On Amy Winehouse and Cigarettes

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

You sit down, you sit back and listen and realise it is difficult, difficult, difficult to see Amy Winehouse in other than the Wildean sense of the life of the artist being “a long and lovely suicide.”

She’s singing “We only said goodbye/ With words, I died a hundred times/ You go back to her/ I go back to black. . .” in that full, high voice of hers, that delicate harlequin voice. And you think of those naïve, beautiful, fin de siecle British Aesthetes, of Wilde principally who loved the idea and form of the cigarette, and whom you’ve loved from the very first you met him at some now obscure library half a lifetime ago.

You remember the lines, Dylan Thomas to his father, credo of poets everywhere:

“Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Ending. . .

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

And yes, yes, yes you lean back and think and wonder how quickly YOU’RE raging and burning and of the time when you to would have faded to black, leaving a legacy of ash. A time when you, poet in your fashion, artist in your style, go back, go back to. . . Black.

We are writing, and living and loving more intensely than anyone else; we are killing ourselves elegantly and cannot help ourselves. But let our suicides be on our terms, after a well lit well drawn out life of the most dazzling, dazzling and brief delight.

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