Friday 22 April 2016

He Got The Look

It's very difficult to stick to the usual remit in the face of awful news, and the untimely passing of Prince Nelson Rogers has thoroughly distracted me. His death has sent most music fans, and especially the generation that grew up loving his music, into a flat spin.

How do you try to sum up a career that spanned not just music but film, performance and (most importantly for this blog) fashion? Let's face it, the guy looked good. All the time. Even when he looked ridiculous he pulled it off. No other male performer could wear stack heels and a belly shirt and still be so inarguably powerful. He had the cheekbones. He had the strut. He redefined what it was to be both manly and sexy.

Prince's fashion choices were always unusual, yet locked into the work he was doing at the time. From the thigh-boots and raincoat of the Dirty Mind years, to the peach and black of Sign O'The Times, to the three-eyed shades and Afro of his most recent project with the band 3rdEyeGirl, everything he did was carefully considered and project-relevant.

Yes, he was eccentric, irascible, contrary. His stance on the Internet, on file-sharing and copyright, on his own status within a corporate structure (remember The Artist Formally Known As Prince years?) seemed to be at best counter-productive, at worst downright regressive. He was secretive, gnomic, mysterious. His complex at Paisley Park in Minneapolis is filled with hidden, never-released musical gems. Will we finally start to see and hear the pick of them? Who knows? Maybe there's a codicil in his will that has all his master tapes loaded into a giant purple Viking barge along with his body, towed into the Minnesota River and set on fire. I wouldn't put it past him.

Prince's influence is almost absurdly long-reaching and deep-set. The very fact that monuments around the world were lit purple last night tells it all. The dude had his own signature colour.

It would be easy to end this with a well-known track, but instead let's finish with a moment that sums Prince up perfectly. It's taken from a concert celebrating George Harrison in 2004. He doesn't even show up until late in the performance, but when he does, boy, he takes over. That was Prince all over. Show up late, look good, blow the roof off the joint. Watch for the moment just before he leaves the stage when he sheds his guitar and flings it into the air. It never comes down.

Just one more of Prince's little miracles.

Praise B 2 U.

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