Goodnight, sweet Prince...

April 21, 2016

and flights of angels sing U 2 ur rest.

 

 

Back in the day, my sister and I had a radio show on our college station.

 

The signal didn't reach far, our time slot wasn't prime, but we did have a loyal (albeit small) fan base. 

 

Unlike 99% of the other radio shows (which were of the ultra cool Indie/Alternative variety), we were proudly and aggressively Old School funk, blues, rock and hip hop (with some classic jazz cuts thrown in for my Dad.)

We had a weekly "Prince Pick" and played all His music in heavy rotation.    Hearing that today marks Prince's death, I am genuinely and surprisingly sad.

 

Sad because he was an incredible musical talent.  The world 'genius' gets thrown around pretty liberally in Hollywood (I once had dinner with a mid level talent agent who, by the meal's end, had said genius roughly thirty seven times - attributing the honor to such luminaries as Sylvester Stallone and Glenn Danzig.  No disrespect to Sly or Danzig, who are talented in their own, unique ways, but genius? I think not.  The same agent, I recall, was also very proud of the fact that his agency represented (at the time) one of the Desperate Housewives - "The hot one" he was quick to add, lest I'd think they'd sully themselves with an unhot Wife, God forbid.)

 

Prince Rogers Nelson was a musical genius, no doubt.   While I've never been a Fan Girl of any sort, in my formative years, my enthusiasm for the Kid was as close as I ever got.

That said, I think my sorrow at his death has less to do with the loss of an iconic artist and more to do with the fact that Prince encapsulated a specific and definitive chapter in my life.  A chapter that is now definitely and irreversibly closed.   

 

My sister Nora and I adored Prince.    In addition to our radio show, we listened to his music constantly, studied the lyrics like Talmudic scholars, wrote notes to each other using his pre-texting era vernacular ( "C U 2nite"), decorated our school books with his photos - hell, Nora even emulated his hair cut.

 

 

 

One summer, to our great dismay, our Dad assigned us the chore of painting the garage.  (Hear that, Youth of Today, who freak out when asked to take out the trash?  I had to paint a  FRIGGIN' GARAGE!) Built in 1897, probably as a carriage house, it was a big, barn like garage that, due to age and weathering, seemed incapable of holding a coat of paint and had to be re-painted frequently.

 

Nora and I begrudgingly grabbed our boombox and Prince cassette tapes (two references  that date me more damningly than crow's feet) and proceeded to paint.  Sort of.  Mostly we danced around to Get Off,  tried to learn the rapid rap of Willing and Able,  and painstakingly spelled Prince's name using individual blades of grass, pressed onto the sticky primer covered garage walls, which we then painted over, thus creating tiny reliefs (reverse Petroglyphs if you will) to honor the Purple One. 

 

Needless to say, the garage didn't get painted in a timely manner. 

 

Throughout the years, I've remained a Prince fan but I'll admit I stopped buying his music in the early to mid aughts and only dipped back in big time with the HitNRun Phase.  Just last week, my sister and I joked about making a pilgrimage to Paisley Park in hopes of crashing one of his exclusive Pajama Party concerts (because two middle aged white women from Ohio are exactly what an exclusive, hip party needs.)   We also not so jokingly planned to somehow score tickets to the Piano and Microphone Tour.  

 

Alas, no. 

 

All must die.  Even geniuses.  And we are left to grapple with the loss.  And the sobering shock of mortality.  And the fear of what, if anything, comes after.  As John Donne said, the bell tolls for thee.

 

Sometimes it snows in April.  How prescient.  This April, it is definitely snowing.

 

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