As I was happily tweeting Saturday morning I switched over to Facebook for literally one second and saw that someone had posted three small but devastating words: RIP Amy Winehouse. I immediately assumed it was a joke. After all, only a few weeks ago #RIPNickiMinaj was trending on twitter and we all know she is alive and well.
So I googled Amy Winehouse and there it was on Wikipedia – her D.O.D. as July 23, 2011. But Wiki isn’t always right so I dug a little deeper and after a few clicks I came to the realization that she really was dead. Not to say that I’m utterly shocked by the news, especially considering her battles with drugs and alcohol in the past but I’ve always had a certain fondness for the singer. Maybe it was simply because I vibe with her music or perhaps it was because I felt a certain sense of familiarity with her hometown: Camden.
While living and studying in London back in Spring 2008, my flat was in Islington near the Angel Tube stop. I quickly learned that this was a hotspot for music lovers. But there was another little neighborhood close-by with some serious street cred. Camden is home of many things and people, including Amy Winehouse. After a few Saturdays spent at Camden Market browsing through shops and observing the local grunge fashion scene, it wasn’t until my last few weeks in London that I actually explored Camden at night.
There’s a darkness that sets itself over Camden at night and it has nothing to do with the sun going down. As my friends wandered in and out of pubs we experienced this almost sinister atmosphere that was simultaneously captivating. There was a real sense of community within each pub and unfortunately, as American study abroad students, we weren’t really part of the in-crowd. I did, however, talk to a few barmen who told me stories about Amy’s drunken shenanigans, each one acting like serving her beer was no big deal.
Fast forward a few years later and I was back in London for a quick visit. Palling around with a fashion stylist friend of mine, she was the perfect host as she surprised me with a trip to Amy Winehouse’s local, The Hawley Arms. As we split our bottle of wine, the friendly bar hardly seemed on the same level as the dark and troubled Amy. So when I read that crowds of Camden locals had taken to the streets in honor of Winehouse, I felt a quick feeling of nostalgia for the city I once called home. Camden now has one less Amy to call their own, but her sound and street style will surely live on.
Image via marchillary‘s flickr stream