Thursday, June 26, 2008

Albert Camus, Amy Winehouse, Baudelaire, destructive artists, le bien par le mal...

by J J Cohen
His inner vacancy, in painful alliance with a sumptuous outer world, makes him break out in an epistemological sweat.
That's just one line from a beautifully composed meditation on Amy Winehouse, destructive artists, and "dead letters to the world" ... written by someone who has not even listed to her music. The lines refer specifically to Albert Camus, feeling like a stranger in Poland. Then this post, after listening to some Winehouse:
Winehouse’s music gathers grief and pity. It may be a pleasure - an aesthetic pleasure - to hear her music, but the pleasure has to do with letting go of the natural noise of good for the sake of a free-fall into the perverse and malign. Along with Charles Baudelaire, Malcolm Lowry, and many others, Winehouse is part of the expeditionary team to hell.
Both posts are worth reading, even if you don't know Amy Winehouse's music.

I can't say I know her work all that well. I first heard "Rehab" when one of our blog commentators -- a pastor -- had a link to her You Tube video off his own blog. Shortly after that, the Cohen family was headed north on our annual summer road trip to Maine when one of the children declared the weakness of their bladder (typically my kids do this by belting out a familiar Beatles' tune, but with the words 'Gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee oh gotta pee. I must find a toilet, gotta pee.' Can you guess what song that is?) The only place with a loo nearby was a giant Target store, so we pulled over quickly. As an impulse buy, Wendy grabbed the latest Winehouse CD for us to enjoy in the car (we were getting tired of the urinary tract version of Beatles songs). I remember all this so well because the second or third song on the CD had a great line in it that asks, dramatically, "What kind of fuckery is this?"

Three year old Katherine, of course, immediately shouted out "What is fuckery? I don't understand fuckery. Mom, dad, what's fuckery?"

She asked that question again and again throughout our trip to Maine.

1 comment:

Sarah Rees Jones said...

Amy W looked good and sounded great at Glastonbury (no, I am not there - wish I was!). Eddy Grant - just now - is even better - and the sun still shines ...