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Posted by sarahbol on 11 April 2008 - 09:13 AM
Posted by Uno on 10 June 2014 - 03:33 PM
Affection, Addiction, Affliction, and Amy
Posted at July 29, 2011 | By : mattypowell
On Saturday, July 23rd, Amy Winehouse was found dead at her Camden home. Details seem ambiguous, presumptions are rife, and people’s opinions bipolar.
I met Amy in December 2008. Fresh out of a 3 month stint in rehab she had been clean for the previous 6 weeks (rehab, like prison, has it’s blind eyes) and had come to St Lucia because a.) she loved the island after honeymooning there the previous year, and b.) her record company wanted her to bypass Camden and be somewhere more containable. The all-inclusive BodyHoliday resort might therefore be somewhere she could soak up some sun and practice new constructive habits.
Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing, of course the media made ridiculous stories out of tittle tattle and fabricated events, and, of course, Amy didn’t help herself nor did she care a jot about any media. Amy had a bubble; if you were in it then there was nothing she would not do for you, no length she would not go. If you were not in it then you weren’t real, you were just another being on the same bit of rock probably staring or asking for a photo. There was no middle ground.
Fortunately, strangely, unbelievably I was inside the bubble.
2 days before Christmas I was meeting and greeting guests in the Piano bar, everyone ready for dinner in their dresses or short sleeved shirts and trousers. Clad in denim shorts cut as high as can be and a bikini top, a diminutive figure raced in. After she ordered a drink she looked around and I could feel her gaze as I pretended not to care she was standing a few feet away. Breaking into my conversation she announced, “You’re fit. What’s your name?”
“I’m Matthew. What’s yours?”
She shook my hand, saw my pathetic insincerity and walked away.
The following evening was the Christmas Eve cocktail event around the pool of the Wellness centre. A band was hired, the whole resort adorned their finery and everyone stood around making small talk and enjoying some pre-dinner cocktails and champagne. Amy arrived with her best friend, they both spent much of the time trying to persuade the staff to get them lights for their cigarettes. It was a non smoking area, a non smoking resort, and we were in the wellness centre. You had to laugh and, weakly, accommodate. Predictably no-one was making small talk any longer, all eyes were on her and it wasn’t long before she was asked to sing with the band. All staff had been told to ask guests not to take pictures of Amy, that they could go and ask, but otherwise respect her privacy when she was simply holidaying. This was clearly now impossible.
The band were due to finish at 8. At 9 they finally stopped but Amy was having fun singing to Lance, the lead singer, whilst ignoring the gaze of the guests. We tried to usher people down to dinner but they were far happier listening. When there was no pianist however, Amy hit the ivories solo style and it wasn’t pretty. Trying to prevent a deluge of pictures and mpegs making their way to the papers I tried to persuade Amy away from the mic and piano.
“Can I top you up Miss?”
“Yeah go on then darlin’,” moves to the mic and says in a deep, comedy voice, “he’s fit”.
“Come over here to the bar then” I cunningly retort, walking away.
The champagne glass missed my head by inches. “If you want me to stop singing just fucking say you fucking nonce”…she shouts into the mic. She had seen right through my poor attempt at guile. Well done Matthew.
Then came Christmas Day. At The BodyHoliday Santa would arrive onto the beach to give presents out to guests, and each year had to be different to the last. They had done wakeboarding Santa, scuba Santa, horseback Santa etc, so I had had the idea of an “Anti BodyHoliday” Santa to arrive, drunk, shouting, dirty and dishevelled, before the epitome of BodyHoliday Santa arrive on a throne, carried by buff, Caribbean men and flanked by beautiful, Caribbean elves. I was to be the Drunk Santa.
It wasn’t a stretch. After being abused in front of the whole resort the previous night I had gone out, got royally drunk, and had returned to my onsite premises 3 hours earlier. I hit the beach, filthy santa suit on and bottle of Jack in my hand, and proceeded to scream a volley of incoherent welcomes to the guests. The plan was for me to get half way down the beach before one of our larger staff members, dressed in security clothes, ushered me off forcibly. The waves were huge that day. Walking in the wake I got slammed. That sobered me up. I recovered to continue down the beach but my drunken clumsiness had caught Amy’s eye as my start point was a few feet away from her villa. By the time security came to usher me off, I had Amy in tow. Literally. She was hanging onto my soaked Santa cloak wailing that she loved Drunk Santa and that I should be allowed to stay.
I exited stage left and she followed. Oblivious to the previous night’s events she was charm personified.
I hung out with her for the rest of the day. In an hour we were piggybacking around the tennis courts, having hand stand competitions and there I was, surreally sat on an Indian Temple in the middle of a Caribbean lake, listening to Amy’s account of drugs, addiction, marriage to Blake and that “fucking song” (Rehab). I had 2 thoughts.
