The official Tribute Issue
Amy Winehouse September 14th 1983-July 23rd 2011.
While there was never a morning when an Amy story wasn’t in the news, the Rehab star didn’t give interviews and as it turned out , OK!’s chat was the only one that year. Invited down to Amy’s Camden stamping ground to talk about the god daughter she adored, Dionne Bromfield, after six hours of partying, pool playing and punch ups, she finally returned from the bar clutching a pair of Banana Daiquiris , and beckoned us to the ladies loo, where I conducted one of the most bizarre interview of my career.
Sadly Amy was never destined to live an ordinary, quiet life – her talent made sure of that. Like those other drug addicted 27 year olds before her – Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, who also died before their time- a legend will grow up around Amy Winehouse and a caricature will emerge. For my part I will remember the night I was lucky enough to meet a girl who was, on the one hand an absolutely typical cheeky, ballsy, mouthy north London working class girl, and on the other hand someone quite extraordinary. Even amid craziness, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Sweet, shy , beautiful, stubborn, funny and kind – with a taste for danger and a heart bursting with love, Amy was a back combed, big haired, gum chewing, high heel tottering superstar. May she rest in peace. Here’s the day in full....
Amy’s friends groan quietly and look on nervously as the various ‘promoters’, fashion types and celebrity offspring vie for the star’s attention. Amy is meant to be under strict supervision. I’ve been told I can’t give her flowers in case anything dodgy is hidden inside and Amy has even had her mobile phone confiscated . The trouble is once she leaves the house and the watchful eye of dad Mitch, all bets are off.
Everyone, it seems, wants a post- pub invite back to Amy’s place. Some apparently arrive and stay for days on end. Her genuine friends worry about the influence of the ‘hangers-on’- but there’s little they can do.
In truth, though she is by no means sober, Amy is ‘far from out of it’ tonight. She’s undoubtedly skinny, but in the flesh looks more robust and prettier than you might expect. She’s alert and articulate, though her butterfly mind seems to have trouble concentrating on one thing. While she chats, she repeatedly shuffles, deals and gathers a deck of cards, croupier stylee. Later , as we meander through Camden, from pub to bar to pub, Amy is accosted by fans, declaring their adoration and concern, pretty much every five minutes. Without fail, Amy is gracious, patient and kind, holding out their mobile phones so they can take a picture, signing their beer mats and even chattering to foreign devotees in an array of languages. Amy, tonight, is a long way from the dishevelled, deranged, decaying , fan baiting, pop wreck I’ve read about....