What on earth did you expect? “Good evening Belgrade, come on, hands up!” Would you consider that a proper “performance”?
First, Amy Winehouse is not a singer. Svetlana Raznatovic is a singer. In her farewell concert, just before being sent to the slammer, I’m sure she “paid due respect” to her audience. On the contrary, Amy is a goddess, a divine creature from the Universe, which staggers under the weight of life, and Belgrade, unfortunately, did not understand that it attended a harrowing moment of history. Amy is the ultimate artist, one in a long line of self-destructive geniuses; she was not born and does not exist for Dulic to tap his feet, or for VIP people to demonstrate what they learned in their yesterday’s English lesson. She set herself on fire, all by herself, and is now disappearing before our eyes, she is evaporating, melting, transforming into atomic number 79. Hating her performance is tantamount to witnessing the moment in which Van Gogh cuts his ear off, but you feel rotten because his lymph sprays your irises. It spoils the decorum and those nice colors. Or tantamount to you asking for your money back, because Captain Kelly cuts short his concert in New Haven.
Tonight, Belgrade witnessed history, the YouTube video featuring “Just Friends” should be deposited in the archives of Museum Of Modern Art, to be preserved as a valuable document. All of this reminds me of “The Last Sitting” of Bert Stern, the last photo-session of Marilyn Monroe, few weeks before her death. Photos were commissioned by Vogue, and published the day after she died. They reveal everything: why she lived and why she died; all of her demons and her beauty, a fresh scar from gall bladder surgery, and a terrible sorrow of that radiant being. During the shooting, Marilyn got badly drunk several times, so that she had to take long naps, and those moments were the most touching ones. Later, she stippled with her nail polish the negatives she did not like, and those pictures are the best. Hating Amy last night would be the same as photoshopping away the scar on Marilyn’s belly. Because your signed copy of that photo on your wall matches nicely with your Poltrona Frau sofa, while the scar is just, like, gross.
What kind of the blasé mainstream took over this city? What kind of obnoxious media lynching of a real genius, while she’s on her knees, what unison in moshing. And everybody’s there, all ambassador Konuzin’s party guests. What’s easier than that? Nothing. What is harder? Life as such.
Good evening Athens. Good evening New York. “Well, I’m the Crawlin’ King Snake /And I rule my den.” The one who fails to understand this, fail to understand anything. In fact, he does understand something: “Good evening, Offenbach.”
PS: I’m not a rock critic, nor is this a concert review. I invest in Amy by buying tickets, so she could spend the money the way she likes. Last time I waited for her in Paris, when her band announced she was not coming. This time, too, I’d bought a ticket, but this time I did not come. I knew what alchemy is, and I knew she’d evaporate. Those who planned to bop along, missed the event. Amy is a comet. If she could stick her pen in her heart, And spill it all over the stage, Would it satisfy ya? It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.
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Translated by Lana Budimlic