Seeing the new Amy Winehouse documentary is devastating. It is also beautifully done. It's devastating because that life/death cycle never seems to go away where celebrities who make it fast and BIG are concerned. There's no new information in it because it's always the same---parents who want the money, record companies who want touring, evil boyfriends using them for money and dragging them down with them.
This isn't a new phenomenon, of course. I'm only going to go back to the Sixties with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Same flame-outs, but a slightly different time.
I knew all three. Without tipping off all the stories from the book I'm writing, Janis wanted to screw society because of her childhood, Jimi was a serious addict from a very young age and I believe he would have od'd whether he was famous or not (he actually passed out during an interview I was doing with him in his bedroom!), and Jim was simply too sensitive an artist to deal with the real world. (Jim used LSD so much, one night I ran into him in a market and he was so high he was just staring at colors on cereal boxes all night).
But the people from the Sixties were not subjected to the internet and the brutal papparazzis. If they had been, I believe they would have died earlier than they did.
Michael Jackson was the first, more contemporary celebrity to die of fame. One could have just substituted his face for Amy's in the documentary. Same arc, different faces. Michael's life was worse, though, his parental abuse started really young. But the money force was the same in both the Jackson and the Winehouse households.
ALL OF THESE EXTRAORDINARILY TALENTED, FRAGILE CELEBRITIES WANTED OUT. TO THEM, DEATH WAS THE ONLY WAY. THEY HAD NO SUPPORT.
A SEPARATE CASE OF HORROR:
I couldn't help but think of sweet Diana, used and then spit out by the monarchy. Too young, too much unavoidable publicity, too fragile....gone in a blaze of camera flashes. She couldn't sing, but she may as well have.
I hope this ANY documentary can help this pattern, but I doubt it. There will always be fragile talents and greedy people.
I REST MY CASE.