Sunday, May 18, 2008
ANOTHER HEARTFELT LETTER FROM WINO'S MOM
Amy Winehouse's mother, Janis, has written yet another open letter to the media, talking about her druggie daughter and son-in-law, Blake incarcerated. Read what she has to say below:
Tomorrow, they should be celebrating their first wedding anniversary.
Instead, Blake Fielder-Civil languishes in Pentonville Prison, while his singer wife Amy Winehouse, 24, veers from one drug-addled crisis to another.
So what do her and Blake's families make of her car-crash life? This week, the Mail spoke exclusively to Amy's mother, Janis, and Blake's mother, Georgette.
Janis, 53, who is divorced from Amy's father Mitch, lives in North London and has been with her partner Tony for ten years. She says:
Last night, a friend came round with an old photo she'd found of our family, when we were all preparing to go to a bar mitzvah.
Amy is about 16 and looks so beautiful. Her lovely curly hair is tied back, and her body is free from all the horrible tattoos she's had in recent years.
She looks like a different woman from the one I saw at the weekend - rake-thin and covered in body art.
I thought: "God, Amy, what's happened to you?'" But then, with Amy, it sometimes feels like we're living through a motion picture - the music, the drugs, the drama. I've realised I can't control it, and I've stopped trying.
As it is, I've actually seen quite a lot of her in the past week. She has been recording some new songs at a studio in Henley, where she's also been staying, and I have visited her there three times.
Her state of mind varies. When I went a week ago, she had been up all night and was asleep most of the day, and on Friday she was a bit up and down.
But on Sunday she was more positive and had an appointment with a doctor to discuss treatment options. She did not say she was off drugs, but she said she was cutting down.
On Friday, she was a bit upset because she'd planned to visit her husband Blake in Pentonville Prison, where he's been on remand since last November - but the traffic into town was so terrible that she missed her slot and had to turn back.
Obviously, it's difficult to be sympathetic. Amy knows there's no love lost between Blake and me, and, let's be honest, no mother really wants to refer to her son-in-law as "my son-in-law in jail" do they?
Fundamentally, my partner Tony and I are trying to play this very low-key as far as Blake's concerned. He's got his own rubbish going on, and he's also making his own press even though he's in jail.
We saw something the other day about the fact that he'd got a new girlfriend who visits, and how he's going to get money from Amy, and I thought: "Oh, OK. Really?"
It's all in his head. They've been married, what, all of two minutes, maybe ten? He's been in prison for almost as long as they've been together. It's a joke.
But then so was the wedding, really. I wasn't upset by it because it meant nothing; nothing whatsoever. I think they were in Miami and got caught up in the moment, and that was it.
It was more like a picnic in the park than a wedding.
I know Mitch, Amy's father, was upset. He rang me to say: "Why has she done it, Janis?" He'd spoken to her the day before and she'd told him she was getting married. He had asked her not to, but to wait until she came back to England as he thought I'd be devastated.
And Amy said: "OK, I'll wait, I promise." But of course she didn't.
It was the work of a moment - and that's how I chose to treat it. When I told my father that Amy had got married, he said: "Oh well, her next album will be about the divorce." And he's in his 80s.
As far as I'm concerned, Blake more than played his part in Amy's downfall. People I trust have told me that Amy didn't start on the hard drugs until she met Blake - and I think that says it all.
"Don't get me wrong: I know she dabbled in drugs before. I was aware of her smoking dope in her teens. But she was always adamant that she would never touch the hard stuff, that she didn't need it.
That all changed when she met Blake. She didn't start self-harming until Blake came along, either.
I know Georgette, Blake's mother, says the opposite and blames Amy for Blake's downfall. But that's absolute rubbish.
I think she's fighting a good case for her son so he gets a good payout from any divorce - although I, personally, find the concerned mother act a bit hard to swallow.
I've never met her, and I probably never will, and I certainly won't bother extending the hand of friendship because I believe she would only bite it off.
What I can tell you is that if Blake is expecting a bumper pay-off, then he is going to be disappointed.
