Posted by: martinworster | June 11, 2008

121. AMY WINEHOUSE AT KOKO

Life moves in funny ways. I was watching Amy Winehouse on a music channel in Hi Def as she performed at London’s Koko. Koko’s used to be the Camden Palace, a venue I used to go to regularly in the late 80s to a night called Twist & Shout where they played sixties music. Here I was almost twenty years later sitting in my living room in California as Ms Winehouse sang sixties soul retro numbers at the same venue, on the same stage I used to bounce around on as a teenager.

Amy looked remarkably good in Hi Def. I couldn’t make out any signs of self harm. She’s like a cartoon character, a crack head Olive Oil with a remarkable talent and voice. She’s a proper artist who lives her art, perhaps too much as all her escapades and struggles are played out in lo def in the tabloids. I was pleased to be seeing her this time on TV doing what she’s best at. She mumbled in between songs. Then when singing she makes such an incredible noise for such a small being.

Koko looks all gleaming and spanking as a new music venue for London in the new millenium – especially in Hi Def, almost unreal, newer than new. Quite unlike when I used to frequent it to listen to The Who, James Brown, The Stones, The Kinks, Aretha etc blast out into the smokey, beer soaked hall. Admittedly my memories are faded, they could do with some upconverting into Hi Def. Okay so I’ve over use the Hi Def analogy – I’ll stop now. I remember regulars used to dance in sixties retro clothes (greasy quiffs, Converse hi tops, Lee Jeans) and dance in formation to some of the songs. We were just sweaty public schoolboys, drunk on Stella and perhaps a cheeky spliff before dancing. It was on a Wednesday night – a school night.

Camden Palace was shabby then with chewing gum on the floors and an air of faded glamour. I remember walking around the club and there were photos of Boy George and Steve Strange dotted around, relics to another of the Palaces incarnations as a hot spot for the New Romantics in the early 80s. The venue keeps reinventing itself. Thank you Amy in Hi Def for the retro memories.

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