Monday, November 26, 2007

You know they're no good

One of our favourite ways of passing the time is dissecting newspaper reporting styles, but even by our contemptuously cynical standards the Brighton Evening Argus on Friday printed a piece so completely mad it must have only made it in because the layout team realised they were running a page short. It starts promisingly with the headline:

Winehouse says 'no no no' to Rehab with The Argus

So what could that be? Do they have an exclusive on Troubled Star Amy Winehouse seeking to come to terms with her issues?

What do you think?

We tried to make her go to Rehab, but she said: "No, no, no".

Beehived crooner Amy Winehouse has astonishingly rejected an offer of a champagne and canape laden interview with The Argus at Brighton Marina's Rehab bar.

We invited the hellraising Amy to the popular venue with the promise she could unburden her soul to one of our top reporters over a leisurely lunch.

The rejection, as the troubled star perpares for a rare gig in the city, has left us and a legion of fans gutted.

"Astonishing". Local newspaper fails to arrange interview with celebrity. Of course it's in a bar called Rehab, because if the story didn't come off, there's your angle even if they don't get to serve bottles of champagne to a woman commonly thought to have a major drink problem. It's almost like dealing with General Musharraf. Note also that this is "a rare gig", like she's Madonna.

Talented Winehouse is due to perform in front of a sell-out crowd at the Brighton Centre on Monday and many of those who bought tickets hoped she would open her heart during a rare visit to the city.

Instead of snapping up our offer, the 24-year-old instead went back to black, donning a short sleeved mini dress at the court appearance of caged hubby Blake Fielder-Civil.

Eh? The gig is tonight and yet they wanted to take her to Brighton a week in advance? Yeah, how dare she go to court to see her husband's bail proceedings rather than give another rambling, answer-free interview nobody reads.

Time her "gutted" "legion of fans" spoke.

Kelly James, 23, from Brighton, said: "I thought she might say a few words before the gig. I was hoping. I guess she is too busy trying to sort out Blake at the moment."

Rehab owner John Lardner said: "It is disappointing, I know a lot of the guys here were looking forward to meeting her."

That's one person who's not really that disappointed and the bar owner. It's virtually a march on Island records.

However Winehouse's record label, Island, said they were unable to fix up the interview.

A spokeswoman said: "There's no way she can do it."

Argh, still half a page to fill. Quick, think hard, team...

It comes as the city braces itself for the arrival of drug addict Babyshambles rocker Pete Doherty.

The former squeeze of leggy model Kate Moss is set to play the Brighton Centre on Sunday, just a day before Winehouse.

Security around the Brighton Centre during both gigs is expected to be beefed up with burly staff being provided by the pair's record labels.

However Brighton Centre staff said they would not be laying on any extra staff.

A spokeswoman said: "I don't think there will be anything out of the ordinary for either of them. It's just business as usual."

Again, so much journalese to admire. "Leggy model Kate Moss", and never mind that at 5ft 6 she is commonly thought to be far less leggy than the modelling industry standard. "Burly staff provided by the pair's record labels", as if Island and Rough Trade have bouncers on their payroll rather than it being Showsec's business.

Still, at least those going have things in perspective.

Thousands of fans have already snapped up tickets to see both singers.

Karen Hoy, 40, of Brighton, said: "I can't wait to see Amy Winehouse on Monday as she is currently the number one reality show.

"I am going along in the hope she will sing, however, there is an element of voyeurism about going to see her, as her on-off stage performance is a good old fashioned rock and roll lifestyle which is not manufactured by some PR company.

"It's just real life tragedy unfolding like Kurt Cobain and Elvis. You want to be able to tell your friends that you saw Winehouse before she died."

No, Evening Argus, nothing worthy of comment there. Obviously nobody really calls anyone "currently the number one reality show" or talks in terms of "good old fashioned rock and roll lifestyle which is not manufactured by some PR company", but as we say, space to fill. Good that she's hoping Winehouse will be singing, though. It sounds like no more than Ms Hoy deserves to see, although Amy ODing live on stage might just edge it out for her.

Sussex Police also confirmed it had no plans for extra officers to patrol the Brighton Centre.

A spokeswoman said: "We trust them to behave themselves."

Tch. Redlands, the Viper Room and the Brighton Centre - it's the internationally recognised trinity of music business debauchery. Don't the police even know that? Who's paying their wages?

Still, every cloud has a silver lining:

While the champagne may have been put on ice for Amy, Rehab is offering a lucky reader a meal for two at its Seasons restaurant to mark the singer's appearance in Brighton.

Email us at and tell us why you think Amy would make a great date. Answers should be no more than 100 words and entrants must be over 18. The usual Newsquest competition terms and conditions apply.

Yeah. That Amy Winehouse, the one who you know is an unreliable drunken heroin-head who won't even talk to the press? You'd love to go on a date with her, you would. We'd like to see how many entries that gets.


Danep said...

Amy at Brighton

Certainly an experience. Took three hours for her to turn up; she didnt start until about 10.15 and by then the crowd were in a bad mood and had started booing and slow hand clapping. When she did appear the whole experience was shambolic. Her backing band were awful, out of tune, badly mixed and ego centric. How many times do we really have to `appreciate’ the backing band for gods sake. Amy herself was woeful, her heart not in it. She changed the set order at will, confusing her horn section and the rest.She tried to learn chords to songs whilst she was singing them and then gave up and put her guitar back down. I doubt there was any rehearsal earlier.
Amy can sing a damn good tune, but the mix was so bad you couldnt hear her over the crescendo of horns, drums and guitar. Sack the sound mixer for sure. The whole set needs a rethink, too much loud brash, clash, bang, wallop and not enough clear pure voice. She needs to throw in the odd unplugged type number now and again so the audience can appreciate the voice.(which is what we are there for)

The numbers she did do were all forgettable from the opening shambolic non entity to some of her biggest hits. Only Back to Black and her rendition of Cupid bringing any relief to the ears.

After an hour the whole band and amy simply walked off, probably in disgust, as she had lost the crowd long before she started. So the slow hand clapping started again, whistles and a few `mores’. They did eventually come out again to do two more numbers, some didn't stay to see them. Amy did apologise at this point for her lateness and put it down to her current depression concerning her husband but it was to little too late. I dont think I have ever been to a gig where so many people around me didnt even clap the person they went to see…..the dissapointment was palpable…

Amy is a huge talent, but she really needs to sort herself out and get a decent production and sound mix behind her. In her present state of mind she can be forgiven for the lack of heart and soul at this gig, but lets not let it happen too often. The only good thing that might come out of all this is that she might write some good songs in future about these depressing events in her life right now. We can but wait with bated breath…..

Simon said...

Er, yeah.

Still, I imagine Karen Hoy enjoyed it.

simon h b said...

My Dad used to work as security at the Brighton Centre - I say "security", he mostly sat behind a desk at the entrance on to Churchill Square to stop people mucking about on the footbridge. He once met Meat Loaf in the toilets.

I would have been happy to supply the Argus with a few hundred words from my perspective.

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