Oh my. Sad, sad news. Prince dead? The biggest shock was that he was mortal. Who saw that coming? At 57 and with the skin and body of a 25 year old, I thought he was above all that. With hindsight, there were hints of his possible earth-bound humanness. Like seeing him live. Breathing the same air. I was 16 and it was my first ever concert. It could have ruined me for any other concert I was to see. Once you’ve been funked by Prince you stay funked. My knees buckled and I steadied myself with a menthol cigarette.
The second hint was that he was a dude who liked sex, like any other dude. He molded my blossoming sexuality. He taught me about filth. He wrote about overtly sexual women and surrounded himself with strong female musicians. This opened up new possibilities about how to be a woman.
He had cornered the market in metrosexuality at that time. An early advocate of guyliner, he knew what he was doing with those beautiful eyes. Purple usually only looks good on Quality Street, but he nailed those outfits. He knew how to throw a good silhouette and BOY could he move!
Most important was the music. He WAS the music. He WAS the funk. He produced, arranged and played all instruments himself, backwards and in heels. A brilliant songwriter whose paintbrush was tipped with a whole spectrum of colours to create vivid imagery. He was prolific until the end and his genius unshackled him from the normal realms of society. Which must have been lonely.
His earlier songs were full of sex, love and indeed controversy. They described quirky characters and the interactions between them. But what does one write about if most of your time is spent making music? ‘Musicology’. Which is why I think I found it harder to relate to his later music, genius though it is.
An impassioned teenager, I once painted a massive Prince face on my bedroom wall. On the opposite wall, my dressing table mirror reflected it back. In the mirror, the face seemed distorted and not as beautiful. My art teacher told me just to get rid of the mirror. I guess things can get distorted if you only have yourself to refer to. I guess that is the price of genius.
A great great musician and performer and one massive loss. Rest in an eternal paradise on earth.x