23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse, RIP

Another star is gone.

I remember some years ago, after the death of Anna Nicole Smith, I sat at a table in a restaurant with Vox Cantoris, and we agreed just how sad it was.  I admitted that I never thought I would feel as much pity for her as I did, and I said:  "Was there no one in this woman's life who loved her?"

I agree with those who say Winehouse had great talent.  She was one of the few modern singers who had a distinctive sound, who was not, it seemed to me, a product, or a brand.  There was an honesty, an integrity about her music, which is lacking in so many other stars, who promote  politics, or sex, in their noise.  For her, it was about the music.

Her talents brought her wealth and fame and a million cameras, all pointed at her, chronicling her every move, her every misstep.  She became more famous for her downward spiral than for her music, and she went into the rehab she sung she never would.  But, as we have often seen, stars have ways of deceiving themselves.  Or perhaps those around her put pressure on her.  She made money not only for herself, but for her record label, her managers, her band, her roadies, publicists, lawyers and so on, and so on.  She made no one money in rehab.  The pressure must have been intense to get out of rehab and back onto the stage, and make more money for the machine.

And now, her demons have claimed her.

We humans often covet wealth and fame, but at times like this, they seem like no great gifts to me.  I would almost wish to see a friend in hell as to wish this kind of wealth, temptation and scrutiny upon them.  I often dream of wealth, of earning fame and recognition through my talents, of being able to tell my boss to stick it, of never going back to that place again, of doing as I please.  But it's a sham.  I am better off as I am.  Greater wealth would be a source of greater temptation for me.

We often pray for the poor, and do our best to help the poor, and it is good, and just, and noble that we should do so, but I believe the wealthy and the famous need prayers as well, that prosperity does not tempt them to foolishness, that fame does not lead them to arrogance, and that people around them care for them and love them, for themselves.  Pray for her soul, and the souls of others like her, whose great gifts bring great curses, and who bear a burden few of us will ever know, or understand, and give thanks that it is so. 

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