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'We loved her but it wasn't enough'

Matt Finnegan on the death of Amy Winehouse

Written by . Published on July 24th 2011.

'We loved her but it wasn't enough'

THIS has been an awful, awful, weekend.

I was watching Sky News report the aftermath of the Oslo massacre – the terrible destruction of a future generation of political leaders – when the news broke: Amy Winehouse found dead.

I gasped - and then groaned.

What kind of fuckery is this?”

No death is more important, or less important, than another. It’s not a competition. But some deaths move us beyond words.

This was one.

'In a world of artifice, fake emotion
and tabloid cel-eb-rit-y, Amy was,
absolutely, the real deal'

 Everyone was shocked, but few were surprised. We could see it coming. That fragile, lovely little girl with the soaring voice bigger than the Empire State Building.

 I cry for you on the kitchen floor.”

When she sang she was real. The authentic voice of all those lonely nights when simple words can’t breach the gap or heal the distance. Heartbreak, regret, remorse, loneliness. Her lost, aching voice captured it all.

And for good measure the sexy North London girl, who the snidey red-tops laughed and poked fun at through all her terrible troubles, could write so much better than anyone else.

I told you I was trouble, you know I’m no good.”

What an enormous talent. What a shocking waste.

I saw her sing live twice, I am privileged to say. At Glastonbury, first on the Pyramid stage and then on the jazz stage. Very different performances.

The first , spunky. Full of life, defiance, showbiz.

The second, soulful, more intimate and vulnerable, digging deep into your psyche. Both astonishing displays, that still live with me.

We only said goodbye with words, I died a hundred times.”

In a world of artifice, fake emotion and tabloid cel-eb-rit-y, Amy was, absolutely, the real deal. She moved the mind, the body and the spirit.

The twitter universe marked her death with extremes: great grace- see John Robb’s brilliant obituary (http://louderthanwar.com/blogs/amy-winehouse-obituaryappreciation) but also with astonishing lack of humanity. I unfollowed these, immediately. Death marks the man.

But Liverpool city councillor, Malcolm Kennedy, got it right on Facebook: “So angry that there was no one who could rescue you”, he wrote.

What was it, Amy? Your dad, Mitch, clearly adored the bones of you. But you needed much more to resist the addictions of drink and drugs and self-destruction?

Who knows - we could only watch it all unfold, helpless.

And now the final frame, love is a losing game.”

I had hoped beyond hope that there was a third brilliant album in the can, with which you would totter back on stage in those funny high heels, reach for a drink, light a fag, push back your beehive, raise two-fingers to the doubters and then astonish us all over again with the dark power and intensity of your bright burning star.

It was not to be.

Aaaaaaaah, dear, poor, girl” my son texted. 

See – she even reached across the generations, as only true genius can. 

We loved her, but it wasn’t enough.

Now she is gone, but her music survives her. And some of us will be touched forever.

She walks away, the sun goes down.

Back to Black.


*Follow Matt Finnegan on Twitter @mattfinished

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Amy fanJuly 24th 2011.

Matt, a simple lyric, which has moved me to tears as well as putting some very eloquent, and much need perspective on the events of the weekend. Good stuff.

mrsmarsaJuly 25th 2011.

So very sad; her talent will be missed.

E GregiousJuly 26th 2011.

On account of EJ Thribb's ode to Amy Winehouse, I am now unsubscribing to Liverpool Confidential. So. Farewell then...

PatioJuly 26th 2011.

Well put Matt, no hysterics, no finger wagging, just compassion for a very lost person

AnonymousJuly 28th 2011.

The dead on the island near Oslo were teenagers on the brink of adult life. To call them 'a future generation of political leaders' is an oddly demeaning way of describing them.

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