Amy Winehouse is giving a TV interview, the problem is, once she starts talking, the words just flow out of her; she gets on a roll and can talk for hours. Gigwise struggles to wait patiently with every newspaper report and countless drunken TV show appearance firmly entrenched on our mind. Eventually she saunters in, ripped skinny jeans, Adidas jacket, and of course that trademark eyeliner and shock of black hair piled high on top of her head, adding an extra few inches to her tiny frame. But the wait isnâ€™t over, â€œSorry Iâ€™m just gonna call my boyfriend and tell him heâ€™s a cunt.â€ A conversation follows in which the words Jack, and Daniels, are mentioned, and then sheâ€™s ready to begin.
The release of radio-friendly â€˜Rehabâ€™ has lead to an inevitable feeding frenzy by the tabloids to paint her as a diva on the edge. Add to that talk of a collaboration with Pete Doherty, and the rumour mill has begun turning nicely. The first thing Winehouse notices is the newspaper article sat on the table. A gossip feature reporting on her interview and dinner at a posh restaurant with a reporter from The Independent. Where, it claims, she didnâ€™t eat anything and got particularly drunk, leading to speculation about her weight and alcohol problems.
â€œCan I have a look at that?â€ she asks, eyeing it cautiously before reaching over the table and reading aloud. â€œThatâ€™s actually a nice picture of me for once... â€˜She didnâ€™t look at the menuâ€™ thatâ€™s correctâ€¦ â€˜She loudly ordered Champagneâ€™â€¦ wrongâ€¦ I donâ€™t go to that pubâ€¦ oh dearâ€¦â€ After just 2 minutes with her itâ€™s easy to see that this diva reputation is all a construction, Winehouse is intelligent, articulate and enthusiastic, as well as being at times brutally honest and down to earth.
â€œThe thing that bothers me is that they do get it wrong. But it also makes me laugh because Iâ€™m such a selfless person, I donâ€™t go out all like, â€œDonâ€™t you know who I am?â€ Iâ€™m the complete opposite of that, Iâ€™ll be out going, â€œDonâ€™t you know who he is?! Look heâ€™s pretty! Come here boy!â€ Iâ€™ll just be drunk and not a mess mess, but I donâ€™t give a fuck.â€
Immediately the subject of weight rears its ugly head, the article mentions â€œworried friendsâ€ and â€œeccentric eating habits.â€ But the tiny star openly admits to having eating disorders, and hopes talking about them she will help other girls. â€œI realise that I have a chance to bring certain things to certain peopleâ€™s attention, not necessarily the masses, Iâ€™m not Bono.â€
â€œMy friends arenâ€™t worried now; Iâ€™m a lot better than I was! And theyâ€™re not worried, primarily because I work so much I hardly see my friends. Everyoneâ€™s got their own shit to get on with and who gives a fuck about me missing a meal a day? Iâ€™ve had a flirtation with every eating disorder there is. I wouldnâ€™t tie myself down to one. And then I realise that I have to eat and I will fatten myself up and put on half a stone in a week â€˜cause Iâ€™m good like that.â€
â€œUsually I would be like, â€œFuck off Iâ€™m a musician, why do you wanna talk about that?â€ but Iâ€™ve realised that there are a lot of girls who are in exactly the same boat as me. People donâ€™t know how hard it is, and how common it is, and how dangerous it can be. A lot of girls are ashamed, like I was ashamed. I used to make myself sick and be ashamed. Itâ€™s nothing to be ashamed of, itâ€™s a compulsion, if you can control it great, if you canâ€™t then you are in the grip of something bigger than you. Itâ€™s not a physical thing; itâ€™s very much a psychological thing. Iâ€™m glad I can talk about it.â€
Fortunately she doesnâ€™t feel pressure to be thin from being in the public eye, stating, â€œI donâ€™t actually, I think itâ€™s a security thing for me. Iâ€™m a musician; Iâ€™m not really a pop star, so that takes precedent.â€
