All I can to add to the ever-expanding collective memory of her is my own experience of her music and the effect she has had on me. Her addictions, her fame, her disastrous performances and sporadic no-shows, her tabloid status and her immediately iconic look, from the beehive to the missing tooth to the ever-diminishing twig-like limbs... well, these are the things that the obituaries will have to talk about. But I was already a Winehouse fan by the time her personal life took over her musical endeavours, having chanced on her appearance on Jools Holland in 2003.
As a teenager who loved both the Libertines and Lauryn Hill, I was always – and sometimes still am – trying to reconcile my guitar with my voice. All the usual guitar-wielding women failed to hold my interest, like Courtney Love or Chrissie Hynde (this was just before the download age got going – finding worthy musical heroes was pretty tricky in the darkest West Country, despite growing up a few miles from PJ Harvey). Yet my favourite R&B voices seemed worlds away from music I could play myself, with their slick ProTools beats or jazz piano and vinyl crackle.
But then there's Winehouse, bashing out 'Stronger Than Me' on a Strat which even I had to admit was fucking boss, and I hate Strats. And I can clearly remember turning the TV on, in the corner of my room, standing there in a t-shirt and pants aged 16 at midnight on a Friday, as close to the sound as I could get and completely entranced by this girl combining the most unique, drawling, bluesy, growling, sweet and strange voice I'd ever heard with a guitar and a jutting chin, a macho stance and lascivious look. At the time, Winehouse had just turned 20 years old.