Hugs and Kisses #47: Amy Winehouse, Australia, Rehab, Etc


Tired of her yet? Even Everett is.

Everett True is the “roving ambassador” of Plan B Magazine, an author of more rock books than we have spots on our Amazon Wish List, a Wikipedia entry, a Sound of the City columnist, an Australian transplant. Plus, he belongs to an elite membership of people who’re both Not One of Those Who Has a Job and Not One of Those Who Has a Home. Infuriate him with terribly banal shrimp on the barbie jokes at — The SOC bad joker

Hugs and Kisses

The Displaced Outbursts of Everett True

This Week: basking in tropical Brisbane

I don’t like listening to Amy Winehouse in Australia, not here where it stays 28C and gets dark at 5.30pm.

It’s a shocking discovery, if not entirely unexpected. In my old life, Ms Winehouse signified late night sophistication, the allure of cheap neon, the allure of being part of the now, warmth, familiarity, integrity in a world hardly based on same, nostalgia for the shakes, slippers carelessly discarded on bedroom stairs with cassette tapes lying shattered all around, revelry with no desire for illumination, the usual. Now, she sounds hasty, not bawdy exactly, but tarnished by association. What use do I have for intimacy when surrounded by so much open green, refreshed by tropical rain? I can still delight in her voice, appreciate the thrill of her chase as she momentarily gives herself over to The Song but now I find myself turned off by the outmoded clutter of production, the reference to the Present Day (whatever that signifies). The horns on “Rehab” still sound kittenish and coquettish but… y’know… rehab? Despite my announcement to bemused Aussies that I can’t be handling alcohol right now because I may have handled alcohol too much in the past, I don’t make a song and dance about it. Or do I? Is it simple jealousy that makes me unable to appreciate Ms Winehouse right now?

I don’t know (shrugs).

One reason I appreciated Ms Winehouse so much when I first heard her (roundabouts last Christmas, 30 years after everyone else) was because I usually feel so alienated by the zeitgeist — all those tawdry talent contests on TV, all that midriff flesh hanging loose — it felt so comforting to be in the muesli-bar aisles and grooving to the same sounds as The Herd. Now, I get that feeling from Kate Nash (only yesterday in Woolworth’s) but not Ms Winehouse. She’s too worldly. Plus, I never could stand the coffeehouse gentrification of Nina Simone. Now, when I hear those beautiful muted horns on Frank’s “Help Yourself,” I just yearn for a rerun of Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings’ triumphant rerun of Marva Whitney’s times and voices.

I’m reading Jonathan Coe. He came free with an airport copy of The Times. He greatly depresses me. Partly because his tales of “prog rock, punk rock, bad poetry, first love (etc)” remind me of John Braine (who always greatly depressed me), and partly because he reminds me of Amy Winehouse — cutting edge culture commodified for Those With Jobs, Those With Homes.

I think I need some Ivor Cutler. And fast.

And I still have no idea who Slick Rick is.