So here are my Prince stories.
Purple Rain was the last movie Beth watched while she could still see. It was at the Thunderbird Theater in Urbana in 1984, when it was still a movie house. And I’ve always thought, well, that’s as a good a last film spectacle as I would choose.
Another: Our son Gus loves music, and when he was otherwise inconsolable for reasons that will forever remain mysterious, certain music was magic. Prince was at the top of the list of magic musicians. We will forever be grateful.
And finally, after Gus had moved to Wisconsin and we’d moved to Chicago, we treated him to a Prince concert at Assembly Hall in Champaign. It was quite the road trip, and the concert was the magnificent thing that Prince always did.
I feel good telling you all this but also just a bit ambivalent and maybe guilty. That’s because this year has been fraught with the death of talented people who had enormous and devoted followings, fans who shared whatever they needed to on Facebook. And I’m not certain how I feel about it all.
People have always died. Famous, talented, wonderful people. But we haven’t always had social media. And we haven’t been compelled (or had the opportunity to) lament, grieve, and share so publicly.
On the one hand, it’s kind of cool to have a place to go in times like these. To see what other folks are thinking. On the other, sometimes it feels a little smarmy—like a competition to identify as the biggest fan most hurt and affected by the loss. Or just an opportunity to talk about one’s own experiences. You know, like I just did.
And that can feel a little smarmy.
On the other hand, this past weekend people found and posted some incredible footage of Prince performances. Things that affirmed how talented he was.
On that note, I still don’t know how I feel about it all, but I am grateful to have seen this on my feed—courtesy of a friend of a friend (BDB, you know who I’m talking about).
When you have a few minutes, watch it. It’s astounding.
Goodnight sweet Prince.