1. My friends are NEVER going to believe this, and
2. I, Matthew Powell will be the one to “fix” this troubled soul.
My friends didn’t have to believe it, I was pictured in The Sun chatting to Amy on the beach shortly after I’d disrobed as Santa. As for fixing her, it was my pure arrogance of self. Plenty of very well paid, extremely well qualified, and vastly more intelligent people than I had failed. But I’m a man, and I suffer accordingly
But that was it. I was in the bubble. We hung out, whether I liked it or not, almost every day for the next 3 months. Tiring wasn’t the word. Amy never sat still, never shut up, never stopped wanting your attention and never gave a monkeys about who was looking at her. She wasn’t taking class A’s, I am wily enough to recognise the physiological effects, and she was looking healthier each week that passed. She had her moods, she also had a temper like I had never seen, but it was only ever directed at her friends, staff or whoever she thought were upsetting her friends and staff. Her altercations with other guests were solely because these guests has upset her friends. Our core clientele at that time of year were 40-60 years of age and multi-returner families and a few of them were not going to keep their powder dry. They let her group know when they thought them overly boisterous. My word did she let them have it. You could abuse her, she’d just tell you to fuck off, but you abuse her friends and she would turn into London Gangsta number 1.
And therin lay the Jekyll and Hyde. For the most part Amy was a thumb sucking, attention craving, fun loving child. But she could turn. One minute she was charming, saccharine even, vulnerable and wanting your approval; when you showed disapproval, when you didn’t let her do what she wanted, she would curl her lip and walk with her shoulders rounded with faux aggression. It was all an act.
I nicknamed her Danny Zuko as she flitted between the nice guy longing for the All-Americal gal, and the T-birds, too cool for school hard guy. Whenever she put this act on I’d ask, “What’s happening Danny?”, and her face would light up.
She signed up for the health & lifestyle programme I was running on resort, mostly as a way of hanging out I think as she was always disappointed to bound into the gym or mid consultation full of energy and stories to tell only to be told I was working and that I’d see her later. I couldn’t just hang out though, I was being paid, by her and the resort, to improve people’s health, wellbeing and lives in general. And remember, I was going to “fix” her.
Who am I, Chris Martin? Honestly!
Much of the programme was consultation based. Talking through stressors in life and how to cope with or eliminate them; working through nutrition plans; introducing or refining fitness regimes and improving posture. Getting Amy to sit down was never going to happen, try as I might, but I’d worked out that I could chat with her whilst she was moving. So I put her on the exercise bike. 40 mins a day – 20 in the morning, 20 in the late afternoon, we’d talk through issues whilst she pedalled erratically. It was a coping strategy a parent would employ with a child. It was tricking her into exercise and into sitting in one place for long enough that we could stay on the same topic for longer than 2 mins.
We discussed drugs. I would quiz her on how she got into them, why she got into them and what she now felt about them. There was no look or tone of nostalgia in her concise yet eminently coherent answers, only that of dismissive disgust and disdain. She hated them, hated what she had become on them, and was terrified in the knowledge that a return to them would be the end of her life. She didn’t preach like a born again Christian who’d seen the light of the righteous path, she didn’t dole out the platitudes of rehabilitation centres or psychologists. She was matter of fact. Drugs had got her, she was doing everything she could to release their grip, and every second of every day was about trying to not think about them.
Messing Around After A Gym Session
And so it went on. Twice a day, every day we’d meet to work. After the bike we’d stretch, she loved to show off her flexibility and told me time and time again that she used to be a dancer, that she was really just a backing singer / dancer at heart and that it was other people who made her sing on her own. She would come down to my Spin class at 7am to watch. I could tell because the class in front of me would, all at once, switch off completely to my bad jokes and motivational clichés and be transfixed to a focal point behind me. I would turn, she would wave with the hand not having its thumb sucked, and I would try and say something over the mic to embarrass her.
One day I added one of her tracks to my playlist. It was the 4th track in, she had usually had her morning spliff by then and would be watching intently. The beat came in, I smiled and looked behind, Amy was walking out of the room, her hand high making a “tosser” sign. She was so sharp, and so blunt, and once again she was walking off having seen through my lameness. During breakfast after the class I sat with her, she called me some names for embarrassing her; we were now mates, taking pleasure in winding each other up. I knew she became uncomfortable whenever her music was played, but the music was sung by Amy Winehouse, not Ames who sat in front of me. Paradox, paradox, paradox.
My finest hour training Amy was on the tennis court. It was away from the other guests, too hot at midday for anyone in their right mind to be out other than the usual mad dogs and Englishmen (and us). I again played a game to entice her into obedience – I’ll answer questions or we can talk about whatever you want or we can have lunch later etc if you do this exercise first. I would throw tennis balls in the air for her to catch. If she dropped them she would have to do 10 lunges or 20 press ups or 5 sprints etc. I soon realised that throwing them up in the air was pointless – this girl had skills. Bar none Amy Winehouse could catch and throw better than any girl I have ever met, and better than most of the cricketing men I have played with! It was akin to watching a girl perform keepy-uppies. I was in awe. She barely dropped one, right hand or left, and would “wing” them back at me quicker than I was throwing them at her. Amazing. “It’s my bruvva; we used to play with a baseball and mitt for hours”. I knew she could sing, I kinda expected that to impress me, but this… Boy!
The next day the tabloids ran a story of drunken excess and a return to the demons of drugs. I was incandescent with anger. When I saw her I asked how she was. She was fine. I asked if she’d read the papers, she told me Tottenham had drawn with Arsenal 0-0.
