Published: 28 July 2011
by PAVAN AMARA and RICHARD OSLEY
ONE of the pub landlords who knew Amy Winehouse best has told how the tragic singer longed to settle down from her chaotic life and start a family.
Sarah Hurley, owner of the Good Mixer pub in Inverness Street, knew the Grammy Award winner for nine years – sometimes pulling the blinds down on the bar’s windows to give her shelter from chasing photographers.
Ms Hurley was among a host of Camden Town faces who told the New Journal this week how Ms Winehouse’s day-to-day life and personality was in complete contrast to the abusive wildchild often presented in the tabloid media.
Although she sold five million records around the world, Ms Winehouse always wanted to keep things low-key.
Yet the Back To Black singer, 27, who was found dead at her home in Camden Square on Saturday, enjoyed enormous affection among her neighbours.
People living in the square said she had been a “perfect neighbour” and “quiet as a church mouse”.
Ironically, fans that have gathered each night at a shrine of flowers and wine bottles since her death have reportedly generated more late-night noise disruption than Ms Winehouse ever caused residents. As fans daubed road signs with tributes, it was announced that discussions are to be held on how the road can commemorate her life.
Ms Winehouse was cremated on Tuesday after a private family funeral. Famous friends, including Kelly Osbourne and Mark Ronson, were there.
An inquest was this week opened and adjourned at St Pancras Coroner’s Court. A cause of death was not established by a post-mortem examination but full toxicology findings are not yet in.
Police superintendant Raj Kohli, speaking at the Camden Square cordon, warned against speculation over how she died on Saturday evening, as rumours of a drug overdose and drinking binge circulated. The case, however, is not being treated as “suspicious”.
At the Good Mixer, Ms Hurley said: “When we met I was 21 and Amy was 18, so we knew each other before her fame, She basically lived in here when she wasn’t on tour.
“As she got more famous her throng of friends got bigger. I think it was difficult for her to stay friends with the same people for long.”
Ms Hurley described a woman still in love with the simple pleasures of a pub lunch and a game of pool.
She said: “The paparazzi were everywhere and I remember at the height of it all we shut the blinds when she came in here and wouldn’t let any of them in – just to give her a bit of normal time.
“When people would see her in here they’d do a double take because they’d be like, ‘hey? why isn’t she in the Met Bar or somewhere swanky?’
“She was very maternal, she would have been a great mum,” Ms Hurley said. “She used to talk about that, she wanted that maternal side brought out eventually.”