This post may come as a surprise to you seen as I haven't posted for a while. I'd like to think that this is perhaps for the better but it also means you are now going to experience a tidal wave of a rant after my weekend down in London.
I must first state that I had a delightful weekend, although it wasn't too dissimilar to the ever-changing weather. I basked in the comfort of great food, greater company and even greater entertainment, but just as the rays of wintery sunlight were spattered with stormy showers, my sunday trip to the Amy Winehouse exhibition was equally spattered with some worrying observations...or should I say 'over-hearings'.
The exhibition itself was a truly beautiful homage to one of my favourite musicians and singers of all time: Amy Winehouse. As soon as I walked into the Jewish Museum in Camden, the emotion overwhelmed me as we passed by an iconic well-worn dress, hanging in a glass case, whilst her dulcet tones eerily filled the foyer of the museum. Alex Winehouse, her brother, who had collaborated and worked closely with the curator on the exhibition had made sure it was clear that this wasn't to be taken as a shrine to the star, but more as an insight into her life, into her family's life, and what influenced the young Jewish girl into becoming the hugely successful artist that she was.
The exhibition was indeed tastefully displayed, but a handful of the visitors and fans attending the event unfortunately were not. A few girls, probably in their 20s, had decided it was appropriate to come dressed in iconic outfits by which we remember Amy: Fred Perry polo shirts, vintage dresses, beehives and thick, black eyeliner galore. Of course, Amy Winehouse was a fashion icon and her image will influence the fashions for generations to come. We can, of course, also still purchase garments as part of the Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry collection. I should also point out that I would not expect anybody to come to the exhibition dressed in black mourning dress, after all it was an occasion and experience to celebrate the life of a legend. However, I could not help but feel uneasy that fans felt it appropriate to dress in this way.
Now, this observation would perhaps have passed me by as soon as I had left the museum had I not then experienced a second account of what was a lot more than simply bad taste. After looking around the exhibition on Amy Winehouse, I spent some time looking at the main collection at the Jewish Museum. Walking around the exhibits of photographs and information on the Holocaust section of the museum, I was unfortunately witness to a group of girls, again in their 20s, who quite loudly exhibited their own ignorance and misunderstanding of the Holocaust. I began to cringe when one of the group told her friends she had been on a trip to Auschwitz with work, and started to use the grayscale exhibited photographs to show (or show off) to her friends where she stood on the railway track, as though she was sifting through her holiday snaps on her iPhone. I was just about to walk away from the situation due to my blood reaching boiling point when another asked if Auschwitz was where 'Hitler did all that crazy stuff'...
Then came the crème de la crème as the previous girl turned to another of the exhibit photos, this time a picture of a Holocaust victim. She turned to her friend, struck a 'hand-on-hip' pose and squealed "THINSPIRATION!".
In hindsight, I should have said something. But my gob was well and truly smacked, leaving me utterly speechless. Now, of course, I have the perfect speech to put her in her place, carefully worded, without a stutter. But then again, I don't know how much of an effect it would have had on her. I doubt she was even 'inspired' by the photo to be that thin and simply said it for comedic effect...or so she thought. I, for one, was feeling sick to my stomach, and could only portray my disgust with a stern stare and a swift exit.
Food for thought I'd say. Feel free to leave comments.
Ess Double You.
P.S. On a lighter note...also overheard in LDN:
"well YOU were the one who said the Pyramids were bigger than Big Ben!"
This restored my faith in humanity.