The Live Like a VIP team have all read (or are currently reading) one book that is close to my heart because it’s about Amy Winehouse (photographed with me above). I used to work with Amy at a news agency called WENN and the book Amy Winehouse – The Untold Story by Chloe Govan details this time in Amy’s life and other things I experienced with her…plus other information I seriously had no idea about.
The biography about Amy made headlines in The Sun newspaper with it’s shocking line that Amy tried to commit suicide when she was just 10 years old after her parents announced they were splitting up. The Amy I knew, when she worked at WENN at the age of 18, put a brave face on that earlier trauma as she was one of the strongest girls I knew. Even as a teenager, Amy acted like a mother figure. I was older than her (about 21) and yet she’d been at the agency longer than me so she taught me about what I needed to do…and then gave me a cheeky wink and told me that I could get away with having about 6 cigarette breaks a day. I didn’t smoke, but I did go outside to get the gossip as long as I could get away with it.
Normally Amy and I talked about boys. She asked me about my ‘fella’ and at the time I was in a long distance relationship with someone Amy thought sounded like a loser. She was dating the news editor Chris and I thought he was lovely, but Amy would always smoke and complain. Even though she was younger than me, it felt like I was talking with someone worldlier and wiser – as she puffed on the cigarette I almost felt like I was gossiping with Dot Cotton from Eastenders, a prettier version. But Amy was trouble too..
One day, I was invited to the pub with the rest of the agency. Amy had left by then to pursue her music but she turned up and started smoking something that was definitely stronger than a regular cigarette. My sister was there and she’d never experienced that before and I remember bribing her not to tell our mum what we’d been up to.
The next time I saw Amy was when she’d made it. After WENN I moved on to the Mail On Sunday, and I attended a celebrity party – I think it was the ELLE Style Awards. Amy was mobbed! When she walked in, the paparazzi went crazier than when some A’list actresses walked in. The paparazzi loved her that much (and obviously she loved them I think). Despite being busy, Amy sought me out rather than me approaching her…as I was scared she would be too busy for me. But Amy always had time for people she cared about, and yet again she asked me about my ‘fella’ (who I had ditched b y that time but replaced with someone equally unsuitable). It was pre-Blake and Amy was with someone called Alex. I sensed he was a nice guy, but too nice for Amy who thrived on drama.
Throughout our careers (I moved from the Mail on Sunday to the London Paper and to The Sunday Mirror and Amy moved from one chart-topping single to another to THAT album to those marital dramas) we continued to see each other at various levels of intimacy. I hung out with her in the Hawley Arms pub in Camden, she cooked chicken for me in her flat, I got invited into her area at Glastonbury, I was there the night she emerged from the Sanderson Hotel in those bloodied ballet slippers, I attended one of her birthday parties on the rooftop of the Century members club in London and I even chatted to her in Prince’s Dressing Room. (It was the final night of Prince’s 21 gigs at the O2 and Amy said she was nervous about performing at Prince’s after-party).
But maybe all my tales are for another time. This blog post is not about me, it’s about the new book. Order it from Amazon and you won’t regret it…and maybe one day I’ll publish my own memories. What do you think?
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