Years ago, my mum told me that she’ll always remember when she’d heard the news that Elvis had died – where she was, what she was wearing, etc. And my thoughts were: ‘Weirdo’.
But now I know what she meant.
On Thursday night I was at the Capital Club party when someone mentioned that Prince had died. ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I said. ‘No, really,’ he replied. And he showed me a headline on the Huffington Post website. What?? I didn’t react for about ten minutes. I carried on with my conversation, but my mind kept flicking back to the headline. I checked my phone and saw several WhatsApp messages from friends, telling me that I was the first person they thought of when they heard ‘the news’. Shit, this was real.
My mum’s message said: ‘I’m so sorry. I was hoping it was a hoax.’
And that made me want to both laugh and cry at the same time. Every few months, our family chat group on WhatsApp will get a message from my mum saying: ‘Adam Sandler has died!’ or ‘Rowan Atkinson has died!’
- Us: No, Mum, it’s a hoax.
- Mum: But it’s on Facebook!
- Us: Mum, it’s a hoax. Is it on the news?
- Mum: No.
- Us: Then it’s a hoax.
- Mum: Why would anyone do that??
Sadly, this time it wasn’t a hoax. I considered going home as I was no longer in the mood to be out, but my friends pointed out that all I’d be doing at home was watching the news and crying. So I stayed out, and I’m glad I did. I wondered whether my friends thought I was mad for mourning the loss of someone I never even knew. They assured me that that wasn’t the reason they think I’m mad.
I discovered Prince in 1989. Obviously I’d heard of him and knew some of his songs, but I really discovered him in 1989 and realised then that the man was a genius. I had every album. I subscribed to Controversy – the fanzine about all things Prince. I had books, posters, sheet music, T-shirts, CDs, vinyls, videos (yes, videos). I saw him in concert nine times – the first time in 1990 and the last time in 2007 – and each time he was incredible. I loved him.
Just a few weeks ago I told myself that the next time he was in concert in Europe I would go, wherever it was.
And now he’s gone. He was right: ‘All good things, they say, never last.’
You can listen to the original version here.