Something which I’ve probably referred to here before, and have certainly tried to capture in writing I’ve done in the past, is what I like to think of as ‘sickening inevitability’. I liken it to the experience of being in a car on an icy surface, slamming on the brakes, and having no option but to sit and watch as you slide towards another vehicle. Nothing you can do, or say, to avoid the inevitable. Not just on terms of driving, of course – in life generally.
Which brings me to the recent media coverage of Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse. Firstly, let’s be honest and admit that the press coverage of these musical artistes is in vast disproportion to their importance to the world of music – the way the press give them column inches, you’d think that Doherty was the new Jacques Brel and Winehouse the new Marion Montgomery or something, and that both of them are selling albums in volumes that are making Beyonce Knowles jealous. They’re not, and I’m hard pressed to decide whether the excessive coverage is due to them being UK-based (the British press tends to exaggerate in such cases) or simply because it’s summer and the papers are in the midst of the ‘silly season’ (a phrase which is often thrown around by papers as they write about other papers, in a definite plank-in-your-own-eye scenario). Either way, the last few weeks, if not months, have seen loads of reports about these two individuals as they flounder from drink to drugs to rehab and back again.
And yet, when/if either or both of them is found dead with a needle hanging out of their arm or a dozen empty vodka bottles next to the body, I have the slightly bored suspicion that the media and their fans alike will feign surprise, shock, dismay and other such synonyms that Pete or Amy, the spokesperson for a generation, should be so cruelly cut down in the prime of their life, and during such a prolific period of their creativity.
People – me included – often talk about TV programmes such as Big Brother and The X-Factor as being ‘car crash TV’, where you know it’s somehow wrong to look but you somehow can’t stop yourself, but the current fascination with these two individuals, who seem to be sorely in need of a decent friend to take them aside and point out what’s wrong with their life, seems more like (oh, look, I’ve cleverly linked back to the opening of this post) watching the slide before the impact.
I wish them both no ill-will at all (I’m utterly unmoved by their music, but the world’s big enough for music I don’t care for), and I’m happy to be proved wrong by events, but it all just seems … well, as I say: sickening inevitability.