Getty Images via Huffington Post
It never occurred to me that Amy Winehouse and Russell Brand were friends. In retrospect it makes sense, though, because Russell Brand is pals with comedian Noel Fielding, who also wears his hair in an occasional bouffant. (Yes, that must’ve been their social connection—the hair.)
Today, Russell Brand took to his weblog with something titled “For Amy,” striking a careful balance between eulogy and cautionary tale. It’s flowery, maybe, but undoubtedly sincere; it’s a tribute to Winehouse’s spirit and talent, but it is also a narrative about Brand’s own sense of helplessness.
Brand writes that he’d thought of his acquaintance as “just some twit in a pink satin jacket”—until, that is, he finally saw her perform:
From her oddly dainty presence, that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. … Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe … nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a f—-ing genius.
Brand, who became sober at age 27, on the “toxic aura” of addiction that “prevents connection”:
I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom: they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil.
He seems to acknowledge that, so awed was he by Winehouse’s rising star, he only belatedly recognized the signs of her interminable spiral downward. He concludes with a chilling call-to-action, because all addicts either eventually recover, or die:
Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had, but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.
These are just clippings, but it’s well worth reading in its entirety. (Then again, Brand’s website is slow-loading this afternoon; fortunately, TMZ has also published the full text of Brand’s blog.)