I was out on Saturday night, and if you follow me on Twitter you will be more than well aware that I was VERY drunk. We were all having a good night, ended in a bit of drama but what can you do... anyway, we got in the cab to go home and our regular cab driver Terry told us the horrible news that Whitney Houston had reportedly passed away. He didn't know how or when, but he claimed it was true as that's why all the radio stations were caining her music (as they are now going to do for the next few weeks at least)
I don't know if it was because I was drunk or if I just genuinely wasn't that bothered, but I asked the usual questions, "how", "why" and that was it. We continued the conversation we were having previously, got home and didn't really think about it again until I woke up this morning. I think the reason for this is because although it is a great tragedy, part of me just feels like it was something inevitable, something that was always going to happen. I have thought about this a lot today, and I have spent most of the day comparing this latest celebrity death to the death of Amy Winehouse.
Clearly I didn't know Amy personally, but I was genuinely gutted when she died. I loved her music and I think the greatest tragedy about Amy Winehouse was that not only did everyone expect her death, but when it happened it wasn't through the causes everyone thought it was going to be. Everyone assumed she'd die of a drug overdose, or something drug related - hell, she consumed enough coke in her time to keep Columbia out of the red for the next 50 years... Regardless of this, the thing that killed Amy was the willpower to stop. She was told she can't quit cold turkey. the shock to her body by doing this would do her serious damage - she ignored it, determined to get better for her loved ones but it did do her damage. Permanent damage.
Whitney Houston's death is similar to this. She has endured a well publicised battle with crack cocaine amongst other Class A Narcotics, and she had entered rehab a number of times, just to come out a reformed character before falling back down the slippery slope into hardcore drug addiction again. The rumours haven't been confirmed yet, but it's reported that Whitney went on a binge, ran herself a bath, climed in and accidentally drowned. I find it hard to conjur up the same amount of sympathy as I had for Winehouse, because this was the actions of a drug addict, someone selfish, all consumed with her next fix and not of her daughter, her career, her life. Her security and management team shouldn't have left her on her own if she was back taking heavy drugs - even if she was having a bath. But ultimately, Whitney created the perfect storm for her own death.
Sure it can be argued Winehouse did the same, but the reason I had sympathy for her is because she tried to change. She knew the damage she was doing to herself, to her family and she attepmted to stop. Whitney has an astounding career, fame, wealth, family, children. Some could say she had it all, but this still wasn't enough.
I know that fame isn't all it's cracked up to be and just because she had all what I listed above doesn't necessarily mean that she was happy, but I liken deaths like these to suicide. Although she didn't purposly drown, she might as well have. If it wasn't for her own personal actions, she wouldn't be dead today (and again, I know the same can be said for Amy Winehouse but it's the action of trying that makes a difference to me).
I don't want any of my opinion above to cloud the fact that she is a legend and will be greatly missed. I know that, I know that she had thousands of fans, a back catalogue of some amazing songs, great films. I know her death is a huge shame, devestating to everyone that knew her, upsetting for her fans. The world lost an icon, a legend, a diva and there is nothing anyone can say to change that fact. As i'm writing this I am watching The Bodyguard (scheduled post, I wrote this on Sunday night - sorry!) and she really had something special, a gift. It's good that she got to share her gift with the world, that it wasn't wasted - but her life was clouded by awful periods of darkness, hitting rock bottom on more than one occasion - drugs, marriage troubles. The Whitney Houston story shouldn't have been about that. It's the same for everyone, everyone would like to be remembered for the things they were good at, the things they did well, the differences they made to the world. Again, it's not the way it happens, the bad always outweighs the good in the eyes of the media - until someone dies. Now Whitney is going to be portrayed as some sort of saint in all the papers tomorrow. Everyone paying tribute to the woman they love, the woman they either knew or think they knew. Everyone will forget about the drug addict, the woman blighted with problems.
If that's the way it has to be, then that's the way it has to be. It's such a shame, and hopefully now she can rest in peace and not be tormented by whatever it was that drove her to her drug binges in the first place. Rest in Peace Whitney, didn't you almost have it all...