Notes About ‘AMY’ | The Amy Jade Winehouse Bio-Doc Directed By Asif Kapadia

Prologue:

Long before the first frame of the Asif Kapadia film AMY found a home in the documentary tribute to Amy Jade Winehouse, the director’s team encouraged fans of the London jazz-singer turned international superstar to talk about what kind of movie they wanted to see produced. This egalitarian approach earned the filmmakers the respect and admiration of a good number of hardcore AJW fans, and may have yielded some worthwhile guiding principles for the film-team to consider. Since I and other AAN associates were among the fans that ‘lobbied’ for the kind of film that would be well received by us, it seems appropriate that my notes on AMY must be colored by my view of how well my own hopes for the film were met.

For what seemed like way too long, I looked forward to the film’s release. Then, when it came time to see it, I was overcome with the fear that seeing the Jade-Mermaid Princess on the big screen would be too emotionally draining. The vision of a grizzled old cowboy collapsed in a puddle of his own tears on the floor of a public theater was not pleasant. I had pretty much resolved to wait for the DVD and the opportunity to breakdown in private.

Nobody involved with AAN is a stranger to tears, or to that horrid sore-throat feeling that comes with the recurring realization of the loss that the world suffered four-years ago. Having manipulated more than 20,000 images of AJW, it may seem that we should be immune to the pain, but that is not the case. In fact, the constant exposure to the images has no curative properties at all; it may actually serve to keep the pain more alive and more intense.

After much encouragement from persuasive folks, I decided that I owed it to Amy’s memory – and to my own sense of paying tribute – to man-up and showup at the cineplex. What follows are my own respectfully offered and honest views on the film AMY, which I watched twice on consecutive days.

wpkleitson81415aAMY Alt-Poster By Kleitson

Some Random Notes:

When contemplating the merits of a film, it is pretty easy to take the fast and easy way out by simply labeling it a ‘masterpiece’ or ‘junk.’ As an old guy, I avoid hating things but if I had to hate something it would likely be book, film, art reviews that reach rapid and simple conclusions; answers delivered without a full massage of the questions. While this entry could have been – and originally was – very much longer and far more detailed, obstinate editors decided to limit its length. I am consoled by reports that the AMY DVD will be released on October 26, 2015, at which time I will be given the chance to dissect and fully opine on each and every scene.

Within the first two-minutes of the film’s start, I knew that my breakdown barriers were not going to be breached. A strange sense of calm came over me as the face I have come to know so well filled the screen and seemed to be looking only at me. I felt that a friend I never met – and yet love as I do my grandkids – was telling me to relax and rest beneath the blanket of joy that she was about to unfold.

Folks who saw AJW perform in concert know that her stage presence was nearly unparalleled. No matter what else was happening upstage or down, the only thing you could look at was that tiny girl. So it is with the big-screen Amy, as her image seems to fill every inch of the real estate and everything else becomes invisible. Add potential movie-star to the list of things we lost when AJW made her final exit.

The early parts of the film are largely composed of never seen and infrequently seen vids and pics. But, there are many familiar images throughout the film that will make Amy fans comfortable and less fearful – more accepting – of what must inevitably come. The filmmakers showed respectful restraint in their selection of images. I saw none of the standard horror shots or bash-pics that are frequently used by the haters to wrongfully defame and discredit Amy.

Marketed and promoted under a ‘heartbreaking tragedy’ meme, AMY could have almost as easily been pumped as a ‘joyful celebration’ of the magnificent adventure that AJW – and her fans – experienced as she delivered the priceless treasures of her dynamic music and heart-melting personality. Just because we all know that the story ends in the worst possible way is no reason to allow maudlin expectations to diminish the fact that the film shows Amy in an extremely positive and uplifting light. AJW’s charm and humor are just two of the remarkable qualities shown that all fans should spend more time being grateful for having been allowed to adore when she was with us.

The first time the music got loud, I rejoiced that I had abandoned my plan to wait for the DVD. Big TVs and speakers are great, but AMY really deserves to be first experienced in a theater. While no fan ever gets enough of AJW’s music, there are ample tunes featured in the film for both newbies and oldtimers. There is small doubt that additional musical offerings – perhaps including some early live, and international performances – will likely be featured in the sundry DVD releases.

