A few minutes ago, I mentioned to someone in class that I'd just heard Prince had died. The student I was speaking to said, "People have been telling me that all day, I have no idea who that is." Like so many things from my youth that seemed a part of universal knowledge, this surprised me at first but then I slowly realised how implausible it would be for a young person to know Prince, especially given how opposed Prince was to having his music available for free in any form on the internet, making it difficult to find examples of his clips now. It hardly seems the time to mention Prince's less admirable personality qualities yet they're part of what makes him fascinating. How could he have been against same sex marriage, for example, the guy who once walked into a department store to try on women's lingerie? The fact is, Prince couldn't be categorised in any way; no-one thought like him, no-one did things like him, really. There was the sense that he really kept analysis at bay and presented a clear picture of his dreams without filter.
The same year that took David Bowie has also taken Prince who reportedly did a brilliant cover of "'Heroes'" in tribute to Bowie. I'd provide a link but the video has been scrubbed from the internet, most likely by that elusive artist, Prince, himself. It goes beyond being a modern day luddite, though; I've heard Howard Stern tell a story about witnessing a small, exclusive Prince concert where Prince demanded to perform in total darkness. In this modern landscape where everything is available instantly, any time, one can see the appeal of trying to recreate a time when an artist carefully crafted every appearance, every moment when he or she was seen or heard.
Now he's dead, at only 57. Still a vital performer and a magnificent guitarist it can be said without a doubt he's gone too soon. Of the ten million different artists who've covered Radiohead's "Creep", Prince's version remains my favourite. For his guitar work and for his reshaping the lyrics to make his version a reply to the original. One of the few Prince performances available online, it was apparently permitted finally by Prince's label a few months ago at the request of Thom Yorke.
Here are some photos I've taken recently, mostly of birds with crazy eyes.
Twitter Sonnet #863
A legion sunk an apple's weight in prawns.
Recorded phone line imagery relapsed.
A false idea of mail was stuck in Vons.
Alone, the cardboard wrath got wet; collapsed.
A fortune's stick revamped the beech for stripes.
The beach for sand returns the turtle's sea.
The land revenged a tortoise versed in gripes.
So words were washed, arranged in void for free.
A leaf adrift in blue and cancer limes.
A lemon caught by flippers crude for aid.
The pinball sound was sunk in metal times.
For medals cheap the skunk's romance'll fade.
The picture changed from past parades to snow.
The cherries bluer than computers know.