I just read this short, what seems to be rather abbreviated piece in the New Yorker. Claire Hoffman was invited over to Prince’s 30,000 sq ft mansion in Beverly Park to chat over carrot soup. It got me once again to thinking about the purple man, so bear with me and my stream of consciousness typing…
As Prince has aged, he’s undergone some significant transformations. He’s always been someone who has changed styles with seemingly every album. The quiet, pompadoured lust king of Purple Rain, the 60’s psychedelic from Around the World in a Day; the outgoing, smiling, short-do’d comedian from Parade, and on and on.
In the 90’s, I watched in a sort of curious fascination as he changed his name to a unpronounceable symbol. The music still grabbed me though. The Gold Experience, Chaos and Disorder, Emancipation – I still ate it all up.
Since Prince joined up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier in the 00’s, he still has managed to pump out some music that I enjoy – I can enjoy parts of The Rainbow Children, Musicology, 3121 and even Planet Earth.
But it’s not the same.
I guess I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m most enthralled with the Prince of the 80’s – the prolific wunderkind that produced, arranged, composed and performed music that was wholly original, groundbreaking, and off the wall… Sex, God, straight, gay, starfish, coffee, Head, cab drivers, tambourines, banana daiquiris at Christmas time, dirty minds, strange relationships, squirrel meat (uh! don’t try it), revolutionary rock & roll, girls & boys, old friends 4 sale…
Fast forward to 2008 – Prince performing at exclusive rooftop gigs for $1000 a head; changing the lyrics of his song “Sexuality” – an affirmation of complete individual freedom – now to be known only as “Spirituality”; chasing after web sites for posting his image; and not even maintaining his own web site, or offering any sort of presence on the web to connect with the people who have supported him all these years.
“I can’t understand all the things people say”, Prince sang in “Controversy”, “Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?”
Who was that guy? What was he all about? No one knew, not even Prince – and man was it fun to go along on that ride with him.
And in this interview, we get this gem, from the man who has spent his entire adult life blurring the lines between male and female, straight and gay:
When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”
I’m not ready to jump off the train, mind you. I’ll always be interested in what he’s doing, and will always shell out the money when it comes time to buy albums or concert tickets (but sorry, no perfumes or coffee table books). But clearly, our paths have diverged. And nor do I want for Prince to ever return to the Prince of days past. I mean, we don’t need a 50 year old Prince jumping around stage in bikini briefs and leg warmers – no thank you very much.
I guess all my ranting and rambling here is a chance for me to affirm to myself that we’re all getting older, people change, and some things are just gone forever.
This Prince is gone forever…