Though we all know that film is a ‘director’s medium,’ and clearly AMY director Asif Kapadia‘s vision is the loving and respectful one that appears on the screen, only the supreme skills of film editor Chris King could have delivered that vision. Because AMY is largely assembled from variations of the thousands of images that AJW fans have become familiar with, the task of assembling those pieces into a contiguous storytelling vehicle could only be accomplished by a genius assembler of celluloid jigsaw puzzles. King deserves mega-props for his spectacular achievement.

The powerful saga of AMY is told in a straightforward, right linear and fast-paced fashion. There are no boring parts; none at all, which is kind of rare for a two-hour movie. Nobody was squirming in their seat and nobody at either of the two screenings I attended took a snack or toilet break. [I know that because I always snake a backrow seat when I plan to write about the experience.] There was lots of appropriate laughter when Amy was being Amy, and a fair number of gasps at some particularly startling onscreen action. There was no talking, no ringing phones, everybody sat seemingly spellbound. There were a few Kleenex users near me, and when the low-lights came on just about everybody remained seated to watch the credits or, perhaps, to make sure their tears were properly dried.

While some folks have commented that the film is a bit long, and others that it is too short, the length felt right to me, but longer would have been fine as long as the pace remained the same. Are hardcore Amy fans really ready to see a nearly four-hour opus like Scorsese’s Dylan flick? Probably, but the newbies required to help expand the AJW fanbase and spur a new round of music sales ‘ain’t got half-a-day’ to spend learning every tiny-penny detail that the devoted worshipers and serious cultists crave. And, obviously, it is hard for a film to be commercially viable if its length radically reduces the number of times it can run each day. Novices want a spirited and fast-moving primer that is exciting, fun to look at, and feels jam-packed with info. AMY contains enough tidbits for oldhands and is short enough to capture and hold the attention of newcomers.

Folks who have found the film to be not comprehensive enough and/or not all-inclusive, neglect the fact that you cannot load 100-pounds of diamonds into a two-pound sack. With many hundreds of hours of material – and only two-hours to reveal it in an interesting and entertaining way – tough decisions have to be made. No one is more aware of that degree of difficulty than are the AMY filmmakers; by all traditional metrics, their challenge was remarkably well met.

My desire to see Amy treated ‘fairly and respectfully’ – as I alone define those concepts – is at the heart of my own criteria to determine whether or not this film has merit. I wanted to see AJW shown as a musical genius who altered the world of modern music; and, as a decent, honorable, and terminally ill human who was terribly and wrongfully abused by circumstance and society. In my view, AMY delivers magnificently on both counts.

For far too long, Amy’s life has been characterized as a matter of ‘great music and bad conduct.’ That half-right assessment is, of course, founded in disease chauvinism; the false and vile dogma that actually, in part, helped usher Amy’s unjust departure. AMY makes it sufficiently clear that the ‘conduct bashers’ are wrong in both their conclusions and their own despicable conduct. The conduct of humans suffering from the disease-ensemble that long plagued AJW is a symptom of those ailments; not a comedic topic and not a character defect.

It is also important to note that at virtually all of the dozens of post-screening Q&A sessions conducted by the filmmakers, the issue of the illnesses afflicting AJW has been discussed among the participants. Such public chats are extremely valuable in raising awareness and understanding of mental illness and its consequences.

Though I understand the magnitude of our collective loss as much as any longtime rank-and-file AJW fan, digesting the film has given me a minor sense of peace that I have not really felt since July 2011. I do not at all confuse that feeling with the myth of closure, but it is still welcome relief. Your results may vary, but at the very least you should feel that your fandom is fully vindicated when you see AJW so wonderfully exalted on the big screen by a world-class filmmaker.

Of the scores of AMY reviews published in the past two-months, I can just about count on one-hand the number of reviewers who correctly point out that the film is not just a funeral dirge or a loss lament. It is, in more than equal part, a celebration of the ultra-extraordinary human being that was AJW. Amy was not a ‘tragic figure’ and she was not harmed by ‘demons.’ She was a smart woman who excelled in her art and business, and suffered from a terminal disease that was never successfully addressed and ultimately claimed her life.

wpmr-Adam CockertonAMY Alt-Poster By Adam Cockerton

The Controversies:

Since a fair amount of publicity surrounding AMY has related to very nice folks who were not satisfied with the way they feel they were portrayed in the film, it would be far too politically correct, expedient, comfortable and cowardly not to briefly address that issue here.

