1992. I’m 12 years old and sitting in my bedroom with one of my friends. We’re listening to Prince’s Love Symbol album loudly. We turn it up for Sexy MF and sing along with gusto. Halfway through the song I look up and my mum is standing in the doorway. She doesn’t bat an eyelid and asks if we want something to eat. “Your mum is pretty cool,” says my friend.
A snapshot of an evening from the early-noughties. I was in Barfly in Glasgow, dancing and singing along to Raspberry Beret. I felt completely alone in the best possible way. It would have appeared to be an unremarkable event but I will never forget it because it’s one of the moments where the transcendent joy of pop music set me on fire.
In 2014 I went up to Glasgow to see Prince at the Hydro with my brother. I was excited enough to don a purple tie for the gig but nothing could have prepared me for what we experienced. Alongside the entire arena, we sang and danced like it was the last night on earth. Prince exuded a truly unfathomable charisma: “Do you all have to work tomorrow? I could stay here all night. I got too many hits!” I was grinning for hours afterwards.
I shouldn’t have to be writing this so soon after Bowie, another of my defining heroes, passed away. Yet here I am again, listening with tears in my eyes to the music I’ve listened to my entire life, seeking comfort in the innumerable happy memories I associate with it. Probably because he was around well before I was, I can remember exactly when I properly got into David Bowie; Prince, on the other hand, just seems to have always been there. I still loved him when people were dismissing his triple-albums and I still rushed home in excitement when HITnRUN Phase Two leaked last year. I still love him and I always will. I have to write that down. I have to, in my own small way, let him know that.
I listened to Sometimes It Snows In April on repeat when my dog died. Now it will forever have a dual poignancy. Yet in the main Prince inspired in me an almost-unparalled ecstasy, an out-of-body abandonment which I’ve needed in so many difficult times. I hope I, and everyone who ever loves his music, will always have that.
The beautiful ones/U always seem 2 lose
RIP Prince. You truly were one of the beautiful ones.