She also sympathises with the comments that Lily Allen made on her blog about the â€˜patronisingâ€™ NME feature, The Cool List, and the unexpected cover change make way for a male fronted act seemingly to sell more copies of the magazine, Muse. â€œThe thing about Lily is sheâ€™s like me, she just says it! And sheâ€™s not wrong! Sheâ€™s right on the money that girl. I think that in Lilyâ€™s position, sheâ€™s just released her first album and sheâ€™s like, â€˜Right! Now Iâ€™ve got a voice I can say anything.â€™ Because I was like that when I released my first album and I was worse than her! I reckon when she does her next album she just wonâ€™t bother with stuff like that, she wonâ€™t care so much. And in support of Lilly, I think they just put Muse on the cover because they tour 300 days a year, theyâ€™ve probably got 10 albums out or something, and nobody knows what the fuckers look like!â€
For a singer and songwriter who lays her relationships bare on her records, she naturally goes on to openly talk about her current relationship. Explaining that the reason she was â€œdepressedâ€ during the interview mentioned in the article, was because her boyfriend had found out that sheâ€™d cheated on him. â€œI cheated on him like a month ago when we first got together, which I didnâ€™t think really counts, which is subject to speculationâ€¦â€
Back to the nitty gritty then, and she tells us that sheâ€™s much happier with her new record â€˜Back To Blackâ€™, after being quoted as saying that she couldnâ€™t listen to Frank because she was so unhappy with it. â€œI smoked a lot of weed then which makes you a) paranoid and b) defensive, and this time, I go to the gym, I donâ€™t smoke anymore, and I know them all. I trust them.â€
â€œWith Frank I was like, â€˜Shit! Why didnâ€™t I put that in?â€™ and, â€˜Shit! Why did I let them put that in? But itâ€™s a learning curve, and the thing is, the album isnâ€™t a complete disaster but it was a learning curve. You always want to make whatâ€™s in your head on CD, I think Iâ€™ve done it 150% on this one, Iâ€™ve surpassed myself. And people like Mark (Ronson) and Salaam (Remi) really pulled it out for me. I am so lucky I get to meet people like them.â€ She enthuses: â€œMark is great. Iâ€™m like his little brother and heâ€™s my big sister! Heâ€™s a very influential boy. Heâ€™s like me, heâ€™s a geek, a real music geek and nerdy with it, so weâ€™re always trying to impress each other.â€
Her new album takes a tip from â€˜Frankâ€™, but her vitriolic take on relationships has softened somewhat. Still essentially a break up album this record takes a more introspective turn, especially on tracks like â€˜Love Is A Losing Gameâ€™ where the specifics are left out and an overarching melancholy pervades. Her albums back to back seem to suggest she has been through a series of tumultuous relationships, and she admits this to a certain extent.
â€œYeah, I have the sensitivity and the romance and the, fuckinâ€™, throw myself into a situation thing that a woman has. But I also have the â€˜fuck yourself I donâ€™t careâ€™ thing of a man. So I will throw myself into someone but the minute they fuck me up Iâ€™ll be like, â€˜It was nice, thank you for letting me know what a shit you are, bye!â€™ And I donâ€™t regret throwing myself into any situation because if you donâ€™t do that youâ€™ll never know.â€
â€œIâ€™m not even that sexual, Iâ€™m like a boy. You know, if a boy goes out all night the girlfriend is like â€œWhere have you been?!â€ and heâ€™s just like â€œShut up Iâ€™ve been drinking and playing pool.â€ Iâ€™m like that; all I wanna do is have a good time, have a laugh with people. I donâ€™t need intimacy, I donâ€™t need love, I always look after myself perpetually and forever soâ€¦ ah huhâ€¦ (with a coy smile which suggests this statement isnâ€™t entirely true) my boy just text meâ€¦â€
Shortly before she is rushed off to do a phone interview with a magazine from Brazil, Gigwise asks her what she thinks about â€˜Rehabâ€™ being covered in Jo Wileyâ€™s Live Lounge by Paulo Nutini. â€œI heard about that! Thatâ€™s so nice! And I canâ€™t even think of his voice now, which is really insulting, but yeah! Is he fit? No I think Iâ€™ve seen a picture of him and he is fitâ€¦ hmmmmâ€¦â€