There has been speculation about whether the filmmakers had a particular agenda from the outset of their project. A plan, if you will, to create a heroine that was vexed by evil forces and people who could be cast as caustic villains. To be polite in describing the nature of the ‘learning curve’ faced by the film-team when they began planning AMY, I’m not going to say they were ‘clueless’ about their subject matter. Instead, I’ll just say they seemed ‘not clue rich.’ Early on, AJW fans were asked questions by the film-team such as, “Who should we talk to?” It is hard to make a case that an agenda-driven film was in the making with such elementary queries being made.

However, in my view, the point and counterpoint are both moot. Quite simply, while some of the film’s content may make some folks uncomfortable, there are absolutely no allegations posed by the film against any of the persons featured. The film is only about Amy, and it tells the story of some of what was happening around her during certain points in time. Nothing in the film attacks anybody, no villains are specifically charged, and no individual blame is assigned.

Not being at all naive, I well understand that many viewers will infer certain things from the words and images in the film. But, as slight salve for that truth, I can offer my strong good-faith belief that there is nothing within the small complained of portions of AMY that was not long previously known to all serious AJW fans and YouTube scourers.

While I regret any ‘hard feelings’ that may have developed between some AJW fans during the promotional phase of the film, I do not regret supporting the only non-familial, major-media release to date that portrays Amy Jade Winehouse as the decent, humble, trusting and loving human genius that she was.

wpmr-Simon CarpenterAMY Alt-Poster By Simon Carpenter

Conclusion:

AMY is, by any objective standard, a masterwork documentary. Kapadia’s ‘acquired love’ for his subject bleeds from every frame, and his only bias is revealed to be a fierce affirmative defense of Amy’s decency, artistry and innocence. He accomplishes his mission without once telling his audience exactly what they should think or believe. Pics, vids, music, lyrics, and voices take viewers on a strangely comforting mystery tour; while they wish they never had to make the trip, they will ultimately be glad they did.

Time will tell how long AMY can remain my pick as the definitive film-primer on the life and times of Amy Jade Winehouse. There will be future films, but Kapadia’s masterfully crafted overview will be very difficult to dethrone.

If for any reason you have avoided taking a looksee at AMY, you should remedy that circumstance now. Do not be afraid of the ‘sad meme’ that has prevailed; there is plenty of fun, excitement, joy and love in the mix, too. As ‘awards season’ approaches, numerous special screenings should be available hither and yon. Don’t cheat yourself; go see this film.

The Asif Kapadia gang is in the vanguard of a ‘new wave’ in documentary filmmaking. There is a longstanding reason that so many docs get made and so few attract a paying audience, and it’s not the absence of a secret sauce or the lack of interesting subject matter. Every aspiring doc-maker should go to school on both AMY and Kapadia’s previous film Senna. Forget film school, just employ AK’s anti-boredom techniques and you will have cracked the code.

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Brazil’s Kleitson: Amy Jade Winehouse Tribute Artist Interviewed

This week, Gisele Burjack, a reporter with T1 News Tocantins – BRAZIL conducted a very brief interview with the longtime Amy Winehouse tribute-artist known as Kleitson. They talked about the ongoing International AMY Film Alternate-Poster Competition, which closes on June 21; and about Kleitson’s love for Amy and his excitement at the prospect of the film coming to Brazil.

What follows is an AAN translated summary of that brief interview. The original interview in Portuguese is linked here.

Gisele Burjack: When will the film open in Brazil?

Kleitson: No date has yet been set, but we hope very soon. As soon as the poster contest is completed, I will turn my attention to helping to encourage the filmmakers to bring AMY to Brazil as quickly as possible.

Gisele Burjack: How do you feel taking part in an international competition?

Kleitson: Obviously, for me, it is a great honor to participate in the contest. Not only because my featured work is well received but because I can best express my love for Amy Winehouse through my art. Everyone in Brazil is super anxious to see AMY – due to their love for the singer and because of director Asif Kapadia’s ‘star status’ here – so I feel really lucky to be part of the art competition.

Gisele Burjack: Your admiration for Amy seems to go beyond your artistic work as a draftsman?

