Director, Maurice Linnane
There is currently a new film documentary out about Amy Winehouse. Since her death she seems to have become more popular. I don’t listen to music. I’ve read more about Amy Whitehouse than I’ve heard her voice. There she was in the pages of some tabloid falling over drunk, or out of her face on drugs, or both. Reams of newsprint on her boyfriend who went to jail because he was caught with drugs. Amy was always on the cusp of going into rehab. Then she died.
Yet here she was at the height of her fame, in Dingle of all places. Think of Father Ted and you’ve got Dingle. It’s falling into the Atlantic and nobody seems to have noticed or cared. They create a music festival to fix the church up, it needs a bit of tiling and perhaps a new roof. Invitations go out to stars such as Martha Wainwright and Amy Winehouse and they come. Perhaps they don’t know where Dingle is.
They send a driver to pick up Amy on that cold, wet and wintry December night. He doesn’t know who Amy Winehouse is and doesn’t really care. It’s a hire. He holds up a sign with her name on it. She’s there with two backup guitar players. Big hair but no big entourage that’s it. I like that about her. The driver tells us the viewers when he saw her he asked where her mum was. She looked so young and so tiny. She laughed and said she was in London.
She knows her music. She was asked about her influences. I don’t really speak that language. I could follow the conversation part ways. She said she liked Kylie until she was about six. I still like Kylie. Then from six to eight she liked Madonna. I still like Madonna. Then it was hiphop. I don’t know what that is. Gospel music. Then it was jazz and Thelonius Monk. I was lost by that stage. I’m aware that it’s a kind of improvisation with musicians working off each other around a common thread, but music isn’t rational it’s emotional.
Amy Winehouse can walk the walk and talk the talk, but she doesn’t so much sing as inhabit a song. Love is a Losing Game finds a voice that shows how to shred itself and bleed notes on a stage. Back to Black is a simple enough song, a motif with words wound around that simple refrain, but for Amy it’s personal. She means what she sings. Amy Winehouse here is humble and delightful. She lives on-stage. Dingle saw the best of her. Sadly we’ll see no more or hear no more. A genuine God-given talent.