Shortly after news broke that Amy Winehouse had died on Saturday, her fans and neighbors set up a memorial in the Camden Town section of London. Today, the atmosphere there was eerily quiet, as a variety of mourners both young and old paid their respects and lay flowers, cigarettes, beer cans, empty wine glasses, written poems and drawn artwork. One poem at the site, written in marker on poster board, is titled "Oh Amy Why?" and pleads "Amy why? Amy why? / Why has this happened? / You were so young, so gifted, so talented." Another note, attached to a bouquet of flowers, reads "Thanks Amy, you made an old rock and roller want to play again, live again."
Winehouse was a fixture of the Camden Town neighborhood, which boasts a very active night life, and a regular at the Hawley Pub, where she regularly interacted with – and occasionally served – customers. Tonight, a regular told Rolling Stone that the pub is planning on taking all extra profits from Saturday and donating it to a cause "worthy of Amy."
Simon, a Camden Town resident of over 30 years who declined to give his last name, remembered Winehouse from her days working at a local launderette and her performances at the Jazz Cafe. "It doesn't make it any less bad that she was damaged, that she was a woman in pain," he said. "They'll remember her as a great Londoner and a great artist, one of the greatest voices of the last 50 years."
Another neighbor, who gave her name as Carola, told Rolling Stone that Winehouse had seemed to be in good shape in the weeks before her death. "You could tell, she was a bit messed up sometimes, but I thought after her rehabilitation she was looking a bit better, but, yeah, completely surprised."
Sisters Trudi and Kelly Wilkes, from nearby Primrose Hill, also knew Winehouse from the Hawley Pub. "I have to say, a lot of her antics made me laugh, but it felt like I was laughing with her, not at her. A lot of people have made some horrible comments on Facebook but these are the same ones that want their kids to grow up to be famous," said Kelly. "People don't realize the price of fame."
"How can anyone not be a fan of Amy Winehouse?" asked Trudi. "Part of me always wanted to believe that she would overcome this and sort herself out. Everybody loves a comeback kid. We can't believe she's gone."
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The memorial site has also attracted a number of tourists. Marta Mayo, a visitor from Spain, stopped by the site with a can of Stella Artois in one hand and a cigarette in the other, "just like Amy would have wanted." Remarking on the mood at the memorial, she said, "It's so quiet, it's strange. I almost feel as if we should be singing because that's what Amy would have done. If I could sing, I would start something."
Londoners were also passing through today on their way home from work."It's so touching being here," said Tom Marshall, a 27-year-old musician from London. "I wasn't surprised when I heard the news, but I was in a way shocked. Obviously, I didn't know her as a person and I probably only got the tabloid view of her as a junkie. One of the sad things is that that may have contributed to this: the pressure of the paparazzi outside her house all the time."
Marshall added: "The sunset over London on the day she died was incredible. I've never seen anything like it. I took a photo of it and have just placed it on the memorial. Friends of mine from my squat, we also painted the words 'Amy Winehouse R.I.P.' on to the front of our house. I've put a picture of that here too."
Reporting from London by Chiara Atik and Chine Mbubaegbu.
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