Before I met her, I’d heard countless tales about Amy Winehouse. She’d secured the role of ‘loveable rogue’ at my new school [ a school of about 300 girls ] from the great many exploits she’d been on for such a tender age. When I finally got introduced to her, the first thing that struck me was how mature she looked. She was 16, but could definitely get into clubs, and I’m sure she did. Confident, cocky and a little bit crazy, it was impossible not to smile when you heard her voice – which was in itself, unmistakeable really.
A friendly girl, she’d always stop for a chat. ‘Helllllllllo laayyydies’ – she’d sing, thumb poking through jumper, piercings in all the fashionable places and – of course – a teacher on her tail. ‘Laterz!’ – and she was gone.
Course, the stuff that came out Amy’s mouth wasn’t always so friendly. I was sat in maths once when I heard her bellow a garbled array of insults to someone all the way down the other end of the corridor – probably a teacher – and, somehow, perhaps because she was such a good singer, it sounded like she was onstage – in Oliver maybe. Yes, before any mutterings of a music career, Amy was already an object of deep fascination, even in the microcosm that was her school.
I’ll never forget when she silenced a group of us at lunch, by taking out her newly pierced tit. It was 5 minutes later, her guitar teacher finally caught up with her: ‘Amy you missed your lesson..’ – he faltered. Amy responded by staring him dead in the eyes as she cleaned out the rest of her yoghurt pot with her tongue, which was also newly pierced. But this wasn’t an act. At least, it didn’t seem to be. I’m sure her closest friends at our school could vouch for that.
Amy’s refusal to sing ‘Feed The World’ in any other style besides Ella’s at our International Evening, was what led to her expulsion. No more Amy; the exciting teenager who loved her dad so much, she’d hold his hand on the way to the car after school. Where would she go now?
When we heard Amy had released an album, we weren’t surprised at all. Now, Amy’s MASSIVE personality had its own beehive, and by absolute default we would support this woman’s music no matter what, which was very easy! Every song on her album was a ‘tune’ – as they say – and the rest of the world agreed. A legend at 24. Where to from there?
When things started getting dark for Amy – it was hard to deny that she’d stepped on a rock n’ roll land-mine, and so this was kind of the path that followed. She’d be OK though, wouldn’t she? Was it really as bad as the news made out? Was she really not interested in the music anymore? But then there were the photos – which more than testified to the truth – that a light was going out. Her lovely cheeky grin had disappeared and in its place was a frightened gurn. Where was the old Amy?
Throughout what followed – which I won’t talk about because the national media – (of which I play a part) did that well enough – we never expected the inevitable to actually happen. But as Russell Brand quite pertinently put it in his own tribute – ‘the phone call will come’ – and it did, right before dessert at a wedding on Saturday. I must have looked like I was enjoying that chocolate mousse to the point of tears.
And so it goes. The world has lost a little ray of sunshine and our hearts go out to Amy’s parents and loved ones. I think I speak for us all when I say that we Mount girls will remember Amy forever.