Prince And The Feels

Jesus, but Prince dying was awful upsetting. I was on a generational cusp for David Bowie, but Prince meant something to me. I felt his music.  I had kisses to his songs. Although I never knew the man, he made me feel things sometimes. And so, he marked me.

There’s a common denominator of mourning tied up with the memory of our past selves. The death of a famous person is like remembering an old relationship. You don’t mourn the person you were with, necessarily. You mourn the person you were, when they made you feel things. This sort of nostalgia burns you a bit, like when you know you’re in the sun too long, but it feels too delicious to cover up just yet.

Prince And The Feels

Photograph: Warner Bros/Allstar

When I hear Prince, I remember lots of detail from years past of sitting in my bedroom, daydreaming. Doing homework. Studying  late, thinking about someone who didn’t notice me, and counting down the minutes to smoking a fag out the window when everyone else was gone to bed. Exploring new independence. Slow-dancing with a boy I liked a lot, or slow-dancing with a boy I wasn’t sure I liked at all, because it was better than not being asked.

Just like I didn’t know what his music meant to me at the time, I didn’t know what that version of myself would mean to me later. Going back to the music, because of Prince’s death, brings me back to that self, which is also gone now.

The memories are visceral, because the feelings I had then were character-forming. I listened to Prince when I was learning about people. Music is powerful that way. Watching the tributes to Prince brings me right back to those feelings. And just like a great dream, you try to take hold of them, but they’re slippery, and you know it’s fleeting, but you’d give anything to freeze the way you feel right now and be able to call it back again.

A great book can do the same thing. The older and more cynical I become, the more reading seems to have an effect on me, especially when I find a book I fall messily in love with. Books and music are the only things that can make me feel now like I did when I was constantly curious about adulthood.

It’s nice to be able to go back to that. To be transported to a place where I get the feels just like I’m 16 again and feelings are everything. The strong feelings we get when reading or listening to music take a mental snapshot of who we are, more evocative and powerful than any photograph.

I listen to Prince and remember nice things about the person I used to be, which is especially lovely for a generation – X, to be precise – who grew up competitively finding fault with themselves. He was our guy. I mean, just look at the sorrow in these big eyes.

RIP Prince. You inspired a lot of people. You left too soon. But few people will ever leave a legacy like you.

Prince and The Feels

The purple panda is crying

  63 comments for “Prince And The Feels

  1. April 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    The most articulate piece I’ve read, (or written), on why we mourn stars.

    I was a big fan of both Prince and Bowie. They punctuated my life experiences with their art.

    Great post, Tara.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. April 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Prince passing has hit me right in the feels. I won the Purple Rain album at a video dance (remember those?) back when I was 14, and I just thought he and Wendy and Lisa and Vanity and Apollonia and Sheila E were just so cool. And do you notice, he showcased women? Yes, he celebrated their looks, but he focused on their talent as much as their beauty. He was truly one of a kind, which I know is a cliche, but nonetheless is how I feel. Gah! 2016 has been really crap, so far, in terms of talent leaving this world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • April 23, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Spot on, Helen. He always came across as loving women the right way, with respect and humour as well as instinct and emotion. It wasn’t a reverent pedestal-type thing, either, which I like. I think he got equality and representation just right. Feck it anyway, why did he have to die?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        That’s it exactly, Tara. It’s one of those things where you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone. I think I thought he’d live forever. And now he’s gone, and people like Trump still fester on this earth, and I have no idea why.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. P J Whittlesea
    April 23, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    I agree with David, Tara, excellent piece of writing. It reinforces how important art is to our everyday lives, even something sent out to the masses can still affect everyone in an individual way.

    Found this quote from Prince yesterday explaining his purpleness, thought you might like it too:

    When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain.

    Liked by 3 people

    • April 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I never heard that before. That’s brilliant. And still vague enough to speak to people in whichever way they want. Thanks, P J. I hope we’re still talking about His Purpleness in decades to come.


  4. April 23, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    A popular song delivers the most powerful yearnings. It’s why we call them hits.

    Liked by 2 people

    • April 23, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      I never thought about it that way before, but you’re right. Although now I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck…


  5. April 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Ah, so touching, Tara, speaking to, I’m sure, the feelings so many have not only about Prince, but about music and the way it harkens back to…. so many things. Most, as you say, about who we were. Lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • April 23, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Feels like a bit of us leaves with them, doesn’t it, Lorraine?