Kleitson: Yes. I can say with 100% certainty, I always keep Amy inside of me, in my heart. She inspires me, guides my art.

klt.box.61915-9AMY Posters  –  By  Kleitson

Gisele Burjack: What about Amy inspires you?

Kleitson: Her spirit, sincerity, voice, talent and humility all inspire me. I think she was never fully aware of her own genius.

Gisele Burjack: Which side of Amy guides your designs?

Kleitson: Like many fans, I felt I ‘knew’ Amy even though I never met her. She was smart, funny, unique, sweet. Through her music, I feel she guides my desire to show those qualities in my art.

Gisele Burjack: How have people reacted to your AMY posters?

Kleitson: People from around the world have contacted me and expressed their appreciation for my art. I was so honored when even Amy’s mother complimented my skills.

Gisele Burjack: What are your expectations about the contest?

Kleitson: I think I have a chance to win. I believe a lot in my work because it is more conceptual than most.

Gisele Burjack: Have you received orders for your work as a result of the contest?

Kleitson: I have received some orders but have declined them all because I am totally focused on the current competition, and will be until it closes.

Gisele Burjack: How many posters have you entered in the competition?

Kleitson: I think I have the most entries. Thus far, I have 19 different posters in the competition.
…..

klt.box.61915-3AAN Favorites

You can view the full Kleitson Poster Collection here.

You can read more about Kleitson and his posters at this previous AAN entry.

Additional media coverage of Kleitson in Brazil will be posted on this blog through June 22, 2015.
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Brazilian Artist Kleitson Enters ‘AMY’ Film Alt-Poster Competition

The folks at Altitude Film Entertainment – UK distributors of the new Asif Kapadia documentary AMY – have launched an Alternate-Poster Competition. Artists from around the world have been invited to submit their alternate designs for a poster to be used in the promotion and marketing of the film. Submissions are being aggregated on the PosterSpy website and will be judged by the filmmakers at the close of the contest on June 21, 2015.

Among the early entrants in the worldwide competition is Brazil’s Kleitson. A former teen-prodigy and a currently well known illustrator, Kleitson is a self-taught artist. As a youth, he was ranked among the Top 10 artists in the Corel International Design Contest. Kleitson’s work has been praised by the UK’s Prince Charles, and was honored by Brazil’s Federal Senate in 2010. The winner of numerous art competitions, Kleitson’s most important qualification to participate in the AMY Alt-Poster Contest is his “unconditional love” for Amy Jade Winehouse.

“It is always nice to win competitions, but I am honored just to participate in the AMY contest,” Kleitson said. “I draw Amy with love in my heart and soul.”

wpk65K-A

“If Beardsley or Lautrec saw this Kleitson poster outside of an entertainment venue, they would no doubt be compelled to go inside.” — AAN

Kleitson has been an enthusiastic friend of the Fan Club Trouble founding chapter in Brazil. His Amy-Tribute Art has been featured in Trouble Expositions that help preserve AJW’s musical legend, and promote and support the fine work of the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

wpk65K-B

“The output of the highly-skilled and prolific Kleitson is eclectic. He can serve up multiple styles, each with its own charm, character and technical appeal.” — AAN

“I am not too good with words, but I hope my tribute art always shows the unconditional love and respect I have for Amy,” Kleitson said.

A humble guy, not comfortable with promoting himself, the exceptional artist is needlessly self-conscious about his “lack of English skills.” But, as AAN says daily: If any human speaks Amyish, their other lingos are irrelevant; they are Amyites, they are us, we are one in our love for Amy Jade Winehouse.

wpk65K-C

‘You Can’t Hide Your Flyin’ Eyes’  –  By  Kleitson

Brazil and its people were very special to Amy. She spent time and effort in Brazil building a base of loyal and adoring fans that have eagerly awaited the release of AMY. Kapadia’s previous film SENNA remains hugely popular in the country; a unique synergy of history and circumstance exists in Brazil that will likely help assure a very popular reception for AMY.

No one knows what the outcome of the current poster competition will be. But, in our view, there is no doubt that the filmmakers would well serve their own and fans’ interests by making sure that a Kleitson poster graces theater fronts when AMY opens in Brazil.

