MIKRO PAPINGO, Greece — I was in a London pub relaxing and drinking beer with a couple friends when I saw the slender young woman dressed in black with big, black hair walking by the bar.
A few seconds later she turned around and looked right at me.
"Hi Amy," I said to Amy Winehouse, who was on her way upstairs to her own special room at the Hawley Arms in Camden.Story: Singer Amy Winehouse found dead in London home
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"You all right?" she responded as if we were old friends and not complete strangers.
That was Amy, a friendly, down-to-Earth star who spent much of her time drinking and socializing with the locals in Camden, the area of north London where she lived.
The Hawley Arms is a cool sort of place where many patrons, like the staff and Amy, have tattoos, and with a special area on the top floor of the building just for Amy. The pub will no doubt lose some business after the 27-year-old singer was found dead Saturday in her apartment in Camden. Her death is being treated as unexplained by police, but she did have a history of drug abuse.Story: Winehouse just latest musician to die at 27
She was also known for partying in Camden, sometimes a little too much.
The night that I first saw Amy, she made her way back downstairs to the main bar area. One of my co-workers, who was visiting London on assignment, couldn't believe we had spotted her, so I stopped Amy again to introduce them.
After shaking hands, Amy bent down to pick up my friend's fallen jacket and gently placed it on the back on the chair.Remembering Amy Winehouse's talent
My colleague couldn't get on her phone fast enough to tell the whole Twitter world what had just happened.
Spotting Amy Winehouse was not so rare in Camden, though. I saw her again a few months later at the same pub, as some colleagues and I were having a going-away party.Story: Kelly Osbourne mourns loss of Amy Winehouse
We were drinking pints of beer — the staple for after-work socializing in Britain — sitting at a picnic-style table upstairs from the main bar, so there was no back to my seat.
The bar was packed. Amy came in, wearing a red shirt, and bumped into my back.
I stood and tried to chat her up, like last time. I said, "Hi." She didn't react, didn't even notice someone was talking to her.Story: Tony Bennett calls Winehouse 'extraordinary'
A few seconds later, a girl at the bar grabbed Amy by the neck, pulled her close and then started kissing her on the lips. They kissed for a few seconds more, and then Amy wobbled away as if in a daze.
Amy Winehouse shot to fame after her "Back to Black" album won five Grammys. Super thin and battling her demons, she didn't venture to the United States for the show, so she performed "Rehab" and "You Know I"m No Good" from London by way of video link.
And to show her love of Camden, which had just been ravaged by a fire that burned the Hawley Arms to a crisp, Amy told the world, "This for London, because Camden Town ain't burning down."
Camden is still there, and the Hawley Arms has been rebuilt, but there won't be any more Amy sightings.
And that's no good.
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