It was inevitable that the coroner’s report would eventually site alcohol as the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death back in July this year. Alcohol had played its part in the downfall of the chanteuse ever since I first saw the singer wandering the back streets of Camden Town, London like she was white trash. And then her image as ugly drunk and sad junky transmogrified very quickly to ‘troubled’ just because she ceased breathing. It was all change in the media then.
Troubled is not a hat that most drinkers have the luxury of wearing. That kind of headgear is only used to describe drinkers in the arts – when being an inveterate drunk is not only allowable but considered dreadfully cavalier and fashionably rock & roll.
You don’t go down the local pub and sympathise with the volatile alcoholic slumped against the bar victimizing random strangers with a drunken barrage because they seem troubled. They are considered weak, sickening and pathetic. (Especially when they are members of your own family, believe me.)
Amy Winehouse spent most of her famous adult life being heralded for all the wrong reasons. It was only once she pegged it that everyone became an Amy sympathizer. Prior to that most people sat smugly behind their desks entertaining themselves with the ‘hilarious’ images of the blood soaked, out of control, pisshead junky, which probably made them feel a tiny bit better about their grey office jobs.
Anyway, the autopsy results have now been published and revealed that she had an excess of five times the legal driving limit of alcohol in her bloodstream when she ceased to be. Which means 80mg of booze per 100ml of blood. In real terms that equates to about two pints per man. Probably half that for a young woman the size of a matchstick. So, about five pints or so. I imagine most young women who hang around in London’s oh so fashionable Camden Town (so trendy, even people who work for MTV and who present youth programs and their entourage of hangers on are often found drinking there!) and binge drink regularly, much like Amy did, are generally five times the legal limit for alcohol.
Amy’s death, that everyone likes to call ‘untimely’, perhaps because she wasn’t due to die for another six months, was a fitting end to young woman who had been flirting outrageously with death for several years. Her young mind and lack of bloated ego were no match for the despicable fame machine and unprincipled media. People like Lady Gaga and Madonna are born to be famous. They counter their inadequacies by demanding attention for themselves in other ways. Beseeching us – total strangers – to adore them. Winehouse didn’t crave fame. She wanted to go drinking down her local London pub with her friends and go shopping at Top Shop. She wasn’t cut out for fame. And it was fame and its henchmen that killed her.
Winehouse’s father, seems to be prospering from the passage of his daughter, and has recently signed a book deal. What with his singing career that was launched off Amy’s back, the tax-free Amy Winehouse Foundation and the book deal, he seems to be doing perfectly well without her. And that’s without the rest of her £10million estate.
I wonder how many people have given up drinking after seeing the effect it had one one woman? Sadly, not enough… if any.
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Images: last.fm, montreal gazette.