I don’t comment on popular things often, but it seems to me that something can’t go unsaid.
The latest on Amy Winehouse, who is the UK’s response to Britney Spears as far as musical trainwrecks go, is that she had to be literally pushed onto the stage to perform, after being booed off the stage in Belgrade.
What I find highly distressing are the comments on that article. They’re basically lambasting her up one side and down another. Which, considering that Winehouse is in dire need of time off and professional help, is outright cruel.
Now, just for the record: I’m not an Amy Winehouse fan by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I a Britney fan; I’m no longer 15. Those two women do have one thing in common: they no longer have a choice as to whether or not they want to be on stage.
You may not recall this, but it wasn’t that long ago since Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, won a court case that granted him permanent guardianship over Britney (video is the closest reference I can find to the case). In other words, Britney, who is – dare I point out? – thirty years old and a mother of two children, no longer has any say in what she does, or whether or not she holds onto the assets that she gained by route of her showbiz career. And this is after she had made headlines when she sheared off her hair.
Taking that, plus the MTV Movie Awards show, which was nowhere near on par with the shows she used to put on when she was about 18-20, I realized that Britney was, effectively, sick of being a show puppet. I don’t think that she had made music that she genuinely liked for a long time, and after she was effectively reduced to being paraded like a sex-appeal show dog after the flash-marriage, the other marriage, the kids, the divorce, she wanted nothing to do with the stage. So, as most people tend to do when she reached her limit, she snapped.
We know now that the sheared hair, etc. was a scream of help on her end. Spears had been in the spotlight almost continuously since she was a kid on the Mickey Mouse Club. We’ve already borne witness to how continuous stage exposure affects someone; Michael Jackson is an ideal case in point. And after Spears’s father pretty much took ownership of her – trademark, money, music – it was inevitable that she was going to snap one way or the next. And she did. She’s a lot better after the rehab/therapy, but the battle’s not over.
So now there’s Amy Winehouse, who was strung out on stage in Belgrade.
Let’s state a known truth: the music business was never known for holiness. I know it’s no longer the eighties, and if a rock star shows up on stage now high as a kite in this day and age, the audience will have none of it. But there’s a clear and distinctive line between an occasional drink or two to calm pre-stage nerves, and what happened with Winehouse. I took a look at the videos and said, “She does NOT need to be on stage right now.”
I don’t think Amy Winehouse wanted to be on stage that night. I got proved right when I saw the article that the bodyguards had to push her physically towards the mic.
Which makes me ask, when is the last time that she even liked performing? And who’s behind the scenes, pushing her at all of this? Yes, she may have a drug problem, but that being beside the point completely. The biggest problem here is that there is a woman on stage, who clearly and distinctly does not want to be on that stage. And on top of that, she has thousands booing the resulting trainwreck, with very few people aware that she has no say in it to begin with. This does a number on a person, and not in the best ways.
Amy Winehouse does not, does not need to be on stage. She hadn’t needed to be on stage since the first time she went to rehab. And it’s not because of the sort of music she plays or how she dresses: it’s because she wants nothing to do with the stage and needs time – and professional help – to sort herself out. Most crucially, I want to know who is behind the scenes who thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to drag her physically to the mic. That person/people need to be eviscerated.
Yes, the show must go on…but I think that Winehouse’s shows should not have been scheduled to begin with.