Tired “rehab” puns may force Amy back to crack.

Look at this. And this. How about this? This? And another….

Just a few headlines for stories about Amy Winehouse’s latest effort to get clean from the hard drugs that have turned her from voluptuous jazz-tinged sex bomb to emaciated bra-clad scarecrow. Now, before I deal at greater length with the content of stories that we know only too well, I first wish to have a word about the headlines. Perhaps she was asking for it by writing the line that spawned a million plays on words (or, more accurately, about three different plays on words repeated again and again and again, until I found myself quite keen to smoke a whole bunch of crack just to escape the pain). But shitting hell, surely it’s time for an Amy Winehouse Rehab Pun Headline Amnesty. Given the fact that her latest album has a title containing two words that rhyme with slang terms for drugs to which she has proved partial, why not push the envelope?

“Amy goes Back to Crack”, “Crack to Smack for Troubled Amy”, ” ‘You Know She’s No Good’ : Blake Warned By Worried Parents”, “FUCK ME! Amy Pumps Dose of Killer Drug”, “Pete Advises Sad Chum Amy ‘You Should Be Stronger Than Me’ ” “Back to Brown”. Perhaps they could even advise her to talk to Frank. Anything, just for a bit of variety. It’s not as if anyone’s having to work very hard to find new photos, or “concerned friends” willing to speak to the press. The stories pretty much write themselves, with the aid of a thesaurus which handily falls open at the pages for “sad”, “thin” and “singer”. Affect a tone of pained, paternal concern, break out the Big Book of Drug Cliches, insert a picture of Blake Fielder-Civil looking like a prick in a hat and Bob’s your shady drug buddy.

The tone of concern is another predictable and generally fraudulent element to these stories. Barely able to go more than a few sentences without a doe-eyed exhortation for Amy to stop throwing her talent away, The Sun is the chief offender in this respect. While their biggest worry plays in the background (“For how long exactly can we have stories about poor, troubled junkie Amy before she either dies, or worse, gets clean once and for all?”), Wapping’s finest take an editorial line based on the not entirely convincing premise that they really just want her to get better. They could at least show some gratitude to Winehouse for giving them a bit of a change-up from stories about “Junkie Waster Pete”. They even get to change the personal pronoun in their copy-and-paste op-ed pieces. On a side issue, why is it “Junkie Waster Pete”, but “Troubled Chanteuse Amy”? How long has she got left on the goodwill list before the stories start containing thinly veiled wishes for her death?

“Come on, you old cynic”, I hear you cry (“you” being in this case an imaginary crowd that I have made up for the purpose of advancing my article), “These journos are just ordinary people, they may have friends who have been through the trials and tribulations of addiction! It’s not fair to launch a scathing attack leavened with very nearly amusing asides! Play fair!”.

And perhaps, in different circumstances, I would concede that Imaginary You had a point. But when the latest “Shock Video” of Amy on the internet comes complete with a big ol’ banner “The Sun” logo in the bottom corner, swallowing any protestation of good-heartedness becomes harder than listening to an entire Maroon 5 album without slaughtering the next four people you clap eyes on. Virtually impossible, in other words.

Perhaps, though, the final words should be left to “a friend of the waif-like chart-topper”, quoted in the good ol’ Currant Bun: “Her family and her few real friends have begged her to pull herself from the brink many times. But here is proof she has pressed the self-destruct button … Her fans would scarcely recognise the drug-addled wreck in the video as the talented performer they love”. The friend remains anonymous, which is rather a shame – not many people have learned to speak English by reading cliche-ridden newspaper articles, and it would be nice to put a name and a face to that phenomenon. Either that or the quote is entirely invented, but surely that’s not possible?


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