Amy left in March, and it was sad to see her go. With Violetta she had arrived as a British holiday maker intent on getting drunk and enjoying herself. They left as Lucians, part of the island, residents not tourists, and friends of us all. I had never asked her to sign stuff, to have pictures taken with her, it would have been cheap to start with and later on it would have been weird – you don’t ask your mates for pictures. But on her last day I did, we took ourselves off, messed about doing handstands to commemorate our “first date”, and I was fairly emotional to say goodbye. I told her that I would one day see her again at Glastonbury, that I would have a massive banner declaring, “Drunk Santa Still luvs ya Ames”, but that she’d ignore it. She cried, told me I was a c**t for thinking that, and then later laughed as she told me that if she did see me at Glastonbury she would tell the driver to splash me.
Amy epitomised paradox; the reluctant hero. She craved attention from the people around her but hated the public’s gaze. She shunned the limelight, but sang the songs because she wanted to make her loved ones happy. She was a little girl – meek, shy, and giggly, and a violently tempestuous woman with a mouth to make sailors weep – all at the same time.
I thought her someone who had lost control, had deferred her life to others but, in moments of clarity, craved her own direction. She wanted to be a dancer and a backing singer, she doubted her talent, was humble about her abilities and was always incredulous at people’s fascination with her. She could be in the foulest of moods and yet, as we walked from the clubhouse to the gym, would be asked 10 times for a picture and would retort with believable happiness, “Of course darlin’”, put her arm around the person and smile. I never once saw her refuse a picture, and they were so numerous, and it wasn’t long after meeting her that I used to get angry with guests for taking surreptitious pictures when she was only too accommodating to have them taken with anyone.
I can’t comment on the addictions of Amy Winehouse; I’m not an addiction counsellor, I haven’t seen much of it first hand and so it would be basket psychology from me. What I do know however is that if someone has lost control of their life, if someone craves the attention and affection of the people she loves but has her need rebuffed, if every flaw of this fragile soul is borne out in ever increasing column inches, if someone is introduced to, has unlimited access to and runs in circles of drugs, then there really can be only one outcome. That person’s ongoing relationship with drugs is dependant on their innate personality, but to those who have shouted down her apologists by saying that she had a choice every time she took a line, before every hit, then you must also condemn every bulimic, every smoker, every anorexic, every obsessive compulsive that you know. And if you think you don’t know any of the above then you are mistaken.
I spoke to Amy in the week before she passed. I’m not pretending I spoke to her much, maybe every 6 weeks or so when we were on Skype at the same time, but she seemed calm, or calmer. I asked if there was anything wrong, strange given to all intents and purposes she was more “normal”. She said that she was just chilling. “You’re chilling? You?”
“Yeah Matty, me”.
She was cool, horny as she always was but cool with it. Sharp enough to deliberately get my girlfriend’s name wrong with a smirk on her face, she always had called her Shelly instead of Lenny; retentive enough to ask about the insecurities that only my closest friends know about, and caring enough to re-assure, to dismiss the folly and futility in them. She was witty enough to ask the same thing she’d ask every day when we trained, now 2 years past, the question that had become our in-joke and had become a throw away nod to a time once spent in the heat of St Lucia. She seemed fit, she seemed well.
The world knows what we lost to music last Saturday, and it’s a terrible shame. What I know a little of, what her close friends know so much more painfully, is that a girl who’d lost her way will now never find the path that she was once set on. A fragile, sensitive, loving to the last and protective to the core human being, was found dead in her North London home. It breaks my heart, brings tears to my eyes to re-read those words over and over, and all I have been able to say about the matter in response people’s condolences is, “poor, poor luv”.
Someone died on Saturday who touched my life, she left my life richer for knowing her, and I am so much poorer now she is gone. It doesn’t matter who she was, she was the same as everyone else, she was someone who loved and was loved.
Rest in Peace Danny Zuko.
Drunk Santa and Danny Zuko's Last Day Together, a Hiding Place From the Outside World
Posted by Cecilia on 23 July 2014 - 10:40 PM
Naomi was Amy's friend and stylist. She did this interview about Amy and Bulimia with Cosmopolitan to help raise awareness of eating disorders, which is really great of her imo. Anyway, here's the Interview:
I Tried to Save Amy Winehouse from Bulimia
23 July 2014 by Cosmopolitan
Naomi Parry, 28, was one of Amy Winehouse's closest friends. On the third anniversary of Amy’s tragic death, Naomi talks about the friend she dearly loved and why she’s supporting our partnership with eating disorder charity beat
When singer Amy Winehouse died at just 27, the papers immediately drew one conclusion –that she’d died after a ‘drink and drugs binge’ or ‘suspected drug overdose’. An inquest found that she’d died of alcohol poisoning, after a binge that followed weeks without a drink. But those close to her knew there was another addiction Amy struggled with – one that, they say, also played a part in her death.
“I met Amy 10 years ago,” says Naomi. “It was just after the release of her debut album, Frank. I was out in London’s Soho, and so was Amy. My friend liked the look of her friend, so he sent them some drinks. They came over to talk to us and, as they flirted, Amy and I just clicked – we bonded over backcombing. “From the start, she was a bit restrictive with food, but as I hadn’t been exposed to an eating disorder before, I didn’t put it down to that at first. Even when I realised she had bulimia, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her about it. It was something we just didn’t discuss.”
Naomi quickly became part of Amy’s circle – but, from the start, she was worried. “Amy had a beautiful, healthy body. But she soon became a shadow of her former self. When Frank came out, she was curvier and got a lot of stick for being ‘fat’. She wasn’t; she looked great. But if you’re thrown into the public eye and are already worrying about your weight, it’s going to be a huge factor.”
Staying in Control
Naomi was a stylist and eventually they worked together. Like many sufferers of eating disorders, Amy was a high achiever – claiming to have cancelled gigs because she was such a perfectionist – and Naomi believes the bulimia stemmed from a need for control.
“Eating disorders aren’t just about how you look,” she observes. “I think Amy started to lose control in other aspects of her life, which led her to control her eating instead. Of course, that doesn’t just go with being famous: anybody can feel like that, and anything can trigger an eating disorder. The irony is, when you have such an illness, you actually lose control.
“I don’t think sufferers realise the damage eating disorders can do to their health – particularly one like bulimia, ‡ which puts pressure on your organs. I don’t think Amy had any idea it could do just as much damage, if not more, than drinking. I didn’t.”
How to Help
Watching someone with an eating disorder can be terrifying, which is why Naomi wants to raise awareness of Beat, Cosmo’s partner charity [link to B-eat.co.uk]. Beat is committed to helping sufferers and their friends and families.
“Seeing someone in the grip of an eating disorder can make you feel powerless,” says Naomi. “I moved in with Amy for five months, hoping to be a good influence. But how do you approach someone who doesn’t want to talk about it? How do you deal with it?
“I never forced her to eat. I tried to be healthy, lead by example and hope she’d take it on board. I introduced Amy to scrambled eggs and avocado. I’d cook breakfast and encourage her to eat it.
“I’d never say, ‘You need to eat this,’ or chastise her when she ate certain things, like sweets, which I knew she wouldn’t keep down. If you shout at someone with an eating disorder, or tell them what to do, you’re trying to take the control away from them. It won’t work.
“You couldn’t force anything on Amy anyway: she was her own woman, very strong-minded. She didn’t want anybody to think there was anything she wasn’t in control of. In the end, I decided to try to tackle it by letter. I couldn’t say what I needed to face-to-face but, if I wrote it down, she could feel angry or upset, then re-read and digest it. I spent hours writing it – I wanted to make sure everything I needed to say was there: telling her I recognised she was ill and that if she wanted to talk about it I’d be there.
“I left the letter for her to find and, although she didn’t say anything about it, there was a slight change. It didn’t last long, but it hit home a bit. I just had to keep plugging away gently, rather than going in all guns blazing.”
Publicly, Amy was widely perceived to be a reckless genius with an addictive personality, whose fame led to her self-destruction. But, to her friends, she was just Amy – down-to-earth, funny and fiercely loyal.
“For me, ‘Amy Winehouse’ is like a fictional character,” Naomi says. “Amy is the woman who ran around in jogging bottoms, with her hair undone and no makeup. We used to have movie nights, and she loved to cook – right up until her final days she’d cook for everybody. She was really warm and nurturing.
“She was one of the most amazing, inspirational people I’ve ever met. Not in terms of what she achieved, but how she was as a person. It didn’t matter where you came from, or how rich or famous you were, she’d speak to everybody the same way.
“She was hilarious too – the quickest person I’ve ever met. Even with all the traumatic shit going on in her life, she’d still bend over backwards for other people. She had the opportunity to hang out with the biggest A-listers in the world – but she always chose her friends.”
Despite the efforts of worried friends and family, on 23 July 2011, Amy – who had sold over 9 million albums and won five Grammy and three Ivor Novello awards – was found dead in her home.
“I still meet people who say, ‘Oh, it was drugs’,” Naomi says. “But it wasn’t. She’d been clean for a long time. She got off drugs on her own, using willpower alone. She was an alcoholic, but if that was her only problem, or if she’d only had bulimia, maybe she’d have been OK. I believe it was the combination of the two that killed her, because of the extra pressure her eating disorder put on her body.
“A lot of people clung on to the [drugs] idea; perhaps it was easier. The thought that you can die from an eating disorder is terrifying. Before this, I had no idea of the effects of bulimia – and no idea of the toll it can take on your body.
“I want to raise awareness of eating disorders, and Beat – supported by the Amy Winehouse Foundation, who are funding the relaunch of its website. So many people suffer in silence, it’s vital to tell people that there is help available.
“We’ll see more tragedies – but maybe we can stop some before they happen.”
Get help: “If you or someone you know is suffering from bulimia and you’re worried, remember that complete recovery is possible,” says Leanne Thorndyke, head of communications at Beat. “We work with many sufferers who have overcome their disorder, and with the right help and support you can go on to lead a healthy, happy life.” And, according to research, after treatment: 45% of sufferers make a full recovery and 27% improve considerably. To learn more about the illness and treatment options visit www.b-eat.org.uk
· The Amy Winehouse Foundation was set up by Amy’s family in September 2011, on what would have been her 28th birthday. Find out more here at amywinehousefoundation.org
Posted by TBR on 10 July 2015 - 11:59 AM
With the greatest respect, you're entitled to your opinion but I don't feel the film did her any real injustice. I've been following her since 2004 and know her backstory pretty intimately; of course a two hour film is never going to capture the full spectrum of influences and circumstances regarding Amy. The film never set out to state why things turned out how they did. No one person is ever going to be able to accurately state as fact why Amy was how she was, or why she ultimately died. A lifetime of choices, conversations, outside influences, thought processes etc are never going to be able to be captured or summarised.
