De dood van een icoon. Dat is de dood van Prince. Waarom ben ik - bijna 24 uur later - dan nog steeds zo verdrietig alsof een van mijn vrienden er niet meer is?
Ik ken dit niet. Heb nog nooit echt verdriet gevoeld over de dood van een beroemd maar 'out-of-circle' persoon. Maar nu wel. Ik heb al twee keer gehuild! Vanmorgen interviewde ik Klarianne Kraaijestein over het Yogafest dat zij organiseert in juni (daarover later meer). Zij tipte me op dit stuk van een Amerikaanse muziekjournaliste: Holly Gleason. Ik deel het met jullie, mede-fans van Prince of niet. Haar les is sowieso waardevol. Leef in het NU. 'We never know. It never lasts. Take it for all there is before it’s gone.' Misschien verklaart dat ook wel mijn verdriet. Het is onverteerbaar dat ik hem nooit meer live zal horen spelen. Maar het is net zo onverteerbaar dat ik ooit nooit meer zelf live zal 'spelen'.
I could go on and on. But I can’t. I’m not spent. I’m crying again. Not the tears running down my face, sitting here in some deep Alabama truck stop, people who were never touched by the music milling by in search a hot shower, a little food, some gas or coffee.
Not me. I had to pull over when an editor mentioned it to me in a phone call. Had to start writing like Hans Christian Anderson’s Red Shoes possessed my fingers. Had to try to remember it all: the way my blood felt like schools of little fish, nibbling my veins when his music was loud, the pulse racing when I glimpsed him at X or my jaw went slack just watching him push that glyph-looking guitar to places I didn’t know existed.
But always the music pulls me back, holds me down. I am not sobbing, but I am audible. People are looking. What can you say? They think you’re some silly teenager in a flashback moment, lost on a tide of who you were when you didn’t know any better.
They’d be wrong, of course. Prince is the one who brought a freedom and a knowledge, a conquistador’s brio and a hungry of wolves to our lives. Like the snake in the garden, he gave us an apple that tasted like music... and sex... and love...
It is easy to remember the freaky, the odd demands, the ego, the flamboyance and excess. But it was the teeter totter of a Jehovah’s Witness, an intense privacy, a wild distaste for how the music business worked – and a drive to make music, play far into the night that balanced those things.
Prince was 57. Too young, not enough, no reason.
As the poet’s say: WTF?
And even worse, the truck stop has no cut rate For You, Prince or Dirty Mind to buy. Not even a bad second generation Purple Rain or Parade or Sign O’ The Times. It is raining now, just a little, a good cover for my tears.
US 280-E beckons. Miles to go before I keep, and it is that keeping on that is what will pull me to where I’m headed. A football stadium at a massive SEC Stadium, the first ever concert where the Auburn Tigers play.
Ironically or perfectly, Kenny Chesney’s 2016 Tour is called Spread the Love. Inadvertent, yet appropriate. In a very hippie, free-spirited way, it almost sirens calls the youth to let themselves go and be in the moment.
As for me, you can find me driving and crying in what most certainly won’t be purple rain. But before I pack my things, back up and drive away, do me a favor: remember, all we have is right now. Today, do something bold. Tell someone how you feel. Wear that expensive thing you’re saving. Drive a little too fast if makes you more alive. Turn up the music, especially, and let it play!
We never know. It never lasts. Take it for all there is before it’s gone. Wherever, however, whatever, forever and ever, amen.
Holly Gleason, muziekjournalist