She Said “No, No, . . . Yes.”

Poor Amy Winehouse. After writing that silly song that got her so famous, the drink finally got the best of her and now she needs to enter the dreaded “Rehab” under much more international public scrutiny than might have been possible a few years ago. The good news is: she’s in a place that might get her some help. Let’s all hope she listens and cleans up.

Its a terrible thing. Alcohol has such a hold on people, and most of us – even the ones with a problem – don’t really know how bad it can be. Sure, it’s legal, so it must be relatively safe? Well, not really. Among the many interesting and controversial things Dr. Dean Edell has said in the past was that the average heroin user is statistically healthier and less addicted than the average alcoholic. Imagine that:

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Ill Amy Winehouse shelves US tour

Singer Amy Winehouse has pulled out of a string of concerts in the US and Canada next month to “address her health”, her publicist has said. The dates are being rescheduled in early 2008, but her UK concerts in October and November “remain in place”.

So, what is it about drugs and rock-and-roll? Is there a precondition that makes you prone to being both a rock star and a drug addict? It’s an interesting question that’s worth a few paragraphs.

David Crosby was once asked this same question, somewhere just prior to the liver transplant, as I recall. He said that, contrary to there being any kind of specific connection, the fact is that musicians don’t have any particular impetus to be any more responsible than your average teenager and they have a lot of time and money on their hands.

But then, drug addiction is hardly a musician’s problem, or a new one. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was probably a cocaine addict, and certainly made his hero Sherlock Holmes an addict. So is it that creative people have a predisposition towards drug addiction? That’s a very common axiom: the self-medicating, disturbed artist. I don’t know of any specific studies done on the subject, but I somehow doubt this theory can be proved. I’ve certainly known plenty of straight-edge musicians and FUBAR’ed non-musicians.

While I’m sure there is at least a grain of truth to both of these theories – while I imagine there are many examples of each theory in practice – I just don’t think this really has anything to do with either music or creativity. Personally, I think that the problem is simply exposure. Being in the public eye, you get to live with your mistakes and so does everybody else.

You could spend the rest of your life shooting speed-balls rectally without most of us even knowing. You don’t have to say anything to me, but aren’t there a lot of you out there smoking a little pot to round off a day? Remember the Penfield guy who had his wife killed by his brother-in-law? He was snorting cocaine off stripper’s asses in the office. I’ll bet you could drug-test swab every office cube in the country and come up with a 25% positive rate. Then there are “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers,” fabled in song, and all too real in the suburbs of about any American city. Assuming you have any friends or family who give a shit, they’ll be the only ones and the rest of the world keeps on spinning without you. But if your famous, every move is caught on camera.

I’m sure other factors play their roles, too. Like for example the fact that Amy Winehouse plays the role of drugged-out Mod-queen to the hilt, and doing otherwise would damage her egoist self-impression. But other artists have not relied on their addictions to form a public persona and have had those addictions nonetheless.

Whatever is the cause, Amy Winehouse is the latest public victim. I do wonder what this does to her career. I hope she doesn’t come out of rehab sounding like Celine Dion. I personally wish her well and good luck. The life of an alcoholic is no good choice for anybody.

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By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.