'No, no, no. Don’t hurt Dad!' Amy screamed: Mitch Winehouse on his shocking bust-up with his son-in-law's family
21:13 GMT, 30 June 2012
None of Amy’s friends can remember exactly what led to her meeting Blake Fielder-Civil. It was clear that they loved each other – but it was also clear that Blake had his problems.
In 2006, Blake and his friend Michael Brown had been drinking in the Macbeth pub in Hoxton, East London.
Run by James King, it was a well-known music venue frequented by celebrities. During the evening King had thrown Brown out of the pub and Brown had taken his revenge. When King left at about midnight, Brown pounced on him and knocked him to the ground.
Daddy's girl: in the final serialisation of his book, Mitch Winehouse talks about life after daughter Amy
Blake joined in, stamping on King and kicking him in the head and body. King was so badly hurt that he needed 12 hours of surgery, with metal plates and bolts to reconstruct his face.
Blake and Brown were charged with grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent. They pleaded not guilty and the case was transferred to the Crown Court.
Now, more than a year later, in November 2007, Blake was due to face the charges. Amy was terrified he would go to prison. She refused to accept he was guilty. I kept my opinion to myself.
Amy’s mind was also on her attempt to return to America to appear on television talk shows. It had been arranged that she would be allowed entry to the States on condition that she had a drug test. As soon as I heard that, my heart sank.
United front: Blake Fielder-Civil out with his mother in 2007
The following Tuesday, Amy did indeed fail the drug test.
was upset, and the next day we went to The Hawley Arms in Camden Town,
where I insisted we stuck to soft drinks.
Even the arrival of a royalty
cheque for 750,000 from Universal Records didn’t cheer her up.
I was just so frustrated. ‘It’s your own fault you can’t go to America,’ I told her. ‘What are you going to do about it’
fiddled with a button on her shirt. ‘I know, Dad,’ she mumbled.
she looked up and I saw something in her eyes that I hadn’t seen for a
while. ‘I’m going to try, Dad. I’m really going to try.’
After a while, she stood up. ‘Anyway, Dad, let’s not be miserable any more.’
she went to the bar, I noticed just how fabulous she looked that day.
About half an hour later she got into a row with an extremely drunk girl
and ended up slapping her.
we went to Soho to get something to eat, but were interrupted
constantly by Blake phoning, wanting to know what we were talking about.
Each time, Amy would tell him virtually word for word our conversation. It was annoying.
following day, I had not long arrived at Amy’s flat in Bow, East
London, to see her and Blake, when I glanced through the window and
noticed about five police cars drawing up outside. A few seconds later,
the police were hammering on the door.
was cautioned and arrested, though not for anything related to drugs.
Blake’s charge was on suspicion of perverting the course of justice,
which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
‘Baby, I love you. I’ll be fine,’ Amy called, as they led him away in handcuffs.
the window, I saw Blake being put into one of the police cars. Amy
rushed over to it and hammered on the window, shouting: ‘I’ll be fine, I
AMY'S SONG ABOUT ME WAS 'BANG ON'
Amy had a load of recordings on CDs and I was flicking through them when she snatched one away from me.
‘You don’t want to listen to that one, Dad,’ she said. ‘It’s about you.’
I insisted she played
What Is It About Men and, when I heard her sing, I immediately
understood why: ‘Understand, once he was a family man/ So surely I would
never, ever go through it first hand/ Emulate all the sh** my mother
hates/ I can’t help but demonstrate my Freudian fate.’
made me think that perhaps my leaving her mother Janis had had a more
profound effect on Amy than I’d previously thought. The lyrics were so
well observed, pertinent and, frankly, bang on.
At this point
the details were sketchy because Blake had kept from Amy what he had
been doing, but apparently he’d been worried that he would be found
guilty of GBH so he had tried to bribe King into not testifying and
withdrawing his complaint.
Unfortunately, the confusion didn’t
end there. At about 9.30pm that evening Blake’s mother, Georgette, who
had been told about Blake’s arrest, arrived with his step-father, Giles,
and one of Blake’s brothers.
As I opened the front door, she barged
past me screaming: ‘You grassed Blake!’
I didn’t know what to say. Giles joined in, and they accused me of setting up Blake by concocting the bribery story.
Within seconds everyone was shouting at once and I felt the room close in.
