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.
21 responses to “PRINCE & HIS PARADISE OF FLOWERS”
Prince: R.I.P. You really did bring joy to my life.
I wish U Heaven.
I am heartbroken. The anchorwoman started last night’s news broadcast with the declaration: “Today the world has lost some of its magic.” and then went into the story of Prince’s passing. She had expressed exactly what I had been feeling when my friend had called and told me the news earlier in the day. Today I woke up feeling like there was a hole in my stomach. No matter how crazy the world can be, I can face it a little better knowing that some people are in this world with me and Prince was one of those people.
As a person, I don’t know (just from my own personal viewpoint). He was secretive and a recluse. But the music: it was really great – a whole world unto itself, and I think that is where the void and the hole is. I have been teary all day!
I hope you feel better soon. Somehow, in my case, I feel that when I can bring myself to listen to the records again I will just feel happy rather than sad as his creations were just so full of absolute energy and languid originality – as I was saying to Duncan earlier, a divine blend of tautness and looseness – he really stretched melodies and instruments in the most interesting ways, like on If I was your girlfriend, which sounded so strange and preternaturally brilliant when it came out and still does. He made these hermetically sealed mini universes. UTTERLY creative and prolific and brilliant. I find that extremely inspiring.
Primavera and all these adieux mixed up are confusing. I hold on to that black disc with the flowers on it as a lifesaver in a sea of floating rubbish. Sag mir wo die Blumen sind …
I associate Prince with flowers: these are taken from the sleeve of When Doves Cry: for me it is all spring and summer and a sense of future potential- even when his songs and lyrics were rooted in politics or reality, somehow there was always something so dreamy and rich and just damn danceable that ultimately it was the most perfectly polished pop that really sent me. Helen and I had tickets for the Sign O The Times tour in Birmingham, where we were going to have to wear peach and black (peach, moi? I couldn’t quite picture it), but unfortunately for some reason the concert was cancelled. Another friend of mine, another Neil actually, who I saw just on Tuesday, is an absolute mega Prince fan and we still talk about this song and that album, and how he actually had a small heart attack when he saw him live in Paris at the age of 15. He is absolutely gutted today.
I think I already mentioned that I saw him in concert and I had a great seat and although I have seen quite a few icons of that era, his show was the best and he was an amazing talent full of energy and gave us all hope. Also, his music was danceable (as was lots of David Bowie’s). All the rockers of the 70’s and 80’s bring the rest of us of a certain age back to that time just with hearing a few bars of one of their iconic tunes. And although 2016 is still fairly new and only in the beginning of the second quarter, we have lost a lot of our rock and roll heroes in the past few months. We tend to think the idols of our youth (and beyond) will live forever and when they don’t, it leaves us in shock…especially it makes us realize that we are also not far beyond the beyond.
Absolutely. Sorry yes, I did read your other comment but by the time I was ready to reply to it I had already deleted that grotesque (if immediate, drunk and honest) post and put up a more fitting epitaph. I ALMOST saw him live, had the tickets…..I envy you that experience!
Ultimately though, I am more about the hermetically sealed experience of the albums than guitars and backing singers and all the rest. They are like 45 minute worlds, sealed and perfected, that I can just enter into. My favourite is Parade, which I consider literal pop PERFECTION, but I love so many other of his albums as well.
Thank you. I had to erase last night’s more wine sodden version and try to capture how I feel. Me + Helen = Prince.
YES: this captures it as well. http://www.newyorker.com/culture/sarah-larson/dancing-to-prince
Devastated. Rest in Peace Beautiful One.
Such a part of our lives!
Thank you for expressing so beautifully that amazing time in our lives. A time that, spent in your company, to a backdrop of Prince’s thrillingly perfect pop, could not fail to be wonderfully, poetically life affirming. Can’t read it aloud to anyone though because, obviously, it makes me cry. So, so thankful.xxxx
Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:
Is it really two years?
“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.”
I hope your publisher is wanting this kind of thing from you. This is what will make your book extraordinary.
But the book is more about perfume, for the public, not like this…..let’s private email about it
The most beautiful and heart rending words that only you could write. What a gift. I truly treasure this.
The last three sentences got me… I have similar memories from the same age. The golden days of youth. All so far away now but you have captured it beautifully.
Thankyou. If that is true, it is something.