Gary Flockhart: Kapadia film chases Amy

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
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WHEN Foo Fighters were forced to cancel their Glastonbury headline set due to singer Dave Grohl’s unfortunate leg break, there was much talk on who would step in. Many acts were mentioned – including Blur – and in the end the organisers decided to go with the Flo (see what I did there?) and book Ms Welch and her Machine.

You have to wonder how many big festivals Amy Winehouse would have played by now had she lived. The Back to Black singer was a once-in-a-generation talent, and had it not been for her rapacious intake of noxious substances, she’d have been a shoo-in to headline Glasto.

Sadly, it was not to be. As we all know, Amy died in 2011.

I was lucky enough to interview her – funny, funny girl, with a razor-sharp wit – and make no apologies for saying I am a fan. As such, I had serious reservations about the new film, Amy, which premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Since her death at the age of 27, there have been countless books, TV shows and documentaries about the drug-haunted diva. None, it has to be said, have told us anything we didn’t already know, and the worst of them have been horribly over-sensationalised.

Mercifully, Asif Kapadia’s film isn’t like that at all. For the first time, we get a real insight into who Amy really was – and it’s rivetting stuff.

The film is made up of footage – most of it never-before-seen – from her teenage years to her last days on earth. With so much written about how she wasn’t long for this world during her very public decline, it’s great to see an Amy who wasn’t wasted all the time.

There’s a chilling scene early on, in which Amy, still fresh-faced and as-then-undiscovered, muses about her future. “I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous,” she tells an interviewer. “I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad.”

Sadly, her words turned out to be prophetic.