Friday 22 April 2016


I have written many times before about icons and how much it affects us when one dies. And of course, yesterday the world sadly learned that yet again we lost another true artist who went by the name of Prince (my son immediately remarked that this man had a really cool name). For those of us that were fans (or devotees...who are we kidding) it’s hard to encapsulate why the passing of someone you did not know is so hard to digest. Funny enough, I’ve often seen this with my own father over the years. If your parent is a public figure in any fashion, people feel a kinship with them for their own personal reasons, be it through their art, their service to the community, their ideals, what have you. And despite the fact that we in fact do not know this person, through their art, we can't help but feel like we do (or we tell ourselves that we know a part of them, the part that they clearly share with the world).

The loss of Prince for many is almost too hard to digest (I realize in the scope of what goes in the world today, loss is a perpetual thing and no one loss is more important than another, but hell, the man wrote some of the most memorable songs out there) because of what it represents. Without sitting here and listing Prince's very long list of accolades and accomplishments, because that would take me all day, it is enough to say that generations of people identified with him because of what he represented, the boundaries he pushed, and the talent he possessed in one little finger. Like the Bowie's of this world, Prince beat to his own proverbial drum. Hell, he played his own drums along with every other instrument out there (in his own studio I might add). As he always said, he learned quickly that if he became a proficient musician across the board, he could control his own vision. And that is the loss right there in a nutshell. He wasn’t packaged. He wasn’t manufactured. He wasn’t a ‘just (just a this, or just a that). He was an artist that was an everything - a composer, a musician, a dancer, a performer and a visionary. Like or hate his music, his albums were a true tutelage in what it means to be a complete artist.

As I sat there yesterday (once again) getting teary-eyed listening to Purple Rain (I loved thinking that I was amongst millions doing this exact same thing), it dawned on me that aside from losing one of our most accomplished artists of my generation (far too young I might add), for someone my age, it starts to become apparent that all of our great icons are either going, or are going to go soon. And that is simply terrifying (and mind boggling when you think someone like Keith Richards is still standing!) And of course, I frantically look around and think who the heck is going to be my son’s icon, and what does that even mean in today’s music marketplace? (I refuse to accept that Justin Bieber will be a musical icon. I just refuse). I am someone who is deeply affected by art in any form, especially music. I (like many out there) listen to music so I can weep, dance, sing till my lungs burst…feel. That is the power and beauty of music. And this man that set the world alight in hues of purple, well, he made one feel on so many different levels and that is something to which most artists can only aspire.

The King sweetly asked me if we were going to play Prince all day (the child knows me well) and welcomed the chance to hear his music booming from the speakers as I made breakfast and he danced with a dish towel on his head. I’m sure the neighbors love it when someone passes, as our flat turns into a music retrospective. I suppose it’s times like these when it also dawns on me that we should be dancing round the house much more often than we do – although to be honest, the King and I do pretty well on that score. 

So now, we mourn. We mourn another artistic loss, we mourn the loss of a what was said to be a very kind, humorous, insightful man. We go back through our memories shelves and remember the first time we saw him live, the first song of his that brought tears to our eyes, the first time we felt sheer awe at a man's prodigious talent. I suppose this is the best reverence that we can show a man like Prince. RIP. 

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