Prince

TWO days running, the news has been on in the background and I’ve said ‘no f-ing way’, rewound and watched open-mouthed as tributes were paid to the lives of two icons.

Victoria Wood and now, Prince. So talented. So premature. So shocking.

It’s hard to believe Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls was released in 1991. I was 14 and knew every word to every song.

The excitement, the danger, the genius of the track list was more than music. It was a soundtrack to your life – and how you wanted life to be. I wanted it all; I wanted to be different – and Prince seemed to know an intimate, risky secret, divulging it line by line.

Thirteen or so years later, I saw him perform in London, unable to take my eyes from the stage for the duration. I’d heard there was an afterparty where I’d heard he would be DJ-ing.

He was due to arrive around 11pm. A little before 1am he came, swamped by bodyguards a foot taller. He was tiny and he was perfect. The crowd went wild, we craned to see him over the box and settled for a flash of coiffed hair. We thought we were the luckiest people in London – and if you were a Prince fan, you were.

I have resolved to play my baby boys lots of Prince – and Michael Jackson, The Doors, Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dee-Lite – and everything else I have loved and that has meant something. I want the best for them, so these musicians must be in their lives.

Recently, I presented a late-night show on BBC Radio Scotland, playing my favourite songs. Prince had to be on the list. But nothing was ‘late night’ enough to play Get Off, the producer told me, so explicit were the lyrics, so we went with Raspberry Beret.

And that’s just it. Prince pushed boundaries that pushed our buttons and long after he’s gone, he’s an enigma who still will.

Prince the icon

Prince the icon

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