How can you not love Amy Winehouse? But I think I love her for a different reason than most people. I love her for her associations with walking.
In late 2007 the "troubled star" was seen, and photographed, walking the streets of East London, barefoot and stripped down to a bra and jeans. In some reports this was transmuted into a "nude night walk." A "source" told the British tabloid The Sun, "Amy came out and started stumbling around. She popped her head over the fence like she was looking for something. It was freezing and she had no shoes and just a red bra. She was mumbling something incomprehensible. It wasn't the behavior of someone in the right state of mind." Don't you just love a good "source"?
According to msn.com the same thing happened again this year: the headline was "Winehouse goes on bizarre night walk." This time she was not (according to sources) naked, but dressed in "a stringy vest, a thin top and denim shorts" and she "walked through the streets erratically. Sometime during the walk, she collected a bottle of vodka and when she signed an autograph for a fan, she signed his name instead of her own. She looked a mess and found it hard to avoid stumbling."
Well, come on, stumbling is just another form of walking, if you ask me. And Amy and her fans are equally capable of spirited walking. At a gig in Birmingham this year the crowd reacted with boos and walkouts. In the end Winehouse herself threw down the microphone and walked off stage, though not before telling the unhappy fans to "wait 'til my husband gets out of incarceration. And I mean that."
I'm sure she did, but again, according to the papers, incarcerated hubby Blake Fielder-Civil was planning to do some walking of his own. He was reported as admitting that he'd turned Amy into a junkie and said he planned to walk away from the marriage in order to save her life.
Still, Amy's troubles haven't kept her from winning Grammy awards: she picked up five this year, and she picked up some sympathy too. Chaka Khan said of her, "She's walking her walk. We all have a walk in life, we have hard and difficult times, and going through that chaos often leads to clarity. We have to have that room and that space, that privacy time, to be able to walk your walk."
Amy Winehouse also sings a fine song called "Fuck Me Pumps" — though I guess that isn't strictly about walking.
Which, of course, got me thinking about the great and now very recently late Bettie Page. Her life as a model is buttressed by two great walking moments. The first, she was walking on the beach at Coney Island when a photographer named Jerry Tibbs spotted her and asked to take her picture, thus launching her career. Then later she was on a different beach, in Key West, and saw a church with a neon cross on top. According to Bunny Yeager, "She walked into the church and never walked out."