I keep reading figures saying Amy is worth £10 million. Well, I handle her finances and I know exactly what she has - and she doesn't even have £1 million.
I haven't discussed any of this with Amy. She knows how I feel, but I don't want to turn her against me so we simply do not talk about Blake.
In her mind, she has fallen in love. She will only see the good in him, and there is no point trying to tell them otherwise. She has to be the one who recognises it for herself.
It's a delicate dance, and it's got to play itself out. In the meantime, I can only thank God that her body weight at the moment means she's unlikely to get pregnant.
Blake has his court case coming up very shortly so we will see what happens. If he stays behind bars, I could sleep more easily at night because it might finally mean an opportunity for Amy to move on. But you also have to guard against her playing the lovelorn prison widow.
I was amused to read this week that a girl billing herself as his best friend said Blake wanted to go and live with her after he left prison.
I would say to her: "You're welcome to him." That would be the happiest arrangement for everyone.
As a mother, it's very hard when you can see your daughter hurting herself and you're helpless to do anything about it. Seeing the pictures of her smoking crack cocaine was devastating.
But then Amy has never been an easy child, and there is a part of her that needs constant drama. She always did exactly what she wanted to - and still does.
What Amy didn't have as a child was an awareness of consequences. It's like she's been wired differently, and I'm not sure there's much you can do to change that. It's part of what makes Amy the artist she is.
That doesn't mean that I'm not shocked, but I have to try to protect myself, too, because we have been back and forth so much recently and it's very upsetting.
But I don't think she's totally lost control. She's a girl who lives on the edge; she toys with it. But she has an awareness of it, too - and that will save her in the end.
Maybe it's just because I'm her mother, but I think Amy will have a resurrection, and everyone will say: "I thought she was going to kill herself - but here she is."
I wish I could wrap her in cotton wool, but she needs to find her own way through this.
Georgette Civil, 42, who has her own hair salon, lives in rural Nottinghamshire with her husband Giles, a headmaster. Her son Blake, 25, a former music industry runner, is on remand in prison, charged with perverting the course of justice and GBH.
Every week, I see countless photographs of my daughter-in-law's increasingly bad behaviour splashed across the newspapers and magazines.
Half-dressed, surrounded by hangers-on, Amy looks every bit the drug addict, with her thin frame, grubby fingernails and cuts on her arms.
But there's just one question that plays constantly on my mind: Where are Amy's parents, Mitch and Janis, in this sorry mess?
If Amy were our daughter, my husband Giles and I certainly wouldn't let her walk the streets in this state. She's got a strong father and a big PR machine around her. They should have come together to tackle her addictions, instead of leaving her to humiliate herself in the press every day.
I know how painful it is to see your child's demons played out so publicly in the newspapers. Until my son Blake was remanded in custody, he was constantly photographed with Amy.
They spent last summer being pictured lurching from one bloodied, drug-fuelled incident to the next.
After a 'summit' last August between Giles and I, and Mitch and his second wife Jane, Amy and Blake checked into rehab. But they absconded a week later and their behaviour spiralled out of control.
It might seem odd for a mother to say this, but I was relieved when Blake was jailed in November. Parted from Amy, I felt it was his greatest chance - and hers - of beating the addiction to class A drugs.
Together, they were destroying one another. Apart, we felt they stood a chance of getting clean.
Nine months on, Blake's the boy we had before he moved to London and met Amy. He's charming and funny. He's been on a drug rehabilitation programme and has passed all recent random drugs tests.
Most importantly, he's finally taking responsibility for his behaviour - but Amy is not. For the nine months Blake's been inside, she's been a loose cannon.
Mitch earns a lot of money from Amy. Why doesn't he hire a couple of heavies to get rid of all the riff-raff who hang around at her house? Nobody would criticise him for that: they'd see a father trying to save his daughter.
Or why doesn't he frogmarch her to the police station with her heroin and say: "I love her that much - prosecute her!" While I wouldn't wish prison on her, if it had the same effect on Amy as it has had on Blake, surely it would be worth it.
It's been very tough for Blake in prison. When he failed an early drugs test, he was put in solitary confinement and housed in a glass box when we went to visit.