  6. Sue Bridgwater
    April 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Skorn.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. April 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Lovely post, Tara. I’m at the tail-end of the baby boomers, but I wasn’t too old to sing along in my car at the top of my lungs. You’re right that music instantly transports us back in time to those specific moments in our lives, like a personal soundtrack, and Prince’s music was so memorable. It’s been a sad year as we’ve lost some music icons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • April 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      That’s it, Diana – our personal soundtrack. Speaking to us so uniquely it feels like a special relationship. 2016 has been merciless. You wouldn’t mind it if these icons were old enough to die, and Prince is the most shocking of them all at only 57 years of age.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. April 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Too sad Tara. Nothing compares to him. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. April 23, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Prince was exactly my age, but for me it was Victoria Wood’s death that left me blundering around in bewilderment this week with a lump in my throat. And it absolutely wasn’t only about the wonderful comedy that we won’t see any more of. Your insightful analysis has given me understanding. And perhaps given me licence to grieve a little over someone I never knew personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Isn’t that a rare talent, that thousands and millions of people around the world feel like these people are speaking just to them. I agree, Sarah, Victoria Wood was another genius. Sorry for your loss there too.


  10. April 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Lovely, Tara. He was The Man.

    “sometimes I trip on how happy we could be”

    A shiver of a line then, and ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Oh God, yeah. So many of them, Specuness. And especially the ones I couldn’t possibly repeat in public. They were clever and sexy and yet funny and perfect all at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. April 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I remember the first time he got national exposure on the telly. I think it was a programme called No Limits and it was his single When Doves Cry. Later on in the mid 80s there was an unholy row when Kerrang featured him on the cover of the magazine.

    What surprises me about a childhood hero dying is the details that are invoked when you think back to the time they were around. The big one for me was Johan Cruyff’s death a few weeks ago, which took me all the way back to 1974 and I could almost taste the chewing gum that came with the packs of football stickers we bought; the feel of the wrapping, the disappointment of getting yet another Trevor Brooking card…

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 23, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      And there we have the all-sensory snapshot, Chris. Although yours is different, coming from hearing the news. Shows how active your imagination is. You should be a writer. Hang on…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. April 23, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Excellent post. Though, being older and more cynical than you, I find the excessive preening and eulogising of the recently dead a bit distressing. The tabloids love a good death. Perhaps that’s why I hate them (the tabloids, not the deaths). Though, I’m not in favour of the deaths either.


    • April 24, 2016 at 12:16 am

      I always play Spot-the-Prewritten-Obituary, Conor. You can see when they’re written in advance with a cool head, and when they’re done in shock. It doesn’t look like any journos saw Prince’s death coming and you could practically see the pieces being written as they were being put online. The excessive preening is the unfortunate effluent that runs off that, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Carrie Beckort
    April 23, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Very well said. Growing up, Prince was the musical ‘glue’ that connected me to my older brother. He was the only artist we both loved. Starfish and Coffee was our jam. So sad he is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2016 at 12:18 am

      Sad, yet wrapped in such nice memories, Carrie. About as bittersweet as it gets…


  14. April 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

    A perfectly expressed post. (Apart from the lack of a punchline, but in this case I suppose it wasn’t appropriate.)

    Prince didn’t really have much of an impact on me, but I understand the sentiment. I was affected by Bowie’s death, but probably more so by Phil Lynott back in the ’80s. There is something very significant about music – it forms a backdrop to our lives and is often there at those most significant of times, whether it’s falling in love to Dance Away by Roxy Music or feeling lost and rejected and turning to Leonard Cohen (because that’s going to help, isn’t it?).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They touch a nerve.

    Liked by 2 people

    • April 24, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I wasn’t feeling very punchliney, that is true. I’m glad I touched a nerve. Many of mine were touched on Thursday and you know what they say, it’s no use feeling sad unless you can drag folk down with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. April 24, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Lovely post, beautifully put. I initially hated Prince because my obsessed brother played Purple Rain on repeat for about a year. But how could you stay mad at that cheeky little face? And then Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls album got me through a particularly tough summer, so he has a special place in my heart. Our fondest memories are taking a battering this year

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      I like that he got you through tough times, Anne. He seemed to cover pretty much all the bases.