You can enjoy the large and growing collection of Kleitson AMY Alt-Posters at the link.

The Kleitson Collection

Artists wishing to participate in the Alt-Poster Competition can submit their ORIGINAL ART entries here: PosterSpy

Good luck to all the competing artists.

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AANPN Makes First Rev-Disbursement To Amy Winehouse Foundation

In accord with its published disbursement schedule linked below, AANPN has made its first annual distribution of page-generated revenues. The disbursement includes all of the tiny pennies earned through February 2013. As per our pledge, 100% of those funds have been transmitted to the Amy Winehouse Foundation USA.

Although the AANPN hobbyists are not about raising funds, we are still very pleased that our hobby pages raised a few dollars in their first year of service; all such funds were truly raised a tiny-penny at a time. The hobbyists are very grateful to the page viewers; without those visitors, the pages would earn no pennies. We are excited about the prospects of creating even better pages in 2013 and expanding the current fleet.

Most of the small revenues garnered come from ad-impressions that are determined by the gross number of views and clicks that a page generates. The formula to determine page revenues is complex and varies on each venue that AANPN publishes on. In some cases, way more than 100 page views are required to earn a tiny penny. In most cases, page traffic determines page ranking and the percentage of site-revenues received by each page.

Many of the subject pages have AMZN sales modules attached; small numbers of pennies are earned via the modules, but sales across the fleet have been negligible. Links to vendors supporting the AWF through the sale of merchandise are also incorporated in the pages, but there is no way to track the performance of those links and the AANPN does not earn any pennies from them. In 2013, we will be looking at better ways to encourage merch vendors to support the AWF in exchange for promotional links on our pages.

Because the AANPN gang is in the information delivery game, we spend virtually no time thinking about fundraising. Our mission is about raising awareness, not about raising funds. Most of our pages are published on venues that are not typically thought to be populated by Amyites; for that reason, we can judge that we have been successful in reaching readers that would have otherwise been unlikely to receive our message.

All of the AAN hobbyists are proud to be a miniature part in helping to preserve the legend and promote the philanthropic legacy of the JadeMermaid Princess. Raising a few dollars for doing something that we would gladly do for no money at all is a fun thing. We know that we are in the vanguard of a hobby that will continue to expand, and we are pleased to be able to create pages that can earn likkle residual revenues for the AWF for many years to come.

To learn more about how you can participate in the Amy Page Hobby and support the Amy Winehouse Foundation, read the AAN Disbursement Schedule entry and the many previous entries in the AAN blog. The AANPN helps promote all other respectful Amy Pages, and newcomers to the hobby are always welcome.

Thank you to all of our readers. We are honored by your continued interest in our pages and we appreciate your frequent visits.

The AAN Disbursement Schedule

The AANPN Website

The Jadeink Leafography

The Amy Winehouse Foundation Websites

AWF-UK

AWF-USA

aanpndisbursement.box.214


Amy Jade Winehouse Tribute Art Featured On Zujava

The AANPN crew has published a new page to celebrate the extreme proliferation of tribute art that pays homage to Amy Jade Winehouse. The page will be frequently updated with new galleries that encourage fans to become more familiar with the artists that continue to provide terrific art for the enjoyment of all those who love AJW.

http://www.zujava.com/amy-jade-winehouse-tribute-art-educational-exhibit-list

It is also hoped that new artists will study the galleries and learn the techniques used by their more experienced peers in memorializing images of AJW.

Artists – of all skill levels – wishing to have their work featured in updated galleries are welcome to participate. All uplifting and respectful submissions will be published. Submit pics to amysarmynow@yahoo.com.


Amy Jade Winehouse: One Year Later, Tears Not Dry

Anybody expecting a long dirge here today will be disappointed. I just don’t have it in me to express the pain with dark words. I am not at all burned out, just badly burned.

As we mark the one year anniversary of the day that the JadeMermaid Princess left us, the temptation to be overcome by paralyzing pain and sadness is powerful. Counseling the avoidance of such feelings is easy, abiding that counsel is hard.

In the past year, those who love AJW have made great progress in helping to assure that the true legend of her life and music will long survive, and that her philanthropic legacy will grow for many generations. Yet, I must admit, the only bright spot I can clearly ascertain in her absence is that she is now forever safe from the hurt of the words and deeds of others that lacked her sublime decency.