‘Oi, leave my dad alone,’ Amy said, defending me.
‘Shut up, b****,’ Giles yelled.
was it. I lost it and hit him. Suddenly we were all fighting, and
Georgette and Giles were both landing punches.
Then Blake’s brother hit
me and I fell to the floor. I was being attacked by all three of them.
In the middle of everything, Amy was screaming: ‘No, no, no. Don’t hurt my dad!’
or other I ended up pinning the Civils to the floor. I was shaking as I
said to them: ‘If you don’t stop this, somebody is going to get hurt
here tonight and it isn’t going to be me.’
Global superstar: Amy, with her trademark beehive hairstyle, at the height of her success
Rising star: Amy dressed as Minnie Mouse (left) aged six and in her teens (right) while at drama school
While I was trying to keep them on the floor I ended up with my trousers round my ankles.
things had calmed down, Georgette continued to accuse me of setting
Blake up. It wasn’t until the next day that we learned what had really
happened. Information had been passed to the police by a newspaper.
Georgette never apologised.
June 2008, Blake Fielder-Civil admitted assaulting James King and
perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to 27 months in
prison and was released in February this year.
He is now back in jail, this time serving a 32-month sentence in Leeds Prison for burglary and possession of a fake gun.
MINGLING WITH HOLLYWOOD'S A-LISTERS
Amy went to America to promote her album Back To Black in spring 2007.
Her trip began in Austin, Texas, then went on to West Hollywood, California, where she played the Roxy Theatre.
were a lot of big names at that gig, including Bruce Willis (pictured
right), and they wanted to go to Amy’s dressing room to say hello.
Bruce said to Amy: ‘Hi, I’m Bruce Willis. Would you like to come to Las Vegas with me to celebrate my birthday’
Quick as anything, Amy said: ‘Only if I can bring my dad!’
was astounded and Amy carried on the joke: ‘Shall I call him and see if
he wants to come’ Apparently Bruce beat a hasty retreat.
DeVito was at one of the other gigs and Amy kept sidling up to the bar
next to him, mouthing: ‘Look, I’m taller than him.’
And she was, if not by much.
Ronnie, Ella, mum – and all that jazz
My mum Cynthia had always adored jazz, and before she met my father she had dated the great jazz musician Ronnie Scott.
At a gig in 1943, Ronnie introduced her to band leader Glenn Miller, who tried to nick her away from him.
And while my mum fell in love with Glenn Miller’s music, Ronnie fell in love with her.
He was devastated when she ended the relationship, but they remained
close friends until he died in 1996. He wrote about my mum in his
When she was a little girl, Amy loved hearing my mother recount her
stories about Ronnie, the jazz scene and all the things they had got up
Young love: Mitch's mother Cynthia, who dated jazz legend Ronnie Scott
As she grew up she started to get into jazz in a big way; Ella
Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan were her early favourites. Amy loved one
particular story I told her about Sarah Vaughan and Ronnie Scott.
Whenever Ronnie had a big name on at his Soho club, he would always
invite my mum, my auntie Lorna, my sister, me and whoever else we wanted
We saw some fantastic acts there – Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and a
whole host of others – but for me, the most memorable was Sarah Vaughan.
We went backstage afterwards and there was a line of people waiting to
be introduced to her. When it was Mum’s turn, Ronnie said: ‘Sarah, this
is Cynthia. She was my childhood sweetheart and we’re still very close.’
Then Ronnie said: ‘Sarah, this is Matt Monro.’
And Sarah said: ‘What do you do, Matt’
She really had no idea who he was. A lot of American singers don’t know
what’s happening outside New York or Los Angeles, let alone what’s going
on in Britain.
I felt a bit sorry for Matt because he was, in my opinion, the greatest
British male singer of all time – and he wasn’t best pleased either.
He walked out of the club and never spoke to Ronnie Scott again.
Mitch Winehouse 2012. Abridged extract. Amy, My Daughter, by Mitch
Winehouse, is published by HarperCollins, priced 20. To order your copy
at the special price of 15.99 with free p&p, call the Review
Bookstore on 0843 382 1111 or visit mailshop.co.uk/books. All of Mitch
Winehouse’s proceeds from the book will be donated to the Amy
Winehouse Foundation. Visit amywinehousefoundation.org