Amy Winehouse book by her dad: Ouch
Exactly what caused the death of Amy Winehouse in July has not yet been determined. But one thing that is known: The singer's father will write a memoir about his daughter, to be published in the U.S. by HarperCollins, the publisher announced Monday. Mitch Winehouse's "Amy, My Daughter" is expected to be published in summer 2012.
It's hard to imagine what sorrows Mitch Winehouse has endured. His very talented daughter struggled publicly with substance abuse and died July 23 at the too-young age of 27. Music fans miss her; he certainly must too.
But of the many forms that mourning can take, a memoir of a lost daughter seems ill-advised at best. What kind of perspective can Amy Winehouse's father have? How can he be expected to deal with her difficulties, her proclivities? In a 2007 interview with the Guardian, not long after her album "Back to Black" came out, Winehouse said she wanted her superpower to be "supersexuality"; her one-word answer to "How do you relax?" was "sex"; and her most unappealing habit was "being an abusive drunk." A straightforward biography would be hard enough -- but one from her father?
Instead, I'd like to nominate Russell Brand to write it. His memoirial to Amy Winehouse, which appeared in the Guardian sparkled with intelligence, insight and empathy.
When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma....
From time to time I'd bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was a character but that world was riddled with half-cut, doped-up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn't especially register....
It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.
I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I'd only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound.
Proceeds from "Amy, My Daughter" will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which Mitch Winehouse formed to help young people in need.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photos: Left, Amy Winehouse performs in 2007. Credit: Claire Greenway / Getty Images. Right, Mitch Winehouse at his daughter's funeral. Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis / Associated Press