We will continue to abide AJW’s call to “live the dream,” and we will keep moving forward. The notion of tears drying on their own has been given the lie, but we are grown and we will get through this desperately hurtful and empty time.

It is easy to allow the crushing sadness to wipe away the great memories. At the end of the day, we must be less sad that the magnificent adventure has ended than we are glad that we had a chance to experience that adventure. It’s not easy, but it’s doable; it must be.

We will never be the same after feeling a part of her life and suffering at her departure. We will always be better for having received the message she delivered, and we will always lament the brevity of her time with us. Fate dealt the hand ordained and we will play it.

If AJW returned to our realm, her first word to you would be, “Alright?” We have a duty to always maintain strong minds and bodies, to assure that our resounding answer would be, “Alright!”

I often acknowledge that I am the luckiest human on the planet; my entire life has been charmed. As I count good fortune, I place my discovery of AJW’s music – and seeing her perform it – at the top of my chip stack. No artist ever delivered more joy, to me. Now, harsh and lasting grief is simply the price I must pay. I will handle it, and you will, too.

Please celebrate AJW’s life responsibly today and be ready for the September birthday anniversary fun that is being planned everywhere. Thanks!

…………………………………….

For updates on Amy Winehouse Foundation activity in the USA, visit:

http://tinyurl.com/bw344ud

For an AANPN overview of the history of the AWF, visit:

http://tinyurl.com/cu2htwk

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Book Review: ‘Amy, My Daughter’

Absent a fiduciary relationship dictating to the contrary, no one has an obligation to favorably review the written work of someone they like and admire. The only duty of a nonobligated reviewer is to tell his own truth; here is mine.

To date, the long awaited Mitch Winehouse volume, Amy, My Daughter is clearly the finest written offering on the life and times of Amy Jade Winehouse.

The challenge faced by reviewers bearing warm feelings about the subject matter of AMD will be to remain focused on the style of the book and leave alone their personal views about AJW. That task will not be mastered by me; it is simply not possible for me to divorce my own feelings regarding AJW from anything I write about subjects related to her. I always like to review good books, and I never like to review the lives of the people who write them. Consider my comments herein with that in mind.

I often refer to AJW’s journey as a “magnificent adventure.” AMD gives readers an involved insider’s view of that trek, and does so in an interesting, engaging and powerful manner. The book is an entertaining pageturner and there are truly no boring parts. Constructed, in part, from event contemporaneous diary entries, the story is told in a straightforward style that is super easy to follow and encourages folks to absorb the book in one long read.

AMD paints the accurate picture of a loving and ordinary parent engaged in a good faith war to save his beloved child. The author admits his lack of knowledge in some relevant matters and the most sophisticated readers should remind themselves that, notwithstanding any contrary historical notions, ignorance is not a sin. The inevitable “why didn’t he?” questions raised by readers are largely based in cocksure arrogance and/or the questioners’ own ignorance. The simple fact is that no parent “knows the things they don’t know” during their engagement in an AMD-style crisis; most such parents become gropers and blindly rely on the “expert” voices they are offered. Such reliance precludes third-party judgements of failure and exempts the actors from all but the guilt they routinely and wrongfully foist on themselves.

The major import of AMD, to knowledgeable fans of the megastar, is to be found in confirmation and not in revelation. Experienced Amyphiles can, in my view, rely absolutely on the truth of MW’s account; many of those truths were largely long known to seasoned fans and having them confirmed by a close participant is valuable, but AMD is revelatory of old truths more than expository of new secrets. Newcomers to the subject will find the generously offered details fully satisfying.

Amyites looking for the all encompassing and definitive biography of AJW will have to wait for skilled historians to brew and bake a bit longer. AMD simply offers what I deem to be the true and accurate telling of the author’s observations and feelings about the events he experienced as the public and private drama of his daughter’s terminal disease engulfed him.

The author’s wit and charm are compelling inside of AMD and are likely to soften some folks’ perceptions of him; the sympathy you want to feel for him may flow freely. Except for the general circumstance of his saga, he is not likely to make you cry in his telling, but you may feel the pain of his experiences in a way that you have not before.

