. Her wish to be left alone. The biopic wasn’t intended to flatter Amy, nor was it dishing out airs and graces in that wonderful, omniscient state of retrospect. It was simple, real and fair.

I was interested to see how Blake Fielder, her ex-husband, was going to be portrayed. I think we all were. In truth, it seemed as though she was a little bit obsessed with him, which is how love should be. Or at least how I think it should be. All-consuming. Can’t live without each other. So I wouldn’t blame Blake and I wouldn’t blame Amy. She just fell hard. Arguably a lot harder than him.

As for her family and friends, her dad doesn’t come off in the best light. Seeming to only rear his paternal head when money was involved or there was a camera watching, he missed all of the signs that his daughter was about to implode, despite them being crystal clear and staring him in the face for years. Her friends, on the other hand, were clearly dying to stop her dying.

But more than just satisfying my peanut crunching need to know about her personal life, the film taught me something important: it taught me about her very real influence on creative music.

And this is where I feel the need to apologise.

Although I have been a fan of Amy since the glory days of T4 on a Sunday morning, I questioned her status as a legend. I was led to believe that she didn’t write her own music and that her image stemmed from a dream that was constructed by Mark Ronson. Turns out, that information about her was wrong too. She wrote her own lyrics – or poetry as she called it –  drawn from a place of pain, obsession and love. And her image? A by-product of her environment. Or perhaps just another creative outlet. Either way, it was all her.

Her bodyguard said something in the film that has stuck with me: “This was someone who was trying to disappear.” And I believe it. Physically, she was trying to make herself smaller and smaller and mentally, she was taking whatever she could to escape the paparazzi and her own reality.

Well, Amy, you have your wish. You are gone now, but unfortunately, not forgotten.

The Library

Okay, so I’m in the depths of revision/essay/third year hell and thought I’d take another trip to the library today in order to relieve this stress and get lots of work done. However, as my concentration dwindled this afternoon, I began to notice things about the London library.

London libraries invite everyone inside, making for some sort of mad hatter’s tea part or something. Without wanting to sound too elitist, it seems as though all the people of London who have no one to talk to, come to the library, a place to study IN SILENCE, to talk to people. It really is beyond me. There’s always some nutter asking the librarian lots of utterly pointless questions, gaining everyone’s attention as they peer from behind their desk lamps, pretending to be absorbed in whatever it is they’re reading. There’s always a group of cackling GCSE or A Level students in hysterics over dropping a pen or flirting with eachother over Chaucer. There is always a fittie reading some romantic novel making him seem even more attractive due to his intelligence… actually that I am not complaining about. Distractions are welcome in this case.

A distraction that is not welcome, is the ruffling of newspapers. It really irritates me when people come to the library to read the newspaper. I will never understand this. Why would one choose to sit on a hard wooden chair in partial darkness and in a cold room (because libraries, for some reason, are always cold) to read the morning paper? Go and BUY a newspaper for 30p and enjoy it in your own living room. Or coffee shop. Or anywhere but here. You are taking up valuable study space.

However, despite all these issues with my local library, I still don’t know which library I prefer: the university library or the London Library. I mean, the London library has easy access to ameneties such as Starbucks and Pret but at least university libraries have wifi access! Maybe it’s just Fulham that is stuck in the dark ages but all they provide are four computers for the public. Four. That’s incredibly helpful isn’t it. On the other hand though, university libraries are tedious because everyone who goes there to study is there to be looked at. They’re all like ‘ooohh i’m studying. I’m going to do better than you because I’ve been here for five hours already and you’ve only just arrived.’ No you won’t. I do English and you do Maths. They’re completely unrelated. Pillock.

Not only that, people actually dress up for the library. I’ve been informed it isn’t just Exeter that upholds this rule of compulsory eyeliner and a fit pair of leggings whilst studying, it happens at Nottingham and Durham too. And probably everywhere else for that matter. The thing that annoys me the most? I uphold this tradition and I don’t even know why!!

My concern centered around study space only goes to show how boring my life is. So much for 2011 being eventful eh!