  16. April 24, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Bowie, Prince and Victoria Wood? It’ll be some band alright. You’re so right, though, about such deaths kicking off personal memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      It’s nice to be reminded of great people, and formative years, Mel. I wish it was for better reasons.


  17. armenpogharian
    April 24, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    One of my favorites of yours, which is saying a lot. I agree with you about books and music. I would add smells. They’re not really something you can pull off a shelf to play or read, but certain aromas evoke powerful memories for me. Most are from my young childhood, but occasionally one will evoke a pleasant thought from my later years. Thanks for sharing your grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Oh, yes, smell is such an evocative thing for me too, Armen. And you’re welcome. I don’t usually write about what I’m feeling but in this instance it’s been very helpful.


  18. April 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    This is so beautifully written.
    I was more hit by Bowie’s death but it’s all this right here, isn’t it? What you wrote in this post. Mourning ourselves. “There’s a common denominator of mourning tied up with the memory of our past selves.” So true. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. Yep. Different celebrities, but much the same effect. Probably more to come, too. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. April 25, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Though Prince (and I can see he is beautiful) means little to me as I am a generation older, all you say applies so well to how we are feeling about Victoria Wood. She was our (grown-up) children’s childhood, the programmes we would all watch, and more importantly all laugh at, together. So her death has perversely taken us back to some very happy times – and as you say, it is stirring to be reminded of those times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 25, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Exactly, Hilary. I saw friends only slightly older than me deeply affected by Bowie’s death, and yet I was relatively untouched, because of a tiny generational difference. I remember very happy family time tied up with Victoria Wood, too. She had ferocious talent.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. April 25, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I’m with Conor on this one. I put it down partly to changing culture at a crucial point in my life (still student looking for first job) and losing touch with what was happening, bowling people over, forming memories in the English speaking world. Prince just never caught on here and I already had my hero—Bowie. I stuck with him. Didn’t need another, and when you’re given the choice between the memories already packed in your bags and people like Michel Sardou, Claude Nougaro and Véronique Sanson, well, frankly, you just put the lid back on the tin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 25, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Every generation has their guy, Jane, and it looks like Bowie was yours. I was too young and didn’t share in the grief over his death, but I understood it, little thinking that just a few months later, I’d be doing more than understanding it. What a strange start to the year it’s turned out to be.


      • April 25, 2016 at 9:50 am

        The conspiracy theories about the 2016 celebrity jinx year are already circulating…

        Liked by 1 person

        • April 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

          They did in 2015 too, if I recall! There have been a few decent articles though pointing out that the boomer generation produced more people, and pop culture produced more famous people, so it stands to reason that more influential celebrities seem to be dying now than ever before.


          • April 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm

            I’d be more concerned about why hitting 70 seems to be hitting the buffers for so many people when life expectancy in rich countries is getting longer and longer.

            Liked by 1 person

            • April 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm

              Well, poor Prince was only 57, but as a general rule I’d hazard a guess that the rock n roll lifestyle doesn’t help!


  21. April 25, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Although I never did any slow dancing (fast dancing or moderately paced dancing) to Prince songs, he was a constant presence in the media throughout my teenage years and I was surprised and saddened when I heard that he’d suddenly passed away. I can’t help feeling that it’s just one more little bit of my teenage years being chipped away forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

      And you don’t know what you got til it’s gone, right? At least, I didn’t. I was a happy teenager, even though I had no idea of it at the time. And now look at me. A miserable, mouthy adult. Although I do enjoy that, so I’m very conflicted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm

        Oh, I don’t think your miserable at all! As for myself, I was shy and useless as a teenager. I think being a mature and confident adult is much better. I can’t wait to become one someday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • April 25, 2016 at 8:07 pm

          Oh I am miserable, though, Bun. I cultivate it carefully. It’s my online platform, you see. And once I fall off it, I’ll be fine. Best of luck with the maturity, it’s hard work.

          Liked by 1 person

  22. April 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

    A beautiful tribute. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. April 28, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Beautifully said, Tara

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 28, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks, Sarah. Still missing him here 😦


      • April 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

        I’ve always been more of a Micheal Jackson’s fan. I went through this a few years ago…
        But I liked Prince a lot too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • April 29, 2016 at 10:12 am

          Both of them were huge talents. So sad. There’s nothing like the music business for a short life.

          Liked by 1 person

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