I woke with the lyrics of “Sometimes It Snows in April” running in my head, and marvelled over how Prince even wrote the soundtrack for our grief. I lay in bed and listened to the song, and then to more of his early stuff while permakitten Grace kept mewing for her breakfast. (We’re sitting shivah today, I reminded her. All bets are off.) I keep wondering if his late-in-life religious conversion created a conflict he couldn’t solve in himself, given his wildly sexual nature. Certainly I don’t care if drugs are what did him in, at least in terms of judging him. Everyone struggles in some way. Few if any channeled his generous genius.
While walking to the coffee shop a little later, I handed him the reins of my iPhone’s shuffle. It’s something I do for people when they first cross over–a luxury afforded by our electrical age. When my friend Gerard Smith died almost exactly five years before, he chose Donna Summer’s “On the Radio,” which was typical of his subversive sense of humor. Prince chose Natalie Merchant’s “King of May,” which made me laugh out loud. Yes, Prince, I almost said aloud. You’ll still be on our mind in the months to come. His need to control, though gargantuan, never bothered me as it did in many male superstars. He was a top masquerading as a bottom (like Grace; like Gerard, come to think of it), and such people always endear themselves to me. But as a film critic and a music lover, I will say it is thus especially important that no one make a biopic about his life. Just watch “Purple Rain” or the “Sign of the Times” concert film on autorepeat, I say. Or better yet: Watch “Under the Cherry Moon.” Oh, how our Prince will loom.