Since then, while he's been getting his act together, Amy has been arrested for assault and questioned by police over video footage showing her allegedly smoking crack cocaine. She's missed a real opportunity to sort herself out.
When Blake was jailed, I suggested to her that she should go to rehab for the same length as time as he was in prison, so that they'd be in it together and clean when they came out the other side.
Astonishingly, she told me she didn't need rehab because she didn't have a problem.
Now, Blake is in solitary confinement again, at his own request, to keep himself away from the temptation of drugs.
He tells me: "Mum, I like being off drugs. I like myself again." Can you imagine what a gift it is for me to hear him say that? He's put on weight, lost the dark circles around his eyes and his skin is clearer.
And, for the first time in months, he's looking to the future. He has always loved books, and he's been talking to his dad and I about the possibility of buying a little book shop one day.
He still loves Amy, but he knows himself that he can't go back to her as she is at the moment, or to their home while it's continually being used for partying and drug-taking. He told her that the other week.
He wrote to his dad and I to say that when he does get out, he wants to come home to us, or to stay with his friend Sarah, whom he met when he first moved to London. She doesn't do drugs and has been a tower of strength to us all.
Blake's made it clear to Amy that while he wants to be with her, he wants a different lifestyle. He wants to go on picnics and to museums, and remain drug-free. Why doesn't Amy channel the energy she puts into partying until 4am into getting herself better?
My greatest fear is that if he goes back to her, we'll be burying him within the year. I know he'd dearly love them to be together again - but only if they are both healthy and clean.
It's true that he has threatened on a number of occasions to divorce her, but he says that only in a bid to jolt her into seeking the help she desperately needs. I can state categorically that if Blake divorced Amy tomorrow, he wouldn't want a cent from her.
My last conversation with Amy was in April. I'd been to visit Blake, and I told her how well he looked. Then I vented my fears that if he's released, he'll go back to her and to drugs. She was furious - accusing me of having no faith in my son.
But it's her that I have no faith in. I haven't spoken to her since, although she did leave me a voice message asking about another of my visits to Blake.
She often doesn't turn up for her own prearranged visits with him. This breaks my heart, because he sits there waiting for her, only to be disappointed.
I'm very cross with Amy's mother, too. Janis has never said a nice thing about Blake. It's been too convenient for her to blame him for Amy's addiction.
In their position, Giles and I would have bundled her into a car and taken her somewhere where she'd be under medical surveillance 24 hours a day.
We'd been considering doing that with Blake before he was put into prison.
Both sets of parents have accepted that Amy and Blake's drugs problems were joint ones. But Amy's fallen farther and farther off the path, and I haven't seen Mitch and Janis do anything to prevent that.
Although we are not in touch, I believe Mitch is as scared as we are about what the hell will happen to them when Blake gets out.
Blake's trial starts on June 2 and he's nervous. We're all nervous. Giles will see Blake on May 31 to reassure him that whatever happens, we are very proud of him, and that we love him very much. Giles is the straight talker.
His permanent message to Blake is: "Get rid of Amy." He feels that Amy's let our son down again and again, and he doesn't want to see or speak to her again.
I don't believe she'll even turn up every day for the trial. If she does, she won't be on time, and I don't think she'll be there for the verdict.
At his last court hearing, she turned up late and off her head on drugs.
We've always said Blake's no angel, but we've tried to stand by him and do the right thing as parents. We hope, eventually, that his loving upbringing will kick in and he'll say: "I've had enough. I deserve a better life than this."
- 5 Deadly Venoms
- Another Gay Movie
- Blade Runner
- Boy Culture
- Brokeback Mountain
- Die Hard
- Eating Out
- Enter the Dragon
- First Blood
- Friday the 13th (1980)
- Kill Bill
- Mysterious Skin
- Night of the Living Dead
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Spider Man 2
- The Bourne Trilogy
- The Circuit
- The Crazies (2009)
- The Dark Knight
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Fluffer
- The Goonies
- The Lost Boys
- The Matrix
- The Monster Squad
- The Road
- The Road Warrior
- The Terminator
- True Lies