But the film is a beautiful and jarring overview of her life. Her brother wasn't included because he didn't want to participate and has always been notably private regarding his sister. Dionne was pretty inconsequential in the scheme of things, and that combined with her school days were never going to be vital enough to be included in a two hour cut. The whole point of the film is that she was more than a "promiscuous drug addict". It humanises her in a way no real media source has in a very long time, if ever. At the same time, however, it's not going to gloss over things we've always known to be true of Amy (the drugs, the affairs et al).
We can all try and speak of what we think we know of Amy but let's be honest, we didn't know her. We only ever saw a public perception of Amy, one which she often fronted out. Who really knows if she felt "helpless or abandoned"? The people around her have been saying for years how lonely she was towards the end, and that she'd Skype people often in a drunk, dishevelled state just wanting to talk. Janis made it clear in her book that Amy wasn't really functioning as a normal human being towards the end and that she was a bit of a drunk mess so I had no real issues with implications made that she wasn't doing too well in her last year.
Posted by Uno on 04 July 2015 - 09:39 AM
The original 'On the Couch with Amy Winehouse' Interview from 2006 was only about 3 minutes, this one is the full and uncut 11 minute interview ...
Posted by TBR on 30 June 2015 - 09:32 PM
I just came back from the screening. I saw the film but I had to leave before the Q&A because my friend I went with had a minor emergency haha. Just some notes on it:
- This forum is thanked in the credits!
- There's clean audio of We're Still Friends from the Union Chapel show. It's AMAZING. The direct recordings of that show must be out there, it's a shame they've not been released in any form.
- Moon River from the NYJO recording is a brief snippet; the arrangement is more jazz based than the original recording. The audio quality isn't amazing.
- I left the film feeling crushed. You see this girl at the beginning, bright eyed and witty and hungry, change and enter a rapid downward spiral and by the end you see a tired, defeated little girl who needs a way out but there is no easy answer. It's fucking tragic.
- I'm very familiar with Amy's story but the film humanises it and grounds everything in context. It felt like it could be longer - her relationship with her parents and a few other people could have been elaborated on but you get the sense it would have been even more bleak.
- Mitch and Raye come out of the film looking extremely culpable. Raye's approach to Amy was cold and business like, and he was almost dismissive of Juliette, Lauren and Nick's concerns (when they tried intervening, he dismissed them and told them bankers and high rollers etc all manage to function on heavy drugs, it's just how things are). Editing can only do so much; from what he said he's gone down in my estimation massively.
- I think a soundtrack is unlikely; there's Detachment, We're Still Friends, a different Tears Dry On Their Own demo and a few other small bits (ie. a Like Smoke demo) that are in releasable quality but 80% of the stuff in the film's audio quality was poor and unfortunately I don't think any record label would ever put some of it out.
I'll edit bits in as I think of them. Feel free to ask any questions.
After seeing it, I feel a little like I did after reading the biographies by her parents. She was a beautiful human being who was damaged by incredibly unhealthy and dependent relationships with people who ultimately had selfish intentions and others who were happy to participate in the car crash without taking decisive action. There's nothing more fucking tragic. In spite of the music, the fame or whatever, she was a kid and seeing everything she had to endure, mentally and physically, is horrific. I'm not remotely religious but I really hope she's at peace now. No one deserves to be in that situation, you feel hopeless for her just watching it. I understand why many of the reviews mentioned the idea of the viewer feeling culpable. To see a young life spiralling and knowing no meaningful intervention was made is just sad.
Posted by Agresio on 31 March 2016 - 04:01 PM
by Phil Knott
Posted by amyinourhearts on 24 July 2018 - 02:00 AM
Posted by Uno on 10 April 2018 - 01:32 AM
There's a new documentary coming out and the following write-up includes those magical words that we all like to hear, 'and also includes never before seen footage of the singer'
Eagle Rock cues Winehouse album doc
MIPTV: London-based producer and distributor Eagle Rock Entertainment is in Cannes this week to shop a music documentary about the work of the late soul singer Amy Winehouse.
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (1×60’) is produced by BBC Studios in association with Eagle Rock Films for Eagle Rock Entertainment and directed by Jeremy Marre.
Previously, Marre worked for broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS’s American Masters and also wrote and produced the doc.
The programme tells the story behind the conception, writing and recording of Winehouse’s album Back to Black, which won five Grammys and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
It includes contributions from Winehouse’s music producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi and also includes never before seen footage of the singer.
Many of Marre’s films explore musical subjects and include Bob Marley: Rebel Music, James Brown: Soul Survivor, Otis Redding: Soul Ambassador and Roots Rock Reggae.
Previously, Eagle Rock worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Jay Z, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, James Brown and Radiohead. The company is headquartered in London, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, and is part of Universal Music Group.
Posted by Fierce on 20 January 2016 - 04:12 PM
Nichola Richards photography, 2003: Two years ago while at my parents house, I found some old black and white negatives of Amy Winehouse, which I thought I had lost. These pictures have never been released. I was happy to find them, not just because they are of the late great Amy Winehouse, but also because they were taken before the release of her first album Frank, and depicts her in a way that isn't often seen. I printed some, here's a small selection of some of those prints.
Posted by crol on 11 July 2015 - 03:34 AM
i guess i just felt like amy after that film, as she was in the interview that mentioned dildo.
I hope you mean Dido...
Posted by Uno on 02 July 2015 - 01:44 AM
Lil' Amy ...
