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What kind of f**kery is this? - Amy Winehouse RIP

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Neil

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I'm not one to get all mawkish about the death of someone I don't know. And if you try juggling knives then why be surprised if they cut you? She did what she did and the consequences are hers.

All the same - and I don't say this lightly - the world of music has lost a huge talent. In the 13 years I've been writing about festivals and the acts I've seen there, I can't think of any act who's talent has jumped out and grabbed me in such a strong way as Amy Winehouse.

I first saw Amy and heard her music when she was on the Jonathan Ross Show in 2003 or 2004. While what she played wasn't my thing it was impossible to not be struck by her authenticity and talent. On the basis of that I first saw Amy perform live on the Jazzworld Stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2004 (when she was promoting her debut album 'Frank'), and was hugely impressed. I saw her again a few weeks later at T in the Park and that was re-enforced. And then at Summer Sundae that same year, as a sub-headlining and not-cut-down set I saw her at what for me was her best - a charisma and talent that told me she'd be a huge star.

AmyWinehouse-NRG125.jpg

Summer Sundae 2004

In 2005 at Cornbury Festival I forced some friends to see her. They knew her only from snippets on TV and hadn't liked what they'd seen, but couldn't help but agree with me after having the full experience. The words they used were "jaw droppingly amazing".

The next summer (2006) saw her at Bestival, doing 'Valerie' with Mark Ronson as a cameo. The words from my review of that festival say "a guest appearance from a stick-thin Amy Winehouse – pure class!". Yet while I said 'stick-thin' - something which to me was very noticable - that was her fat compared to what she was to become. But her slide had clearly begun.

Fast forward to the summer of 2007. 'Back in Black' had been released in October 2006 and deservedly went massive, and she was now a huge star and a tabloid fascination - with her publicly displayed problems detailed almost daily. While I was grabbing a beer backstage at Glastonbury's Jazzworld she wandered in with friends who looked like they had similar 'issues', and pushed past me to get to the bar - not that she needed more intoxicants by the look of her. Later that day she was a disappointment with her Jazzworld set, while her Pyramid Stage performance the next day was even more shambolic. It didn't take a genius to guess where it might end.

Today she's being put in the '27 club' of talented musicians who died at that young age. To my mind she's deserving of the comparison by her talent, but sadly not with her output - just two albums (and one of those passed most people by) is a poor amount in comparison to those others.

Musicians come and go, and some leave something lasting behind. She's left us her music, but with her death it's music that's the loser. There's so much more she could have been, there's so much more she could have left us. What a waste!

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