I remember the first time I really got Amy Winehouse. I was standing in my kitchen when Rehab came on the radio.Turning it up, I asked Mr P if he had heard it. He said he hadn’t but we both stopped what we were doing and listened; how refreshing, I thought, a female singer with balls. I was amazed when the DJ announced that it was Ms Winehouse. I recognised the name but had slotted her into the unflattering (and untrue) Katie Melua pigeonhole.
A year or so later, we went to see her at Rock City in Nottingham. The roadies came out prior to her performance and moved her microphone down its stand by about a foot. We guessed that it was for a trumpeter but no, it was for Amy herself. She was teeny, balancing that nest of hair on her head. She was wearing a cropped top and tight jeans.
She was unbelievable that night. I think I just stood there with my mouth open for two hours. She blew me away and to this day, Mr P and I both agree that it’s the best gig we’ve ever been to.
Somehow though, we both seemed to know at the time that we would never see her again. Whether self-consciously we meant in such a small venue or whether she just had one of those doomed destinies like so many of history’s great talents isn’t clear. It was just a feeling.
And now she is gone at the tender age of 27 – the same age as yours truly. I just hope she is remembered for her talent rather than her bad habits. I would like her to be historically listed with rock and pop’s greatest singers rather than lined up next to the more legndary hellraisers.
She was unique, unforgettable, a heroine to me and many others.