Posted by WhoDat on 06 June 2015 - 04:03 PM
As promised, I'm back!
I don't want to spoil it too much for you all, so I'll be brief. The film is great, I really, really liked it. There's a lot of footage in there that I'd never seen before, and some that I had, and I definitely heard a song that I'd never heard before. I think it's the song Detachment? I'd like to hear a full version of it, it sounds like a good song.
I particularly enjoyed the first half of the film that focused on her adolescence and Frank days. She just seemed a lot happier in those days, and things do get very grim towards the end. There's some really sad photos of her, pictures she seemed to have taken of herself on a laptop or something, when she was really in the doldrums that I'd never seen before. But the photos and footage of her in the early days were my favourite parts of the film. She seems at her most comfortable and happy when she's with Juliette and Lauren, and the voice-overs they give are very moving. They sound like they are on the brink of tears at certain points and it's quite clear a lot of feelings are still very raw. The clips of her actually singing and recording music are really good too.
It's really sad and frustrating just to see how much she changed from the Frank days to Back to Black and how much of that seemed to be influenced by moving to Camden and meeting Blake and wanting to be "on his level". I also got the distinct impression that Blake was not even nearly as infatuated with Amy and she was with him, and was quite happy to enjoy the benefits of her success before dumping her. Despite Mitch's claims that the film paints him as a bad father, I definitely came out feeling more contempt for Blake. It seems she desperately wanted to please him and have him love her as much as she loved him and that kind of drove her to become someone she just wasn't.
However, as far as I could see, the biggest villain of the whole piece is the media. Some of the clips of her being hounded by the press are just awful. It's disorienting to watch all the strobe lights and hearing all the paparazzi shouting even from a distance, I can't even imagine what it was like to live in the middle of it. You can tell she couldn't cope with the level of media intrusion and I think it's a pretty important lesson about how we treat people in the public eye. To publicly humiliate anyone is terrible, but to take part in the destruction of extraordinary talent seems unforgivable, and I felt that the media's role in that is perhaps what the film is most critical of.
I won't go on, I'll let you guys make up your own minds about it suffice to say that I think it's a nice tribute to Amy and her life. It made me sad not only because of all the music we're never going to hear, but because of the witty, vivacious young girl that she used to be and what she later became. It's really a tragedy.
Posted by Uno on 18 September 2014 - 10:04 PM
There is still SO MUCH out there that we haven't heard ...
Some BBC stuff ...
The full 2003 Janice Long Interview and songs which was actually 45 minutes long
Exclusive set at The Baltic in Gateshead on BBC Radio 2
Athens 2004 Olympic Ball at Battersea Park Marquee on BBC Radio 2
Mica Paris Soul Solutions at the Jazz Cafe on BBC Radio 2
Oneclick / Open (Experimental) Show on BBC Radio 1 (When Amy was the DJ for a full hour an talked about the songs before she played each of them. The BBC included about 7 minutes of this show in one of their tributes that they did in 2011.). Here's the full tracklist of the songs that she played for that show ...
:: Mary J Blige - 'All That I Can Say'
:: Faith Evans - 'Do Your Time'
:: Lil Mo - 'Shoulda Known'
:: Minnie Ripperton - 'Down Memory Lane'
:: Sarah Vaughan - 'April in Paris'
:: En Vouge - 'Giving Him Something He Can Feel'
:: Smokey Robinson - 'Quiet Storm'
:: King Pleasure - 'I'm in the Mood For Love'
:: Musiq - 'Who Knows'
:: Salt-N-Pepa - 'Snoop'
:: Mos Def - 'Tinsetown'
:: Pace Won - 'Locked'
:: Sarah Vaughan - 'Be Anything But...'
:: Lauren Hill
:: Donny Hathaway - 'I Love You'
I would ABSOLUTELY love to hear this full show and hear her thoughts about every song.
And the BBC list goes on, there were numerous shows that she was on where she sang a song or two and/or was interviewed. The BBC always put their recordings of the show up for the week following their broadcast, so you know they did record this stuff. The unfortunate thing is, that they only seem to dole out a little bit on an anniversary of something, like her singing 'Sentimental Journey' on the BBC4 Loose Ends show 10 years ago on a D-Day anniversary. With all of the interviews and songs that we haven't heard yet (and the ones we haven't heard in full), there's most likely enough material for them to do another 4CD box set if not two more. (YES BBC, WE WANT TO HEAR THE INTERVIEWS TOO!!!)
And then... there's all of the non BBC stuff, a few for example ...
SWR3 Star-Talk mit Amy Winehouse at the Tiscali-Lounge in Baden
Jazz Brunch with Amy at Hallam FM Radio
Acoustic Live Set and Interview - Star 98.7/KYSR-FM Radio in Burbank
And there are many, many more. The problem, I think, is that Mitch is completely unaware of what she did during her career. If he would quit focusing on just her studio recordings and enrich himself with the knowledge of all of the other things that she has done, and then negotiate them, he could make $ for the foundation for years to come.
Also, it would be great if they would publish a coffee-table book of her lyrics that were written that never made it into song. I would love to read the lyrics (from her BMI list) of Dolly's Diner, My Own Way, Orange Peel, Oestrogenus, and (from her Lioness notes) Care Instructions, Do Me a Lemon, Gutter, Lion(ess) In Limbo, and especially the lyrics of that last song that Mich mentioned in AMD that she was working on in 2011 titled 'I Need More Time'.
