Set in Winehouse’s homeland of Camden, moments after the credits rolled and the room mourned her death all over again, the singer’s original band struck the first chords to Valerie, syncing perfectly with the song on-screen. The projector stopped, chairs were kicked to the side and hundreds of sharply-dressed, teary-eyed fans pushed stage-ward to rejoice in a jazz-laden homage to the star of the evening. It was an infectious atmosphere to be a part of, and much like Kapadia’s documentary, embodied Winehouse’s character from memory and music alone.
Amy is the latest in a string of sister events that Secret Cinema have held alongside their hugely popular interactive film programme. Their current run of The Empire Strikes Back has received warm reviews from nostalgic visitors, keen to pay the highest ticket prices to date to immerse themselves in a galaxy far, far away. This event, however, had a different kind of mission in mind – to raise money for Mac UK, a charity dedicated to helping young people with mental health issues.
The poignancy of the feature film and tactfully subtle appeal for donations ensured that people still engaged with and enjoyed the experience. The theatrics often seen in the main events were downplayed to a handful of glamorous hosts, but the attention to detail, as ever, was impeccable. The baron dancefloors of Camden’s KOKO club were littered with cosy tables, mood lighting hid any sign of the modern day, and holding the whole thing together, her name in glitter draped behind the stage.
With Secret Cinema you don’t need to be a fan of the subject to enjoy yourself, and Amy was no exception. The legacy of Amy Winehouse, particularly in Camden, is as much full or tragedy as it is vibrancy, and for a few hours you got to experience that in a way like no other.