The volume is skillfully compiled to interest a mainstream audience. That demo is critical to helping the Amyites preserve the legend and promote the philanthropic legacy. The AJW aficionados simply have to accept that most early books, regardless of who writes them, are going to be rather “basic” in nature. The advanced analytical writings can come as interest in the subject increases; and, it will.

Though I kind of like the full expression of feelings and opinions, I also know that it is not necessary for a writer to say everything he feels and thinks about the real life antagonists in his work. Seasoned bashers of BFC will applaud MW’s verbally harsh treatment of the sick manchild that the equally ill AJW loved much. That AJW was fully energized with the decency gene and her cohort was imbued with likkle but pure and demented evil will always make the trashing of the latter acceptable to the vast majority of those who love her, but I find even the most justifiable after-action hate to be harmful to its bearers and avoid expressing it; even when I feel it beyond measure.

If AMD was a work of fiction, I would note that the BFC character should have been eliminated from the story – by any means necessary – long prior to his ever having established a dominant position in the tale. In real life, public post-outcome bashing is easy to advise against – and hard to rise above – but its vent value is, to me, unseemly and the currency of its truth is outweighed thereby. When a nonfiction villain is indeed fully illustrated to be a “lowlife scumbag,” his conduct speaks to that fact and even the most involved storyteller need not be redundant in restating the obvious. I well know that my view in this matter is that of a tiny minority, and I cite it merely as a small point in the AMD narrative that might cause a slight sympathy-losing chill among some readers.

[DISCLAIMER: I am not so straightlaced that I did not laugh heartily upon entering the search term “lowlife scumbag” and getting a page-one GOOG return of a picture of BFC.]

AMD offers a bit of insight into some minor details of AJW’s business dealings. Folks who have grown tired of her being falsely portrayed as a brainless dunce that knew/cared nothing about her business should be somewhat satisfied. Future biographers are given a good resource of names that will prove useful in their efforts to flesh out the totality of AJW as a real human being that is exponentially more than just a disease victim.

It is also interesting to have revealed some details regarding the insiders’ recognition of the serious war that was being waged against AJW by a corrupt and vile media. While fightback efforts were never really successful, fans will at least learn that the hometeam was far from oblivious to the evil works of the demoralizing defamation machine.

As a strident and militant warrior in the ongoing battle against the deadly dogma of “disease chauvinism,” I found only a slight and grossly understated bone toss at page 206 of AMD, where the author meekly notes:

“… I also began to realize that, for most people, addiction is an illness, an illness that needs treatment, just like any other. …”

In my view, that mostly true but overly reticent observation represents a lost opportunity for a widely respected person to further spread the truth that has been recognized by the USA Government, via the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Substance addiction is a terminal brain disease, the components of which obviate the patient’s ability to adequately exercise freewill choice.

Story and Video Re: NIH/NIDA     http://tinyurl.com/7u6kknk

Until that scientific fact becomes the prevailing medical paradigm – and it will – every parent on the planet will remain vulnerable to the same heartbreak now being suffered by AMD‘s author. The corrupt dogma of disease chauvinism rends the credibility destroying and dehumanizing stigmatization that heaps shame and embarrassment on the sick and often precludes, hinders, or delays their successful treatment. Though understandable and completely expected, the author’s failure to forcefully attack the anti-science gangs in the context of the AJW story was personally disappointing, but does not harm either the biographical or entertainment value of AMD.

Picture lovers will be pleased with the selected offerings. Some of the photos are “new,” some are not. Hopefully, a future pictorial volume will incorporate all of the hidden treasures not shared this time out.

The inclusion in the book of what seems to be the full text of AJW’s early Sylvia Young entrance essay is a super nice touch and makes the popular pull-quotes even more powerful. Personal notes and greeting cards from AJW also add charm and tears to the mix.

Is AMD a strong enough vehicle from which to devise a major film? Absolutely, but, perhaps, it should be contemplated to be crafted as a story about MW’s travails in the saga and not as a straight-up AJW biopic. That formula might be slightly more palatable to the adamantly “no movies” crowd.

All things considered, it is very difficult to find any real fault with AMD. Fans of AJW will like it a lot and many new fans will be born among those coming to the subject for the first time. That we all desperately wish this book never had to be written is a given; that every fan and every parent read it is a necessity spawned by the most hurtful circumstance that many of us have ever experienced.

All author proceeds are pledged to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.