Posted by Uno on 21 April 2014 - 04:06 AM
This is from the website for the book titled 'They Can’t Take That Away from Me: Musical Memories That Colour Our Lives', where over 100 celebrities and writers have shared their musical memories in aid of Alzheimers. This post/memory was written on July 25, 2011 by Dita Von Teese. I remember reading before about Dita mentioning that she and a few of her family members were lucky enough to have Amy sing for them, Dita goes into a little more detail about that evening here ...
Love is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse
One of my favourite recent musical memories is of a song called ‘Love is a Losing Game’ by Amy Winehouse. As a fan of the blues artists of the early and mid 20th century, when I first heard Amy Winehouse, I immediately became enthralled with her music. One night I was out in London with my sisters, my best friend and my mother, and I met Amy. She was behind the bar, fixing her own drink, and she said to me ‘would you like to come over to my house and I can play some songs for you?’ Of course we followed her to her house, which was a right mess, but she sat there cross-legged in the middle of the floor in her disheveled living room, drinking from a giant jug of sake she said she had received as a gift, and she played guitar and sang so soulfully and so perfectly, song after song, just for us. She sang her own songs, but also some very obscure 1930s songs, and even some of my mother’s favourite 60s songs, songs I had never even heard of! I will never forget her knowledge of music, and the beauty, tragedy and truth that came from her own inimitable voice, a voice with something so much more than a technically talented pop songstress. I was so moved by her, and what I will always believe is that she is the closest thing our generation will ever have to a legend like Billie Holiday.
Posted by Badu4 on 06 September 2017 - 02:52 PM
Posted by Uno on 03 November 2015 - 09:46 PM
Amy and Me
Published: 25 October 2015
As the documentary about Amy Winehouse’s turbulent life is released on DVD, her best friend, Juliette Ashby, talks candidly about the girl she grew up with
When Juliette Ashby talks about her best friend, Amy Winehouse, she often lapses into the present tense. Four years after Winehouse’s death, on July 23, 2011, the pain is still too fresh for “was” and “used to”. We are sitting in Ashby’s womb-like recording studio in Barnet, to talk about Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Amy. The film has been huge — the most successful British documentary ever — and its DVD release next month will doubtless spark more Winehouse nostalgia.
Initially, Ashby, 31, a successful songwriter in her own right, wanted no part in the film. “When we first heard it was happening, we were, like, ‘This isn’t right. This shouldn’t be happening.’” But Nick Shymansky, Winehouse’s trusted first manager, persuaded Ashby, and Winehouse’s other great friend, Lauren Gilbert, to speak to Kapadia and give him reams of material. Their contributions are by far the most touching and revelatory of the film, which opens with a wobbly home video of the three of them at a teenage house party, a young Winehouse belting out Happy Birthday. Through their memories, we meet a different Winehouse to the tabloid caricature — funny, fiercely intelligent, unexpectedly domestic, affectionate, a brilliant mimic. And we glimpse the kind of passionate friendship that teenage girls excel in, where you go round to each other’s houses after school, phone each other the minute you’re apart and spend all weekend doing nothing together.
Amy Winehouse and Juliette Ashby in a restaurant in Camden in 2003Amy Winehouse and Juliette Ashby in a restaurant in Camden in 2003
Ashby grew up in Southgate, north London, where she still lives. Her elder sister, Jessica, was a fourth member of the clan and can lay claim to introducing Winehouse to flicky eyeliner. Their father, the journalist Jonathan Ashby, founded World Entertainment News Network with their mother, Jackie (Winehouse’s first job was at WENN, a leg-up from her best friend’s dad). Ashby remembers a happy, secure childhood. “I grew up in a musical family — my dad played loads of instruments, and our house was always full of music and people.”
One of those visitors was the young Winehouse, who Ashby first met, aged four, at primary school. “We were drawn to each other, two excitable little kids,” she says. Music quickly became a shared obsession. “By year six, we had a band called Sweet’n’Sour, and were able to go into a recording studio to lay down our first songs together. We were like Salt-N-Pepa, but the nine-year-old Jewish version. We’d just laugh a lot. That was what we did, laugh and sing.”
The north London twang in her voice is the only superficial giveaway that she and Winehouse were once like peas in a pod. “When we were at secondary school, Amy went gothic and I was a rude girl, so we were different in our style, but still best friends. Every Saturday, me, Amy and Lauren would go for a Chinese or to PizzaExpress in Whetstone, and then we’d all sit in her room, or my room, listen to music, talk, cry, laugh. What young girls do.”
Ashby and Winehouse singing together in 1998 when they were 15 — they formed a band called Sweet’n’SourAshby and Winehouse singing together in 1998 when they were 15 — they formed a band called Sweet’n’Sour
It sounds sweetly ordinary, but Winehouse was already remarkable. “She was always advanced,” says Ashby. “Even as kids. We’d be reading Puddle Lane, she’d be reading Schindler’s List. But she had the attention span of a fish. She couldn’t stick at one thing.”
The film implies that Winehouse’s problems started in her teens. This isn’t Ashby’s memory. She refers again to Winehouse’s precociousness and skittish concentration, but adds: “I didn’t have any awareness of that in particular. I was her best friend. We confided in each other, we had a really happy childhood.”
