Amy Winehouse — a champion for a lost cause

Picture by AP, courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.

Picture by AP, courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.

By Calvin Palmer

Amy Winehouse enters the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, today, where she was cleared of assaulting dancer Sherene Flash while backstage at the Prince’s Trust Ball in Berkeley Square, central London, last September.

District Judge Timothy Workman said: “Having heard the evidence from all the witnesses, I cannot be sure that this was not an accident. The charge is dismissed and the defendant discharged.”

The picture of Winehouse is my picture of the day. I cannot quite decide if she resembles Elsie Tanner on acid or Keith Richards in drag, and on acid.

But it is the trademark cigarette that makes me warm to Winehouse. It is defiant. It tells the world, “I will do my own thinking, thank you very much.”

Her looks and manner are perfect to become a figurehead for all the oppressed smokers in Britain; nay, the world!

She could don the mantle of Boadicea who challenged the might of the Roman Empire circa AD 60. With her two-tone hair and heavy mascara, Winehouse would strike terror in the hearts of health ministers, and those squeaky clean medical talking heads who ‘know’ what is right for each and every one of us, in much the same way as Boadicea did to Roman legions.

I learned about the exploits of Boadicea while at junior school in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Boadicea she was then, in 1963, and Boadicea she is now.

The revised name of Boudica probably gave some academic a bestselling book and professorial chair but for me it is, and always will be, Boadicea.

With Winehouse leading the charge, daubing faces with woad would be optional, we smokers could reclaim the pubs, stadia, parks, beaches and other public places where our dying art has been banished.

And following our triumph, the Benson & Hedges Cup could be restored to cricket; the John Player Special Formula One car could once again scream round the Grand Prix circuits of the world; Park Drive could again publish football books.

Cinema audiences could marvel at the surreal adverts for Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges. Manikin and Hamlet adverts could grace television screens.

And the nation would be better for it. After all, happiness is a cigar called Hamlet.

All of that may seem like the stuff of dreams but for me, and many others, it was a living reality.

Where did it all go so badly wrong? Answers please on a postcard.

[Based on a report by The Daily Telegraph.]

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Amy Winehouse — a champion for a lost cause

  1. AndyP

    Ah but Calvin there’s no smoke without fire 😉

  2. Glen P

    I bought my little one a “Curious George” book to read to him. It was a bit dated, circa 1959, alas, from my own youth. I couldn’t believe what I saw. On page three there was a little illustration in the park of mom, dad, and the kids, and Father was smoking a cigarette. How times have changed. You know, the parents in that illustration were the “Greatest Generation,” parents of the babyboomers and almost all of them smoked then. Are they any less great for smoking?

    I am just sad I think. I recently stopped smoking and miss them tremendously. Cigarettes are just part of my rebel without a clue identity. (Maybe that’s why I like Amy Winehouse so much.) But it just didn’t make sense to smoke. Cigarettes are $9.00/pack in New York City and the 14 hour flights to Manila less nictoine are killing me. Americans aren’t the only idiots on this issue although I suspect it is that US dominated World Health Organzation that made this all happen but you can’t even smoke in a Paris cafe or Glasgow pub anymore. Half the charm was in the dark smokiness of those little dens of inequity. Sometimes I want some decadence. A squeaky clean world is boring. When the French and Scots succumb, it’s almost all over for the smokers. You can smoke freely still in Kuwait City, Dar es Salam, Bagdad, Dharan and Mogadishu but that is small comfort.

    So, I punked out and stopped the habit. Ok, enough sniveling from me about my breakup with my first and longest love, tobacco. I’ll miss you so much.

  3. AndyP

    You can’t smoke in a Paris cafe???!!!! 😮 Sacre bleu! I’m gobsmacked.

  4. Glen P

    What is this world coming to?

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