Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Erupting volcanoes...and AMY WINEHOUSE
I’ve just got back from two weeks in Sicily...we were staying in a little house amid lemon groves just 8 kilometres away from Mount Etna. While we were there the volcano erupted, several times, causing the house to shake. We stood on the roof terrace watching rivers of molten lava fall down the mountain. It was hugely exciting, like a massive firework display. Villagers around are fairly sanguine. This happens quite often, apparently, and rarely does the lava reach the villages below.
A few days later we headed up the mountain to have a look, and were amazed by a landscape of black lava, cracked earth and petrified trees. We walked in old craters and took photos Dr Who style. The smell of sulphur was overwhelming. Later we went to Riposte, one of our favourite seaside places, for supper. By then the wind had carried the volcanic ash and deposited it in the streets, so it felt like we were wading through black sand.
All this somehow got fused with a dream about Amy Winehouse. While we were on holiday I heard about her death. It felt strange being at one remove, away from England, receiving such sad news. Her death was inevitable, but it was still shocking. Such a waste, such huge talent and potential just wiped out. Gone. The world feels a little less without her in it. On an elemental level, the volcano symbolised the fire and passion of her music, her voice and her life force. And the immovable presence of the solidified black lava and the black ash on the streets symbolised her death. I was brought up a Catholic, and I remember as a child the priest daubing a black ash cross on my forehead on the Ash Wednesday before Easter...black ash here, in Italy, echoed my feelings about her death. Back to Black. May she rest in peace.