I’ve had such a wonderful week with my family and we are now entering another week of fun and frolics, which I’m really looking forward to. Tomorrow is Morvah Pasty Day and I shall certainly be documenting all the craziness for your perusal – it doesn’t get much more Cornish than this I can assure you. I’m so glad that Cornwall has had the same effect on the fam as it had on me all those years ago and I think I can safely say they are spellbound. Why wouldn’t they be, this place is magical.
One of the things I love about living in Cornwall is all the fresh produce available around every corner or down every country road. Having lived here for a while now we know exactly where to go for the best veg but sometimes you chance upon a little stall that is brimming with food or flowers, which is how I came about these gorgeous yellow blooms you see in the photograph. Don’t ask me what they are called for I haven’t a foggy clue but I do know they make me smile each time I look at them. They’re even more adorable sitting all snug in my favourite mason jar.
As I’ve had a lot less time to prepare food since my family have been here I’ve taken a few shortcuts particularly in mornings. Shop bought cereal generally isn’t my thing, as I like to know exactly what is in my food, but I do like Nature’s Path’s Mesa Sunsrise. Yes, it does have sugar in it but hey, I’m on holiday so I’m not going to stress about it too much. To add sugar on top of sugar I’ve also discovered Provamel’s new lime soy yoghurt, which is pretty much in the o.m.g. category.
Suffice to say I tried to salvage my sugarfest (I added a chopped medjool date and fresh berries too!) of a breakfast with hemp seeds, mixed seeds, amaranth pops and pecans, which, along with the coconut milk, made for a seriously fantastic tasting morning meal that was super satisfying and a real treat. I would never make this a regular occurrence but once in a while it can do no harm.
Enough about food and onto something that has been weighing on my mind for the past week. Just before the Family arrived last weekend two tragedies occurred. We had the awful terrorist attack in Norway, which seen 76 people killed and then we lost a fantastic talent in the form Amy Winehouse. At the time many people were criticized for showing sympathy for the sad demise of Amy when the Norway atrocity had affected so many ‘innocent’ people. My viewpoint was along the lines of – can we not be sad about both? And I am. Very sad about both.
I want to talk about Amy for a moment though. When Amy first became uber popular I myself was living in Camden – in fact, all three of my Camden flats were never more than a few minutes walk from her home and I frequented all of the same bars and pubs as she did. The Dublin Castle, The Hawley Arms and The Good Mixer to name a few. At the time I also worked at The Roundhouse in Camden and was very much into the music scene. I call it working but getting to see amazing shows and gigs for free did not constitute as working most nights.
The people I worked with quickly became my ‘friends’ and we hung out every night after the gigs finished in the Roundhouse bar (for a short while we were allowed free booze – wahoo!) and then onto whichever bar was open (usually Bartok, The Hawley Arms or The Lock Tavern) and after those bars shut we continued the fun at Marathon (a kebab shop with a hidden bar at the back).
You would think with amount of partying that took place and the places we hung out we would’ve bumped into Amy at least once but actually the only time I ever saw Amy in person was when she performed at The Roundhouse as part of the first ever electric proms series. It was a Paul Weller gig (strangely the very same one Russell Brand talks about in his Amy Winehouse Tribute) and it was incredible. I felt like I had the best seat in the house behind the bar situated parallel to the stage. I remember it so clearly. It’s one of the moments that sticks with you.
After that Amy’s popularity soared and her personal life plummeted, as she descended further into drink and drugs. Not that I was ever in the same party girl league as Amy but I too felt at times like I was being consumed by Camden and had to pull myself (with the help of ever patient Hubbie) out of it by distancing myself from so-called ‘friends’. Because that’s what Camden can do if you allow it – it can suck you in, chew you up and spit you out. I can only imagine what it’s like to be flavour of the month with a bit of money about you and a penchant for the high life.
Whilst there were many good times out and about tearing the town up, there were also many low points – usually the next morning feeling like hell – to warrant me continuing living and working there and so we moved onwards and upwards to Clapham (yummy Mummy territory) and said goodbye to our beloved Camden. We’d met there, lived there, worked and loved nearly every minute of it but we knew it was time to grow up.
I feel so sad that Amy wasn’t able to discover a life outside of Camden (apart from her short hiatus to St.Lucia, which also ended in disaster) and up until the end had the usual hangers on and wannabees taking advantage of her. I loathe the criticism she endured for her self destructive lifestyle because I know how easy it can be for anybody to fall foul of the party lifestyle, particularly in Camden and London as a whole. It is not for us to judge or indeed say it was inevitable. I personally don’t think anything is inevitable, we can always change our own paths and futures. I think Amy realised too late that her destiny need not be drugs, drink and death.
Having lost a good friend to suicide when I was seventeen I understand the regret that Amy’s friends will have. They’ll be asking themselves a multitude of questions including ‘was her death preventable’? Unfortunately the answer is yes. I believe nothing is set in stone and we are masters of our own legacy.
Like Amy, I was once involved with someone who was a bad influence and had a hold over me for a long time (one that I cannot fathom now!) but I managed to find the courage to break free even though it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Unlike Amy, I vowed to never see or contact that person again and despite numerous attempts by him I haven’t encountered the bugger since the day I seen him get off the Knightsbridge tube stop I left him at. See you sucker!
Perhaps if Amy had really made a clean break from her ex, maybe of she had weaned herself off alcohol in a safe, medical environment and if only her bodyguard has checked in on her sooner she may still be here. Who knows, this could’ve been the wake up call she didn’t to really kick the habit and get back on the straight and narrow for good. Reading an interview she gave back in 2008 where she talked of having kids and a ‘normal’ life leads me to believe she didn’t want to end up the way she did. Dead at 27.
This club 27 crap is also irking me because it glorifies and normalizes a lifestyle that couldn’t be further from glamorous. Dead is dead. As far as i’m concerned there’s no afterlife and dying young will always be a tragedy and a total waste. Cliched but true. I often think of my own friend and what she would be like now. What she would’ve achieved and the kind of person she would have grown into. I think about the times we might have shared and the moments we have lost because of a period in time where she thought her only way out was to take her own life.
I’m not sure if I’ve made any sense or added anything to an already well documented situation and maybe I should’ve left well alone (my Sister told me to write nought – sorry Sis!) but I felt like I needed to at least acknowledge my own thoughts and put them in print. As my own Sister enters the music industry (she has just signed a record deal) I worry about the kinds of people that will try and steer her down a dangerous path. Of course, she’s of a completely different mindset (always has been) and would rather go for a run than have a glass of wine but that doesn’t mean there won’t be people attempting to sway her clean living ways. Remember, Amy wasn’t always a waster. I can’t be there all the time but I do know that when I am around I will be the best bodyguard she’ll likely ever have.
Amy’s untimely death has reminded me of the wonderful circle I have around me. A supportive and loving Husband and Family and a few caring friends. I take pleasure in the small things and whilst my life may be a lot less exciting than it was in Camden, I am a happier, more secure person now than I ever was. Life is fleeting and for Amy and my dear friend, too fleeting still. I only wish things could have been different but we learn from these travesties to treasure the lives that we have and live every moment to the fullest (preferably sans substances!) and believe me I do. Every single second.
Amy will be remembered. Hopefully in the long run for her music more than her hardcore lifestyle. For now though, I mourn not only for Amy but for all those who have had their lives cut short either from their own doing or at the hands of others. It’s been a dreadfully sad week and my thoughts are with also with the friends and family of the victims in Norway.
I’m now off to be with my family.
LLAP to you all x