The music of Prince is woven inextricably into the fabric of my youth, of summer, of friendship, of a boundless sense of freedom and lushness. My best friend Helen and I would lounge about in each other’s rooms with the latest album or 12” on the turntable (when the extended, endless b-sides would often be even better than the A), birds singing in the garden outside, the warm liberating sunset of late July and early sexual awakening and the flowering of our minds, always doused in our latest perfume and proffering our wrists to each other, holding forth on whatever nonsense we wanted to hold forth about, leafing through magazines, laughing and drinking and letting the succulent, delectable warm funk of his wonderful music flood the room and our bodies and our brains. It is indelibly linked to a great feeling of happiness, of parties where we would always play him and dance all night long, of times spent with my brother and sister where we would listen to his music on the beach or in my room upstairs, swooning over The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker, and in particular of a particular holiday in Greece where I would lie outside in the sun by myself all day blasting out Lovesexy on my cassette deck, for me the epitome of his Apollonian groves of purple bliss and fields of flowers and splendor and his gender and race- transcending musical brilliance – like some kind of far-removed, delectably scented heaven. I lay there trapped in the sunshine and the music and the eucalyptus leaves like a young god: this music was not touching or emotive or sentimental in the way that some singers make you want to cry. For me it was the opposite; a kind of silken, flower-strewn ebullience that strengthened the nervous system like a tonic to the senses and made me feel real. Full of energy. Full of light. In the moment. Alive. Excited. I remember Helen and I speeding into Birmingham city centre one night in the middle of summer as I know she will (Helen I am crying as I write this) : dressed up in our finest, perfumed to the max, nineteen or twenty years old, looking great, windows down, life soaring through us, and the new 12” house remix of Gettt Off that we had just got hold of blasting on the car stereo with a propulsive sense of funk driven ecstacy and delight, of absolute possibility and young-minded mindlessness. It was wonderful. We felt immortal.