Didn't We Almost Have It All.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I'm not going to lie to you folks. Upon hearing of Whitney Houston's untimely death I tweeted my initial disbelief 'OMG WHITNEY HOUSTON IS DEAD' shortly followed by 'Where the fuck was Kevin Costner? Let down.' Lauren is my name and quipping about heart-rending news is my game. In all seriousness though my Mother and I were sat chin-wagging about Muesli or something just as random when the news broke at 2 this AM. It knocked the wind out of us. Granted the last few years of Miss Houston's life were by no means her greatest but my God I defy any woman to say, hand on heart, that Whitney's earth-shattering talent has not resonated with them in some way, shape or form.

Personally I cannot remember a time when Whitters hasn't been a part of my life. At six years old my school friends and I used to spend our break times tirelessly perfecting our dance routine to I Wanna Dance With Somebody. A dance routine that to this very day we still bust out in nightclubs across the Nation. Growing up Friday night was always my Mother’s night with ‘the girls’. Basically a few bevies and a bitching sesh at her pals house round the corner. If ever my siblings and I would play up my Mother would herd us into the kitchen for a dance and sing-song in an attempt to tire us out. For this reason I am able to sing Greatest Love Of All, Saving All My Love and I’m Every Woman word for word.

My bezzie pal and I weren’t always bezzies. Far from it. Gemma pushed me off the rocking horse on our first day at nursery and from that moment I hated her. Like properly hated her. She transferred to another school when we were eight and astonishingly three years later when we were reunited at secondary school we became best friends. Since then we have been through everything together - ups, downs, breaks ups, make ups, births, deaths, matching tattoos and, most importantly, poor fashion choices. And if you were to ask either of us the name of our song we would both respond Count On Me, because we both can. Soppy init? 

I Will Always Love You was my next significant Whitney moment. Having been allowed to watch The Littlest Whorehouse in Texas as a child (somebody call social services) I was no stranger to the song. Too young to understand the film’s storyline but human enough to appreciate the power of Dolly's vocal. When Miss Houston released her version, the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, I was blown away. Who didn’t lock themselves in their room attempting over and over and over again to hit that high note? Thought as much. By the age of 14 I was well into my R’n’B and, as luck would have it, Whitney had re-invented herself and released gems such as Heartbreak Hotel, My Love Is Your Love, I Learned From The Best and Fine. However the standout Whitney Houston track of my pubescent years was the finger wagging, neck tworking, bad-ass anthem that instructed the cheating bastard men of the world to ‘get gone get gone’. The one and only It’s Not Right But It’s Ok.

Enter the clubbing years. A ‘Skool Disco’ regular at the infamous Hammersmith Palais a 21 year old Lolli would spend many a night bouncing around dressed as a naughty schoolgirl with Smirnoff Ice in hand to Whit's golden oldies How Will I Know and So Emotional. Classy eh? At 23 I substituted Hammersmith Palais for Sintiallte, my school uniform for Reiss dresses and my Smirnoff Ice for a glass of Rose. I had not however substituted my love of Whitters. Shoes would come off as my girls and I danced on tables to Million Dollar Bill and cab drivers groaned as we belted out I Have Nothing along with Magic FM. Even now at the ripe old age of 27 I would not dream of syncing my iPod unless Exhale and I'm Your Baby Tonight have been added to my music library.

Although the cause of death is yet to be confirmed I’m sure we are all in agreement that her alcohol and drug abuse will have contributed to her premature demise. Pay attention kids. As Miss Houston said herself ‘Crack is whack’. Whether you believe that she brought it on herself or not one thing is certain, at just 48 years old, the same age as my Mother, Whitney Houston's death is an extrememly sad but maybe somewhat inevitable state of affairs. I find it unbelievable that Whitney Houston will no longer be releasing records. We will not have a new Whitney track to signify a period in our lives or look forward to her next award show performance.

A massive loss to the music industry. A massive loss to her daughter. A massive loss to us all.

Thank you for the music Miss Houston.