Channel surfing Forever 27
- Althea Lauren Ricardo () - August 2, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - I have to apologize for the long absence. A business trip sent me to a strangely rainy and cold summertime

Paris for several days, and like the sun, a reliable Internet connection was barely seen. I’d been prepared for summer. I’d packed for it, in fact. We had been warned it could get hot and dry, but we were greeted with days upon days of wet and dreary weather.

One of those days found me walking with a French friend in Montparnasse Cemetery, searching old gravestones for the one that belonged to the French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The weather was apt—it was a lovely gray day in a lovely, mostly gray cemetery.

The friend I was with had introduced me to Gainsbourg, and while I hadn’t really made time to get to know the musician’s work well enough, a few YouTube videos had made me aware of his lyrical brilliance... and his rather controversial character.

Standing before the artist’s grave and looking at the bits and pieces of love in all forms his fans had left behind, like cigarette packs and tiny teddy bears and hand-drawn portraits scribbled with barely intelligible poetry, I wondered about my own legacy. And, struggling to see how the future would view my past as a whole, I then found myself rewinding my life, tracing the roads I had found myself on as I made one turn after another.

And it struck me: If you had told me a year ago that I’d be in Montparnasse, standing on wet ground before Serge Gainsbourg’s grave with my friend Remi, I would’ve been hard put to believe it, because it was nowhere on my road map. I would have probably found it easier to picture myself standing, all tourist-like, before the Eiffel Tower, perhaps making a double V-sign even, since I do work as a manager for a French company and a trip to the main office had always been a possibility. But you can picture big events, I think, and the act of living out your choices, beautifully or otherwise, will be responsible for filling in the unforgettable moments.

As we were leaving Montparnasse, I asked Remi about a more famous cemetery, the one where Jim Morrison was buried. Only, I said Jimi Hendrix instead of Jim Morrison. “You mean Jim Morrison?” he said. “And I don’t know if Jimi Hendrix is dead.” I laughed and replied, “Maybe.” I’d always been terrible with names of musicians and their song titles.

It was only on the way home, during a layover in Abu Dhabi, that I realized the reason for my confusion was a little more valid than my usual case of failed name recall. A colleague was sitting in the lounge, laptop open, staring at his screen seriously. “You can’t be working,” I said.

“No. Amy Winehouse is dead.”

Sadly, I know more about Amy Winehouse’s life than her music. There was a time when surfing the net for entertainment news meant sifting through the unsavory details of Amy’s and her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil’s drug-and-alcohol-troubled lives. There were always pictures and pictures of them looking drunk, dirty or banged up, often walking hand-in-hand, all you-and-me-against-the-press-like. There was never-ending news about their fighting and making up. And there were blogs that had people guessing when one of them would end up in prison or dead.

And now, Amy Winehouse is dead. She is a member of the Forever 27 Club. With Kurt Cobain. Jim Morrison. And Jimi Hendrix.

If someone had told her a year ago that she would be dead by now, either by overdose or by detox shock, would she have been able to picture how her day to day choices could pan out differently? Or would she have just considered the big event and then let her choices fill in the details? No matter how she lived her life, Amy has left a beautiful legacy and a horde of fans who won’t let the world forget it.

Which brings me to that word again: legacy. Is it something you can plan? Is it something you can create? And why do I have no idea of what could possibly be mine?

To be continued. Email your comments to alricardo@yahoo.com. You can also visit my personal blog at http://althearicardo. blogspot.com. You can text your comments again to (63)917-9164421. (FREEMAN)

 

ABU DHABI AMY WINEHOUSE BLAKE FIELDER-CIVIL EIFFEL TOWER JIM MORRISON JIMI HENDRIX MONTPARNASSE MONTPARNASSE CEMETERY REMI
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