Winehouse celebrated in her London spiritual home
LONDON (AP) — Amy Winehouse lived and died in north London’s Camden neighborhood — and in the month that she would have turned 30, her presence is still being celebrated.
The beehived diva’s spray-painted image adorns several Camden walls, and fans still flock to the area more than two years after her 2011 death from accidental alcohol poisoning at age 27.
Winehouse got her start amid the pubs and clubs of Camden, so local businesses are holding a series of events this month to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity set up by the singer’s family.
An exhibition opening Thursday at the Proud art gallery includes photographs of the singer — many taken in Camden — along with paintings, sketches, graffiti art and the street sign from the square where she died at home, which is covered with tributes from fans.
“Camden meant everything to Amy, and Camden recognizes that,” the singer’s father, Mitch Winehouse said Wednesday at a preview of the show.
Other events for the charity, which helps young people nurture their love of music and steer clear of drugs, are a pop-up shop selling Winehouse-themed merchandise, an Amy Winehouse walking tour, benefit gigs and a charity skydive by the singer’s mother, Janis.
A bronze statue of the singer is soon to be erected at the Roundhouse concert hall, where she gave her final public performance.
Camden has been home to bands from Madness to Blur, and to rock stars including Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.
Camden Mayor Jonathan Simpson said the area, which has dozens of music venues, is “the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the U.K., if not the world.”
“Amy is so synonymous with Camden,” he said. “There’s a real sense of pride in her legacy locally. ”
Yet if Camden was the making of Winehouse, it also was the scene of her undoing.
Alongside a lively nightlife, the area has a reputation as a place to buy and consume drugs. Winehouse, who overcame a drug problem before she died but failed to conquer alcohol, was a well-known customer of several local bars.
Many of the photos in the exhibition appear poignant now — particularly a series from 2004 showing a healthy-looking Winehouse far removed from the gaunt, heavily tattooed figure of later years.
“People say, well, Camden is a troubled place, it was trouble for Amy,” said Mitch Winehouse. “It wasn’t Camden. It was circumstances that surrounded Amy.
“It’s a place of love. She loved it.”
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless