Prince died on Thursday. Prince. I’ve shed tears, actual real tears about this and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before over a celebrity.
I’ve seen lots of people discussing him, their love for him and their shared grief at losing such an icon that was so important to so many – famous people and ordinary people like me.
What I’ve also seen is people suggesting it is wrong to focus so much on the death of a celebrity when people are killed or die every day and nobody cares. I understand this view, I really do but, in this instance, I just cannot get past the sense of personal loss I feel.
Clearly (very unfortunately) I didn’t know Prince (and will be forever envious of my fellow Scot Sheena Easton for her unlikely partnership with him and disliked her throughout my childhood because of this – what did she have that I didn’t?) but we can still mourn his loss. Because aren’t we mourning the journey of our lives that he provided the soundtrack for?
I remember distinctly the day ‘1999’ came to be mine (on cassette). I was really young, around 6 years old, and my mum and dad bought it for me as a treat for good behaviour on a shopping trip. I remember sitting in the back of the car on the way home and being absolutely absorbed by this music. The glances between my parents were a mystery to me at the time as the sexual element was completely lost on me back then. I just knew that this was my favourite thing in the whole world.
And that is where it remained. I listened to Prince my whole childhood and into adulthood, the lyrics making sense to me in my own way as I grew, and he taught me so much through his music.
He genuinely was a revelation. Brave and bold enough to tackle taboo subjects of the 80s through music. He celebrated sexuality and sensuality and had the ability to stir emotions that you didn’t know you had.
He was a gentle, kind and passionate human being who faught for the causes he believed in while being cool as f*ck. He was an absolute one off and there could never be anyone else like him. I can’t even believe he was 57. It’s almost like you couldn’t believe he would ever age – and he certainly would never die. I mean…its Prince.
But he won’t die. He will be immortal because of what he left behind. Memories of growing up with the best music you will ever hear that is timeless and inspiring.
I know he may be a celebrity and it seems strange to feel such attachment to a stranger. But Prince ‘got me’. He just didn’t know it. So I will shed my tears and feel grateful for the day my 6 year old self behaved well enough to allow Prince into my life.
One of my favourite quotes is Eric Clapton’s response to being asked the question:
“How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world?”
And he responded:
“I don’t know, you’ll need to ask Prince.”