Dear Amy Winehouse,
I know there have been many, many open letters in various publications pleading you to get help for your many addictions, but I feel compelled to write yet one more.
I'm a flabby 40-something with laughable street-credibility and zero insight into substance addiction, so my voice carries little weight with you I'm sure. I am however a huge fan of yours, and I know enough about music to know that a talent like yours comes along once or twice a generation.
I'm not writing for myself. I'm writing for my 11-year old daughter. In five years time I want her to be listening to your fifth or sixth albums, and begging me for a loan of "Back to Black" and "Frank".
The way you are going, however, I fear you will be dead by then or addled to the point of artlessness.
You are soon to celebrate your 24th birthday. I've lived almost twice as long - and one thing I can tell you is that potential is nothing : performance is everything. I've seen talented people crash and burn, and watched only the mediocre succeed.
For the good of everyone, for once I want such massive potential as yours to be realised. I really don't know how good you can get over time - you can definitely be even better than you are today. Your work to date will still get airplay in twenty years I'm sure - the work you can produce in the next five could very well put you on a par with The Beatles, The Stones and Elvis - still relevant and still exciting thirty years on.
Speaking of The Rolling Stones - they've been pretty ordinary since 1973 ("Angie" etc.), and that's drug related. Drugs make you ordinary and an object of pity.
I remember seeing an interview with you just after the Mercury nomination for "Frank" in 2004. I was reminded of interviews with the young Mick Jagger - incandescently intelligent and with enough energy and charisma to light up London.
I do sincerely hope you find someone experienced and smart to talk to. I don't want you going the same way as Mick Jagger. I was 7 when he stopped being any damn good, and I've been cheated of a puberty's worth of great music as a result.
All the best with your battle, and I hope you find happiness without self-destruction.