Oh, and speaking of truly excellent role models…Amy Winehouse is probably not one of them. Unless the 27 Club is one of your ambitions in life, an opportunity I’ve already outlived. I do think that Winehouse was a very inspiring figure and a good role model, until she got all derailed. She was, obviously, brilliant. There’s nothing in her early performances that hints she would end up being her generation’s Janis Joplin. I know every two-bit obituary writer has made that comparison, but who better to carry it than Amy Winehouse? Like Janis, she was a bundle of raw talent who couldn’t distinguish between singing the blues and living them. You couldn’t tell all that at the start, but it was pretty clear that here was someone about to blossom into a serious star. More than her late-life drunken antics, it’s the early performances that make me the saddest. Before the big hair and tattoos, before the whole persona, there was a slightly awkward Cockney girl who seemed to have more voice than she quite knew what to do with. She was still foundering around for the right balance between her jazz influences and her modern sensibility, but she was already an impressive writer. Because outside of all the glamorous/debauched rock star mannerisms, what really made her an inspiration was her songwriting. The title of her first album, Frank, couldn’t have been more apt. She wrote frankly about herself, and by extension, the life of a modern girl who might drink too much and have too many one night stands but isn’t one tiny little bit ashamed of those things. I think Winehouse was and remains a great feminist icon, for the way she presented modern day womanhood; complicated, sometimes troubled, often drunk, unabashedly sexual, heartbroken, fearless, dirty minded, brave, intelligent, self-created, foul-mouthed, fashionable, selfish, drugged out, articulate and above all, totally shameless. Because we girls today like to drink and fuck and cuss and drink some more until we fall down, and if we do those things all the way to our early graves, well, that’s still better than living up to some false ideal of ‘propriety’.