Saturday, July 23, 2011
Amy Winehouse: DYING all the way to the top.
Amy Winehouse died today presumably of an overdose and it made me think of a BANKSY quote I read somewhere; "All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?"
I Love this quote. Clearly Amy is a different type of artist, but it speaks more to an artists willingness to suffer as long as the suffering isn't more hard work at their craft. Artist's love their suffering..well really humans love their suffering. Suffering is something we endure while on our path to success, but then for those proud few successful types whom make it to the top, what do they find when they get there? MORE SUFFERING.
Is it because there is suffering everywhere and it's inescapable? I'm not so sure. I mean yes of course I am aware of the suffering all around us, NAY I am aware of the suffering that FUELS US!
.........We are a world built on the backs of others suffering, so yes its easy to imagine that suffering is an inescapable beast that is hot on our trails, but that's not how I honestly see it. I think we NEED to suffer to believe our lives are worth something. This could be b/c of our history/psychology our own personal pathology, but in any case I think it's there b/c we bring it with us wherever we go and we set it down in place whenever we reach our next goal. Case in point; Amy Winehouse ...or take your pick from a long list of artists/musicians whom reach the coveted spot of super stardom or fame only to let that status unravel them through new levels of indulgence and suffering.
Yes this is inspired by Amy Winehouse's recent passing, but really it's more personal than that. Amy's drug use wasn't a secret. Her last performance was a shitshow fiasco, her relationship proudly displayed it and her songs were cadences to debauchery. So we aren't surprised, especially when deaths happen due to overdoses in the Rock N Roll world, but what really compelled me to write on this topic was the kitchen table conversation I was having here at 660 about a room mates Facebook post that spawned a bunch of hate for "junky artists". I'm currently taking a much needed break from Facebook, so I didn't read the posts, but hearing how many people responded with disdain for her because of the obviousness of her bad habits made me wonder if we would respond similarly if we lost one of our own "junky artists" here in Jersey City? These types of reactions happen all the time. It wasn't any one status message/reaction or commentary that inspired this, its the pattern we all play a part in. A famous somebody passes away and there are reactions on both ends, many are usually dramatic and often there is a call for us all to wake up and quit giving so much credence to one druggy performer's death when there are countless deaths that happen in vein each day for which we should be outraged over. I get it, but I think disdain for the artists that can't manage their vices should be reexamined. I don't see them the same way I see any hustler on the street trying to get his fix at all costs. These are damaged persons, yet talented in their own right and seeing talent go to waste is disappointing and at times aggrivating, however I find their plight is worth understanding because at times it was manageable and treatable..through art. They just forgot how to keep the magic, and it's something easily forgotten, it's intangible.
I lost a tenant a few years back because of a "bad habit" and even though we weren't that close, all you could feel was compassion for him. Good people have bad habits too. He was good people. He suffered, for whatever reason and even suffered by not being able to suffer. Being clean was hard for him, so every day was a struggle. For some of us we can't go a day without a beer or a trip to the bar to see whats good downtown. We can't be alone, hate knowing there's a party going on that we aren't at or an opening everyone will be talking about. And when we get there...we bring our bad habits. Our lil pocket full of suffering.
What would the JC art scene, or perhaps any art/music scene be without its vices? If you live in Jersey City, you've loved an addict. If you party in J.C you are friends with more then a few. Is the vice the issue, or is it how often and how hard that vice is being indulged in? I'm a fan of letting people have their vices as long as they are getting the job done. That job being their art/music/ etc; That's why were here right?? You chose this life so you could be a successful and respected artist right? Well unfortunately when you got here you found out that all the other scenesters were out celebrating something. Maybe it was their opening, their closing, their performance or the fact that it's Tuesday and their day job is done for now..so you partied with them. Whats the difference between you and Amy Winehouse? If you worked hard as she had and achieved her level of success would you have done it with or without your lil friendly vices...and what about all the lil vices that come with the friends that follow you up there?
We're built for endurance, so we test ourselves. We tell ourselves this is what "fun" is, what "rock n roll" is and what being young and makin it happen feels like.
and many forget that when the party is over they should keep making the music, the art, THE MAGIC..
Say what you want about Amy, but she was a great singer, and a balls rockstar. Perhaps she suffered too much/too often to stay focused.
R.I.P Amy Winehouse
R.I.P to all the would-be Winehouses we will lose too early to vice.