Extraordinary English vocal talent Amy Winehouse broke hearts when she died at 27 in 2011 from alcohol poisoning. Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Amy, only heightens our sadness as we relive it.
As Amy demonstrates, Winehouse didn’t so much die as orchestrate her own disappearance, a phenomenon associated with archetypal Neptune, whose bailiwick also includes drugs, addiction, seduction, artistic genius and a state of mind in which merging with another realm is the default.
Winehouse’s Neptunian proclivities manifested early on. She wrote poetry. She had an absent father, Mitch Winehouse, whom she adored anyway, and made his disappearance her own through bouts with bulemia that her mother never felt strong enough to address. Even then, fading away at the physical level – which suggests the dissolution of psyche – held appeal.
After she got her first real money from a record deal, she bought a flat in London, essentially where she could smoke weed. Booze for breakfast became a habit. Then came the seductive forces – in the form of boyfriend Blake Fielder, later her husband, and to whom she said, “I’ll do anything you do.” The proverbial “love is a drug” – including cocaine and heroin – literally applies here.
Some people close to Winehouse were ethical enough to do – or, as least, attempt to do – right by her. Others, including her father, do not. Even when Fielder is arrested in 2007, Winehouse’s pattern of wanting to vanish – as though she desired to become part of the very transcendence that fueled her imagination – was too ingrained to matter.
Awards couldn’t effect a permanent turnaround, either. In fact, as she told a loyal childhood friend, during a period when she seemed to have been drug-free, such accolades are no fun without drugs. “This was someone who was trying to disappear,” says hip-hop artist and actor Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), even as she wowed her musical idol Tony Bennett during a recording session. “Life teaches you how to live it, if you live long enough,” says Bennett in the film. Winehouse didn’t get a chance to test the validity of that adage.
As far as Winehouse was concerned, “All I’m good for is making tunes.” The ones she gave us constitute a small but cherished output. Amy is a worthy companion to her compendium.
Archetypes: Musician. Artist. Poet. Addict. Easily Seduced. Intoxicated. Self-Deceiver.
Astrology Archetypes: ♆ ( Neptune)