25 Apr MY SECRET MENTOR (and my best)
April 21st 2016 was possibly one of the most shocking and sad days I have had thus far in life and so this is why this blog is so important for me to write. Because I cannot let a monumental event like this go without a proper goodbye, and writing one is my chosen platform.
I remember the first day I encountered him very clearly. I had the radio on as I was cooking in the kitchen…then suddenly these striking musical bars blasted out, I froze for a couple of seconds hypnotised, then jumped at the radio to turn it to full volume as 1999 filled the room and my heart…that was IT, I was gone…I had found THE ONE.
I was only young, maybe 14 years old fresh from listening to Michael Jackson and The Police, but this was something else, this was different, this was unbelievable. It didn’t take me long to find out all about him (harder in those days without the internet!), but I bought all his albums, any magazine that he was in and any book that mentioned him.
Yes I was well and truly hooked and yet it was more than just his pretty face and the funky beats. I soon realised that this guy may well be covered in lace and wears high heels, but he has something to say, something to teach me. It was not what you think though, yes his main topics were sex and God, but that was not it. Although interesting, it was a very different set of teachings that he gave me and I still run with them today.
He taught me:
- Never to care what people think about you
- Always work hard and strive to be the best you can be
- Love one another
- Have fun
- Have hope
- Don’t let life get you down
- Trust in yourself
- Dance…a lot!
- Love with all your might
- Live life to the fullest, you never know when the party is going to end
It’s been a lifetime affair for me. I have relished being a fan of his even though I have had to constantly explain to the uninitiated and confused about his behaviour, dress sense, lyrics and TV appearances…the change of name, the fact that is ok to wear butt-less trousers on stage and sing with The Muppets. He made it cool, he made it all cool.
The memories I have, I will treasure. The late nights watching his videos and music, the 100 shows I saw him live…often front row (thanks Gavin and Eileen). The amazing, surreal times at Paisley Park watching him play to a room of 200, the after-show parties (legendary now), going to the cinema with him in my pyjamas, the feeling you get just before he comes on stage as the fans start to get impatient with excitement and begin our calling rituals to him, ‘Oh ee oh, oh oh!’.
Not forgetting the people I have met because of him. The great friends and kindred spirits…the Purple People. We can all talk together about our experiences and our feelings and ‘get’ each other…that feels good, especially now.
He was generous, he was kind, he was so polite, intelligent and very, very funny too. He had so much energy, inspiration and he made the most of his gifts. He loved his fans, he constantly told us he was grateful for us and would never leave us unsatisfied at a gig…it was always a beautiful experience. Neither was he perfect, being an artist he had an artistic temperament, he lived in ‘Prince World’ and rejected anybody else’s idea of how it was going to play out. He was a control freak and had such high standards he put even the most professional musicians to shame…yet people loved him. Seeing the tributes to him from the good and the great has warmed my heart. Especially seeing the Eiffel Tower, Niagra Falls and The Empire State building lit up in purple. No one really has had that effect before.
He had a song for every occasion imaginable, for every feeling you might have and for every mood. He explored, he questioned, he challenged, he delighted…no one could keep up or compare. He played all genres of music, even classical and could play the hell out of the guitar and the piano. I loved hearing that Eric Clapton was being interviewed and was asked what it was like being the world’s greatest guitarist and he replied, ‘I don’t know, ask Prince!’
Quietly generous with his attention and donations to worthy causes he felt he was in a position to do some good, so he did. I was proud of who he was, proud to be a fan and always will be. His music is the soundtrack to my life and will continue to be so. Even though I will never get to see him live again (which hurts the most), I will always have him as my best and favourite mentor…sometimes it snows in April, but this good thing will last.
Peace and be wild