Jul 24 - Read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse in full

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 07-24-2011, 06:12 PM         #1
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s7venwords 
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Jul 24 - Read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse in full
 

 

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The tragic death of Amy Winehouse has made a huge impact on her family, her many fans and her celebrity friends - the outpouring of grief and the emotional tributes paid to the 27-year-old star show just how loved and respected she was for her talent.

However, one friend of Amy’s has gone further than just posting a 140 character message on Twitter. Clearly deeply affected by Amy’s passing, Russell Brand has used his website to speak about Amy’s untimely death, and his words are of course funny, moving and deeply saddening. Bearing in mind that Russ could have so easily followed the same fate as Amy, it’s no surprise that Russ has been moved to write at length about his friend…

For Amy

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.

I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. 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. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.

I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

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.

Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. 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 f*g and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fu*king genius.

Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will k!ll. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.


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 Read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse in full | heatworld.com

109 comments for "Jul 24 - Read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse in full"

 6 years ago '04        #2
deziking 81 heat pts81
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addiction is not a fu*king disease.
 07-24-2011, 06:34 PM         #3
Shang Tsung  OP
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this n*gga vocabulary is on deck and going ham
 07-24-2011, 06:38 PM         #4
MGOINS27  OP
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well put
 6 years ago '10        #5
hockeysniper 
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 deziking said:
addiction is not a fu*king disease.
ignorance at its finest
 6 years ago '07        #6
Jayceon 492 heat pts492
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 Shang Tsung said:
this n*gga vocabulary is on deck and going ham
who woulda thought. russell brand's doofy a.ss.
 6 years ago '04        #7
KURUPTION!!! 541 heat pts541
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 deziking said:
addiction is not a fu*king disease.
Why isn't it?
 6 years ago '08        #8
DooM 66 heat pts66
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 s7venwords said:

[pic - click to view]




Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will k!ll. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.
Truth!
 6 years ago '06        #9
King Allister 36 heat pts36
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rip...
 6 years ago '05        #10
WESTPHILLY7 
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they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

anybody who has friends or family on drugs, this sh*t id exactly how ive always felt but couldnt put it in words
 6 years ago '06        #11
*c.o.a.* 104 heat pts104
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 deziking said:
addiction is not a fu*king disease.
some ppl jus dont understand !
 07-24-2011, 08:24 PM         #12
iThink  OP
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 deziking said:
addiction is not a fu*king disease.
since you refuse to support your position, i'll respond with a simple: yes, it is.





brand said everything i've posted in threads here this weekend and more...beautifully put. he gets it. he gets it. somebody fu*king gets it. moving.
 07-24-2011, 08:27 PM         #13
s7venwords  OP
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 iThink said:
since you refuse to support your position, i'll respond with a simple: yes, it is.





brand said everything i've posted in threads here this weekend and more...beautifully put. he gets it. he gets it. somebody fu*king gets it. moving.
My dad died when he was 50 from a life time of booze and drugs, he was in and out of jail up until the last year of his life and I saw first hand that no matter what I said or threated he couldn't stop.He died alone in a vacant house in Taylor Michigan.
 6 years ago '05        #14
J 39 heat pts39
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 deziking said:
addiction is not a fu*king disease.
 6 years ago '04        #15
NBA Brawler 112 heat pts112
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R.I.P.
 6 years ago '06        #16
*c.o.a.* 104 heat pts104
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 s7venwords said:
My dad died when he was 50 from a life time of booze and drugs, he was in and out of jail up until the last year of his life and I saw first hand that no matter what I said or threated he couldn't stop.He died alone in a vacant house in Taylor Michigan.
damn sad story props man !
 07-24-2011, 08:32 PM         #17
iThink  OP
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 s7venwords said:
My dad died when he was 50 from a life time of booze and drugs, he was in and out of jail up until the last year of his life and I saw first hand that no matter what I said or threated he couldn't stop.He died alone in a vacant house in Taylor Michigan.
:(

and this...this is why it's not hard at all to believe that something this strong, that consumed this man's life that not even the love and concern of his own child could bring him from the dark, is medical. we need a reboot on how we deal with addiction so stories like this never happen again.

thank you for sharing.
 6 years ago '08        #18
tdnupe3 9 heat pts
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Wow! Truth...........................
 6 years ago '05        #19
G_M_D 
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Powerful truth, good post and RIP to Amy.
 6 years ago '05        #20
Cee4our 1 heat pts
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yea addiction is totally a disease...the other day i took a sh*t in a public bathroom and caught a case of addiction. now i gotta go get some antibiotics to clear it up.
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