This week my column is a short essay I wrote after Prince passed away. No jokes, no clever comments… Just my version of what I was told.
I was reminded of it by a friend, and thought I would share it with you.
I hope you like it.
I hope she likes it …
‘A little girl grows up in a big city.
She doesn’t have the best of starts.
Daddy isn’t there much and Mum isn’t very well.
Her imagination is huge, though. It takes her on many journeys out of herself to all the places she has read about and seen on the small TV that she watches over her daddy’s shoulder.
All the places she wishes she could go to, and one day, is sure she will.
There is always music though.
Her older brothers and sisters always playing lots of music. The melody and the beats make her heart lift. Her smile beams brightly and she’s starts to dance …
She always loves to dance!
Slowly, though, over the years, the brothers and sisters leave. The music and the dancing stops. The house is quiet and the little girl goes back to her imaginings.
Then one day she gets a small radio. The music starts again.
And, at the end of the row of red brick houses where she lives, there is a huge stadium for football. She doesn’t really like the football as, every time the game is played, gangs of men shout and scream and often windows smash.
But one day she hears loud music playing. Songs by people she has heard on her radio. Fabulous magical music played by fabulous magical artists who live in the places she one day hopes to visit.
The days when this music plays fill her with pure joy!
She is taken in her imagination and day dreams from her window, where she listens, on to wonderful journeys in a fantastical world of colour and glittering light. These days filled with music are definitely her happiest.
Then, she begins school, but this isn’t her best experience by far.
She is bullied and made fun of because her passed down clothes are too big, her hair is too big and her huge brown eyes are far too big.
She is a tough little thing, though. She ignores the fools and taunts and makes a few friends. She still has the music.
Then one day as she gets a little older and hears something different on her radio – someone different. Someone who’s music seems to speak almost directly to her.
She does all she can to find out who this person is and where this music comes from. She finds out his name is Prince. She knows his music is different and special and it fills her heart with joy again.
She is soon known by all in school, by friends and through family as the girl who loves Prince.
She wears purple whenever she can. She cuts out pictures from the magazines and listens to his music whenever she can too. Then one day she hears he is coming to her city. Not only is he coming to her city, he is playing at the stadium at the end of her street! Prince is playing behind the high red brick walls behind the fences and wire just beyond her view.
This almost breaks her heart. She has only been able to ever listen to the music at her window and never seen the stage or the singers perform. It is almost too cruel. She could never afford a ticket and she is only 15 … Who would go with her?
Then the day of the concert arrives.
She is excited, but also very disappointed, as being able the hear Prince but not see him seems just too cruel … His music is part of her life.
She leaves school. Talk has been about the concert all day long.
She realises sadly, that again she will be listening to the music from her bedroom window – kept away from Prince by red bricks, fences and wire. Her eyes closed tightly, imagining and dreaming. She is front of the stage watching his every move.
As she walks through the school gates towards home, she sees her middle brother sat in his van. He waves and calls her over.
‘What are you doing tonight?’, he asks her. ‘Nothing’, she replies glumly.
‘You are now’, he smiles as hands her two tickets.
‘You are going to see Prince!’
She lets out a scream and almost drags her brother from his van, spluttering, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’, whilst all the time looking down at her tickets … The most precious tickets anyone has ever held.
On the drive home, she thinks who she can ask to go with her to the show. Only one of her friends likes Prince (nowhere near as much as her, but enough!). She calls at her house and knocks on the door.
Her friend is in and says, ‘Yes!’ when asked if she will go too. Soon they will see Prince – live!
They both meet at the end of the houses made of red bricks. Tonight, the street seems magical and is not just the street they live in. It is their star-spangled route to see their idol.
As they approach the stadium, the crowd is huge and the queues snake on for hundreds of feet in all directions.
Her friend is getting a little panicky at all the people and starts to squeeze her hand very, very tightly.
As they approach their gate and get closer to the entrance, her friend panics completely ‘I can’t go in – I just can’t … There are too many people … I’m sorry!’
She watches her friend run away back up the street of red brick houses and run back home.
She is 15, on her own outside the massive stadium filled with 50,000 people. The dream now seems to be fading in her hands.
She looks at the two tickets in her hand, then at the entrance, then up at the red brick walls and wire which has been between her and the music and magic all her life.
Seconds later, she is through the gate, rushing up the stairs to her seat, only a wish away from the stage and the magic that’s about to happen.
Suddenly the lights flash on, a guitar squeals to life, and the music lifts her high up into the stars above the stadium.
She can see Prince right in front of her.
She hears him singing and knows tonight he only sings for her.’