Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Daily Winehouse

Yesterday, the Telegraph carried an article attacking the audiences who complained about the Winehouse Birmingham show.

Today, they've run another, almost identical piece, this time filed by Andrew Pierce:

The whingers are lucky she even turned up. Don't they read the newspapers? Or listen to the Today programme, which has also referred to this talented but deeply flawed diva's personal problems?

Imagine how the Telegraph would react if, instead of being a musician, she was a plumber who turned up late, botched the job, spat and threatened the customers before leaving with task still unfinished. It's odd they're so relaxed about Winehouse doing it.

Pierce attempts to suggest that she's in the tradition of Joplin, Piaf and Hendrix, before adding another name to her forebears:
Needless to say the tabloids, typically, have chronicled every disaster in her relentlessly downward spiral. We have seen it all before. They build them up - think Paul Gascoigne - and stick the boot in when they are on the way down.

Probably the first time Winehouse and Gascoigne have been compared - although, of course, Gascoigne himself made his own visit to the charts - and the mention is interesting.

It's true that the tabloids did build Gazza up, when he was playing well. And, yes, when he slipped, they gleefully detailed his decline. But it's just fantasy to lay the blame for his fall from grace on the papers: he enjoyed a drink - too much; he enjoyed his food - too much, for an athlete. He was the architect of his own misfortune and while you might find the red tops' delight in sharing his decline callous, he'd have still been eating the kebabs and drinking the booze. Just without the attention. The same, you feel, would be true of Winehouse. However reprehensible you might find the behaviour of Fleet Street, it's not like they're forcing Blake to (allegedly) conspire to pervert the course of justice after (again allegedly) beating the shit out of someone, or making Amy sit in the toilets puffing away on fags. For a paper which supposedly believes in personal responsibility, it's interesting how quickly they are to remove that responsibility from Winehouse's shoulders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Joplin and Piaf, but Hendrix certainly did NOT habitually screw up gigs as a result of his drug use.

Infact there's only one documented case of him being onstage too stoned to play.

And though he had occasional rough gig (as does any performer), he never slumped to the levels of Winehouse. Out of hundreds of gigs over a 3 year period there are roughly only 5 documented shows where Hendrix's performance was under-par as a direct result of substance abuse, and two of those were at private jam sessions, not for paying audiences.

In my view Winehouse is one of the most over-rated and over-hyped performers we've seen this decade. She has an incredibly one dimensional vocal style, and her music tends to rely on retrogression rather than inovation.

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