Sixth form at secondary school led to playing house in a first flat-share, in East Finchley. “People who used to come to 215A would say it was magical. It was the hub, the place everyone showed up. Amy was writing her first album, Frank, and it was just a special, lovely time. We both have amazing memories of that flat — normal girls in their first place together. We had a big bathroom and we’d be in there for hours together, doing our nails, waxing our legs. People say the kitchen is the heart of the home, ours was the bathroom.”
Were they going out a lot, too? “Most of the time, we were home. All we did was play music, laugh, cook. Her thing was Jewish chicken soup, and I’d do the meatballs with the matzo meal. And we liked changing round the furniture, ’cos we were always indoors.” Surely Winehouse wasn’t a neat freak? “She was messy, but we would clean together. We’d be, like, ‘You do the skirting boards, I’ll do the coving.’ And then we’d go to the florist — she was obsessed with fresh flowers.”
Winehouse and Ashby in their flat in East Finchley, aged 18Winehouse and Ashby in their flat in East Finchley, aged 18
What kind of friend was Winehouse? “We were, are, sisters. Me, Amy, Lauren. Just three young, north London Jewish girls growing up together. It’s an unconditional bond. We’d only need to look at each other and we’d know what the other was thinking. And she was hysterically funny. I’ve never known anyone who had every accent down. If I had my way, the whole film would just be her being hilarious. It’s not how I’d like her to be seen, that’s just who she is.”
Who was the ringleader? “We both mothered each other. Amy and I lived like husband and wife, and Lauren was... not our child, but we were protective of her. She was, like, ‘our little Lauren’.” Ashby composes herself. She looks as if she can barely contain how acutely she misses Winehouse. “I don’t know why that gets me, but it’s just something Amy always says, ‘our little Lauren’. Except those roles all reversed, obviously. Then it became me and Lauren looking out for Amy.”
Winehouse unexpectedly becoming the vulnerable one, as fame and addiction took hold, is a recurring theme. “I don’t want to talk about situations that didn’t directly involve me,” says Ashby of the final years, referring to Winehouse’s toxic relationship with her then-husband Blake Fielder-Civil and the negative portrayal of her father, Mitch Winehouse, in the film. “But I will say, she never asked to be famous. Her goal wasn’t the applause or the big audiences. She is a writer and musician. That’s different to a performer. Fame is scary, horrible. It’s definitely not for everyone.”
The girls together at secondary school, aged 12The girls together at secondary school, aged 12
When Winehouse bought her first flat in Camden with the proceeds from her 2004 album, Frank, “the nightmare started”. For Ashby, Camden seems to represent everything that stole Winehouse from her. She talks about “getting Amy back”, briefly, with a second shared flat in leafy Muswell Hill, but then losing her again. The tussle between Winehouse’s suburban roots and her new identity on Camden’s music scene and in its pubs underpins the film. We long for the suburbs to grab Winehouse back and keep her safe, but it doesn’t happen. She moves permanently, and, in Ashby’s words: “That was when all her neighbours had my number, and I slept with my phone on loud every night, under my pillow. I still do. Trauma does that to you.”
The night before Winehouse died, she rang Ashby. They hadn’t spoken for a while. “Me and Lauren refused to be around the circus while the nightmare was happening. Amy knew we wouldn’t tolerate her behaviour, but we were there to get her out of it. She always had somewhere to call if she was scared, needed normality and someone to tell her to ‘behave yourself and pull it together’. And that last call was my best friend, my Amy, back. Most people in that situation aren’t aware of what’s going on, but Amy was so intelligent, and she never lost that awareness. She had total clarity. She kept saying she was sorry, she was having realisations. It was hard to hear that. I kept reassuring her it was OK.”
Although Ashby has seen the film, listening to Winehouse’s music now is impossible. “I can’t hear her voice. I want to more than anything, but when it comes on somewhere, my whole body freezes and I end up having a panic attack.” All the time she is talking, Ashby’s eyes are glossy with tears. She doesn’t fall apart because she has learnt to “put on blinkers, so I can just get to the end of a sentence about Amy”.
She is determined that we should know the Winehouse she knew, and understand that the image the tabloids peddled “wasn’t my friend”. But the shock of her death, and the depth of her absence, still leaves Ashby reeling. Gilbert has been her rock, and she says the two of them are as close as ever. “Can I be honest?” she says, as I’m leaving. “I feel sometimes like I’m going to get a phone call, like it was all not real. Me and Lauren both always say that. I think I’ll always sleep with the phone on loud.”
Posted by Hanna on 30 August 2015 - 05:53 PM
Posted by Fierce on 17 July 2015 - 08:31 PM
Posted by crol on 04 July 2015 - 03:36 AM
Why on earth would the film need to mention the foundation? It's a very honourable cause, but it's Mitch's brainchild, not Amy's. As far as I can recall, the film is about Amy, not Mitch.
Also, I do wonder why Asif didn't include Reg in the film. Perhaps he genuinely didn't have much to say of interest, or maybe Asif felt he wasn't being totally honest. I always felt Mitch made such a big deal out of their relationship, to the point that now Reg is referred to as her fiance when they weren't even engaged. They weren't even living together.
I'm sure Reg and Amy were in a loving relationship but I wonder if by that stage Amy was too far gone in herself to get back on track. The film is about Amy, and why things ended the way they did, and perhaps Reg just didn't play a big part in the overall picture.