Posts Tagged ‘Jazz’

PostHeaderIcon Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)

One week already! Yes, last Saturday I, like so many others, was shocked to hear that Amy Winehouse had died.

Amy Winehouse performing

Amy Winehouse performing

Shocked? Many react as if that’s ridiculous. Given her history I guess it may seem less than shocking however, I think many of us fans (and even those who aren’t) were shocked in the way we always are when someone famous dies, particularly if they’re young and have so much yet to achieve.

What’s less shocking is that within hours the “jokes” were already flooding the social and other networks. Such supposedly witty remarks as “she should have gone to rehab” in reference to one of her biggest hits left me cold and unsmiling.

I admit, my sense of humour is lacking in this area – or do those wittier than me term it irony? Do they forget (or not care) that this was a person with a family left behind to grieve the loss of a loved one? I wonder if they’re laughing.

Maybe I’m too sensitive. I doubt it. I know I have good manners and perhaps that’s more to the point. Show a little respect people – or didn’t your parents teach you such things? Perhaps Amy Winehouse was on a path to self destruction, her mother said last week she’d felt it was a matter of time but; does that make her loss less painful or somehow funny?  I can’t find it in my imagination to believe so.

Cover - Amy Winehouse: Frank

Cover - Amy Winehouse: Frank

Amy was a great talent who burst onto the music scene at the age of 20. Not only did most of the songs on her first album Frank become hits, she won more awards than many artists twice her age including 5 Grammys in one year. She may have been young but she didn’t sound it. Her music had the sound of life experience – and an amazing voice!

Being a fan of jazz, blues & soul (amongst other things), I remember that the first time I heard Amy Winehouse I thought she was much older and probably black. I don’t know if that’s ok to say but hey, she reminded me of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald. It was no surprise to me later to hear her biggest influence was Dinah Washington. She also liked the 50’s/60’s girl bands like the Vandellas and Shirelles and her remake of Valerie bears testament to that.

Cover: Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

Cover: Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

Her second album Back to Blackwas an even bigger hit with so many singles it almost seems like a greatest hits album. Rehab was of course the first but then there are so many others. This one was full of experience as she’d had a break-up with the man she then went on to marry and those emotions came through loud and clear.

Although it may seem sentimental and girly I have to say I’m sorry she’s gone. Sorry for her family and selfishly sorry there’ll be no new material from her. If she could write songs and express them in the way she did in her early 20’s, what would she have achieved by 40?

I have so many favourites but I’ll leave you with one of my very favourites Love is a Losing Game.

 

RIP Amy – truly a talent lost to us.

Flowers, pictures and messages outside Amy's house - July 2011

Flowers, pictures and messages outside Amy’s house – July 2011

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Time to think

Lately I’ve started thinking I must have too much time on my hands. Although I know that’s just not true I kind of hope it is. Why else would I be thinking about so many things that are just too difficult to answer? I mean really – what is the meaning of life and more importantly; where oh where is the fountain of youth?!

Perhaps the problem isn’t too much time, I sometimes feel I’m running out of time. As each year passes it seems I have less time to do the things I really want to do, achieve the lifestyle I want and fit all the people that are important to me into that equation.

Not so long ago I made what most people saw as drastic changes. I went from having a well-paid job, high community profile and being located close enough to family and friends to spend time with them whenever I wanted; to becoming a ‘homeless’ backpacker on the move without a care in the world. My biggest decisions were where to go next and how long to stay.

I miss that life and can’t explain the freedom to you if you haven’t experienced it. Most people tell me they believe it must be a scary existence with so much uncertainty, those who’ve done it know it’s exactly the opposite. I met so many interesting people and experienced something new every day.

That was the life I’d dreamed of but now I find myself doing what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. While I was  out there seeing glaciers in Alaska, doing yoga at an ashram in India and learning Thai cooking on an island in Thailand, I told myself that I wouldn’t get caught up again in the lifestyle that comes with earning a living.

I was sure I could work, earn some cash to fund the next trip and keep going that way until I found the place I wanted to settle in. Somehow the reality is far from that as I find that if I’m working I need a place to live then I need to keep working to fund that. It seems I’m being dragged kicking and screaming back into the world of 9-5 (at least) and limited travel time.

In truth I haven’t sold my dreams out just modified them so they’ll continue to be funded!  I’m now living in a place that enables shorter more frequent trips so I’m really working to fund those but as each day goes by and I get (a little) older, I find myself thinking I must get a move on and do MORE of the things I want to do before time steals those opportunities away. Yes, I’ll be signing up for Tango lessons soon…

Today I found myself looking at everyone around me on the train home and wondering how many of them were doing things they really wanted to do and how many of them were just ‘existing.’ A sad thought but enough to inspire me again to keep taking my worklife less seriously than many people around me think I should, continue doing whatever seems interesting and fun and most of all, keep walking to the beat of my own drum whether it’s playing rock n roll, blues, jazz or pop – I like a bit of variety! 

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