Monday, July 23, 2012

What a loss

 I didn't discover her till just before Back to Black was released. I'd heard the odd track from Frank, but hadn't really sat down and listened. I bought Back to Black when it came out and as I tend to do when I like music, I listened to nothing else for months. I knew all the words and was singing along without analysing them deeply - I'd listen to it on the school run, or running errands or driving home from work in rush hour traffic. My mind was always on several things. Then I remember one sunny day driving to visit a friend down at the coast so having time to really listen to what Amy and I were duetting. A cold chill ran up my spine in stark contrast to the beautiful weather that day. I remember my thoughts as if it was yesterday. It was before all the drugs and drinking and tabloid headlines had begun to appear. I remember thinking - these lyrics are mindblowingly profound for one so young, so moving, so brilliant but if I was your mother, Amy, I would be utterly terrified by the depth of feelings you are expressing.

For the next few years the world watched as she slowly died in front of our eyes. Some of us tried to hide from the pain of it all but most lapped it up, gloating. As often happens in today's society, people couldn't differentiate between soap opera and reality. A young woman, a poet, a musical genius was was slowly slipping away before us as people enjoyed the show. There was a terrible inevitability about it. I hoped and hoped but I didn't believe, not really.

It took me nearly eleven months to listen to her again after that day in July in Tuscany when I turned on Facebook and saw that someone had put the status 'RIP Amy'. I didn't need to look any further, I knew immediately what must have happened. Even now each track is greeted by floods of tears, thinking what might have been, and imagining the pain of what she was trying to share with us.

She died with her best work still ahead of her. Listening to her songs on Youtube hurts, but knowing what could have been hurts so much more. The silence she left where the music should have been is hard to bear.

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