It's dawn on a hot Sunday morning in June, and Amy Winehouse is inside her North London home, staring at her reflection in a dark tinted mirror, looking the tiny little body in front of her up and down, assessing the emaciated tattooed limbs, the jungle of a black beehive weave, the hallucinatory glow of her transparent green eyes. All around her, Winehouse's home is in disastrous disarray: Discarded bags of potato chips, crumpled nuggets of tinfoil, beer bottles, lingerie boxes and scattered old credit cards tell of a long night that hasn't ended in weeks, maybe months.
While Winehouse's Saturday isn't really over, her Sunday has begun with a shriek. The tabloids have hit the pavement and slapped her out of her weekend reverie with yet another high-decibel scandal. This time it's photographs and videos — leaked from a lost digital camera — that show Winehouse in various states of dereliction, all shot by her now-imprisoned husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. What's scandalous this time isn't the pictures of Winehouse surrounded by crack pipes (there have been too many of those this year) but a video of her singing to Fielder-Civil a ditty chockablock with racial slurs: "Blacks, Pakis, gooks and nips … deaf and dumb and blind and gay," she and a girlfriend sing goofily.
The morning headline reads 'Sex, Drugs and Racist Rant,' but at Winehouse's place, there's no publicist or manager to be seen, no crisis-management squad deployed to save one of the decade's most successful female vocalists from public shame. That's not Winehouse's style — it's just her and a girlfriend. British singer Remi Nicole pores over the paper, annoyed, telling her friend that all this scandal has to stop.
"All right, Remi, it's over," says Winehouse bluntly.
"No, but how did anyone know about you and Alex and Kristian?" Nicole asks her, referring to alleged extramarital dalliances by Winehouse reported in the press.
"They're, like, all these Chinese whispers," says Winehouse sadly.
"You need to get rid of the cunts around you who whisper," says Nicole, and after a pause, "What's the point of him taking pictures of you with a crack pipe?" referring to Fielder-Civil.
"It wasn't like that, babe," says Winehouse sweetly as she scours the floor in a stupor for a head scarf. "It's important that you know that. You know a lot of things are more casual to me than they are to you."
"Yeah, like smoking crack," Nicole says under her breath.
"It's just incidental," says Winehouse. "He's taking pictures of me because we were on our honeymoon, and he thought I looked pretty." She finds a red scarf with white polka dots, à la Minnie Mouse, and carefully fastens it around her head, tying it in a jaunty bow. Winehouse lifts her black wife-beater and stares at her chest — the tattoo of her husband's name thundering across her heart, barely encased by a gray polkadot push-up bra. "Should I wear my Spanish top?" she asks no one in particular. Downstairs, a growing pack of paparazzi has gathered in a frenzy, inches from her door, with cameras at the ready, anticipating Winehouse's response.
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