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Spotlight1: Winehouse

BAZ Blogger: Jess Bailey

Good, crisp, winter morning to you all! Or evening glancers, three am browsers: we here at Baz don’t judge (but seriously, go to bed) – see, you don’t just come here for the features, we’re health advice, too. Now. Enough of the silliness, more...busi-ness. We want to unveil, along with our new blog, a brand new shiny feature: our ‘Spotlight’ on our influences and inspirations. That’s right, we want to share with you, through these monthly posts, just what we are about: what we jam to, what we can’t put down, and we gush over,some early evening gesticulating wildly with a glass of red wine/coffee in hand. So, away we go!

Right. We want to talk Amy Winehouse. And she’s hard to talk about for obvious reasons, and also for the opposing natural inclinations to celebrate and regret in the same breath. There is no doubt at all, the she was one of a kind, and yet spoke to us all, with her unflinching honesty, her talent, her passion and how deliciously crude she could be too. If we were A-level students right now we’d be chomping at the bit to study her lyrics in Eng Lit lessons on a dreary Wednesday. But the thing she most represents to Baz is her take on being a woman with talent in the public eye, opting not to be a pop princess, letting the, at times, ugliness show along with the easy simplicity of her elegant phrasing and universal truth to her lyrics. Thing is, as a society we tend to fetishize talent, especially tragic talent and especially tragic female talent with the lead very much given by modern media, to be lauded posthumously whilst derided in their lifetime. This is reflected, maybe even perpetrated in theatre as pure dramatic irony – star cross’d lovers and all of that –while films, biographies, column inches wail and wring their hands, trying to figure out how it all went wrong, when the spotlight should be on them. Baz believes in challenging audiences. This is intrinsic to our aesthetic, and Amy did too. Confidently, with her chin out, and her mistakes as clear to see as the ink on her arm or the thick eyeliner over her eye. Like a true dramatic heroine, a Cassandra or a Carmen, she embodied femininity truly, with all it’s faults and cliches, refusing to bow to them. Baz’s ideal to portray the female experience then, has its roots. Her lyrics, and influences, as wide ranging as old-school hip hop to indie classics, always returned to the sounds of 50/60s swing and Motown, something old out of something new making, her, in turn, and out of time and timeless influence for us all. We miss her very much, and we appreciate genius when we hear it, something we here at Baz intend to do.

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