An Army That’s Lost Its Commander

We’re the Purple Army. An army that’s lost its Commander. Almost a month ago now. Our hearts are broken, but we’re still together and helping each other to pick up the pieces. The thought that we’re on a mission to spread not only the music, but also the love4oneanother helps to ease a fraction of the pain. The music will live on forever, but the world has lost a great artist, philanthropist, comedian ( 🙂 ) and inspiration to so many. I often prided myself in the fact that my favorite artist of all time was a living legend, but all good things they say, never last.

I wanted to write about how Prince inspired me personally, but even though it’s my impression that I’m being super strong and coping relatively well with this huge loss in everyday life (I’m mostly focussing on all the great moments) – writing such an (undoubtedly very long) piece, seems so much harder than I expected it to be. I will write it though, just not now  🙂  Every time I heard him say ‘you’re not ready” in concert, I was like: don’t be silly, we are SO VERY ready, crazy man! However, right now, his “you’re not ready” DOES apply to me.

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Flowers for our Prince

Stay strong, my loves. I love you 😀

(I have ZERO knowledge of military ranks, but Wikipedia says that ‘Commander’ is a rank that’s “very rarely used as a rank in armies (except in special forces where it designates the team leader)”. I do believe that we ARE a special force! 😎 )

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Purple Friendship

With this post, I just want to take a moment to look at and appreciate Prince’s absolutely beautiful fan community. Exactly: this is about you and me – and I love you 😀 *

My journey as a Prince supporter began in the Summer of 2003. It was all my older sister’s fault (but looking back at it all, I can only call it a GIFT now)! While I TRIED to be a gamer (at which I simply was no good), my sister stumbled in our room and started playing music while I was trying to focus on my game (older teenage sisters can be super annoying)! She started playing some album from this Prince guy she liked. So there we were – together in our room, each doing our own little thing. As much as I detested her playing records, something happened… At some point I told her: “If you really want to play music in here, you can play that one song again. What’s it called? 7? Yeah… It’s not bad at all”. One song became an album… et voilà! Not much later, I gave up on gaming and yet another teenage passion was born: the music of Prince.

Fast forward to when I was in my early twenties. After years and years of waiting, I had witnessed my first Prince concert (at Werchter Boutique during the Summer of 2010) and my craziest ‘Prince is the best’ years were definitely behind me. He obviously IS the best – but those crazy teenage years during which you discover someone who’s absolutely the bee’s knees ( 🙂 )… simply can’t be beat! ENTER: university life in which I often was a total nerd with – at paper-writing times- an extremely limited social life. Those were the days I joined Prince-related groups on Facebook and got to know other fans a little bit better. And I had SO much fun while doing it (while I was secretly listening a lot less to Prince’s music, ever since that Canadian Cohen dude caught my attention after playing a gazillion shows in Ghent). Then a peppered photograph got posted on some royal Twitter account and everything got even better…

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Believe it or not: this is what a purple nutcase looks like

I must admit that I did have some serious prejudices before I got to know these Prince loving people a little bit better. The best example has to be how I looked at people who were willing to cross an ocean to go on a pilgrimage to Paisley Park. There was no doubt about it: they might be nice people, but also totally obsessed nutcases. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong! These seemingly crazy lunatics – although it’s not impossible that some of them ARE actually totally insane – aren’t making that trip because they’re total fanatics (in the creepiest sense of the word), they’re doing it to meet their family (or does saying that make me a crazy person myself!?) 😀 A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d EVER consider making that same trip, but now? Who knows! I won’t be travelling there this year (because very soon, I’ll finally start at my new job – and I simply don’t have the luxury of taking an unplanned holiday), but maybe some time after 2016…

Some of the people I met online over the last couple of years, have become friends I talk to on a daily basis. They’re people who cheer me up when I’m not having a great day, people who were there for me when scary news hits us, people who make me laugh and even laugh at my silly jokes**, fellow foodies, friends who taught me to always try to look at things in the most positive way (BIG change – so thank you, darlings!), a lifesaver who offered to buy a HITnRUN PHASE TWO album for me at Paisley Park and even delivered it to my doorstep, chosen family… I’d really love to meet and might even cross an ocean for some day (to hot Australia, or cold Minneapolis – who knows 😀 )!

Somewhere along the way, it became about so much more than the music. You, the incredibly sweet/awesome/funny/loving people bring me the most joy. For you, my sweeties, I have one message I just LOVE to repeat: I LOVE YOU!

* Unless you’re Prince, in which case, this isn’t directly about you, but I still love you anyway!

** No worries, some of my other friends have a decent sense of humor as well 🙂

Looking forward to the Prince Memoir: The Beautiful Ones

There are certain movies I refuse to watch – and there are certain books I don’t want to read. My aversion for horror movies is something many people can totally relate to, my dislike for biographies isn’t as widely understood. I only read ONE biography in my entire life; after Barack Obama got elected, I felt the need to read more about the life of a man that made history by being elected as the first African-American President of the U.S.A. – so I read a biography. That’s it.

And… I also read 2 pages of a biography about Prince. I instantly regretted this (and I think my aversion for reading biographies stems from reading those pages). Once I read Prince was born at the Mount Sinai Hospital, I thought: ‘No! No! I don’t want to know this kind of information. This makes me feel creepy.’ Sadly, I never forgot the name of that hospital – not even after what has to be more than I decade by now. I don’t really want to know too much personal details about someone I don’t personally know. Even though this kind of curiosity may be rather normal, I feel like I’d somehow be disrespecting the privacy of the famous person in question. So I’m sure that by now, you can already imagine how I feel about Prince associates writing (or talking about writing) a tell-all book: JUST. GO. AWAY. MONEYGRABBERS. *yuck*

ba1be2d6HOWEVER… An autobiographical account is something completely different. I never read one and it still doesn’t feel like my kind of book, but… the ‘the writer/reader of this book is invading the subject’s privacy’ feeling completely vanishes in the case of an autobiography – or in this case; a memoir. If my favorite musician wants to share his personal memories with the world… Yeah, I’m definitely buying a copy (Okay… Maybe I won’t instantly start reading it, but ultimately… I probably would)! The fact that it looks like the book will be focusing mostly on the creative work/process makes it so much more alluring.

I must say I was rather surprised by the title of his memoir: The Beautiful Ones. This makes it sound like a large portion of it all will be about the people that inspired him. In other words: who exercised which influence on Prince (when it comes to work ethic, music, lyrics, specific songs, et cetera)? The fact that we’ll be hearing answers to (some of) these questions from the man himself, makes ‘The Beautiful Ones’ a project to look forward to! Lastly, I’m secretly hoping that the word ‘unconventional’ that’s been used to describe ‘The Beautiful Ones’ doesn’t refer to a writing style that’s full of ‘Princebonics’ – so that this piece of work will be able to reach (and touch?) an ever wider audience 🙂

I’m sure it will be worth it, once it sees the light of day! I’m already looking forward to it!

Prince’s Memoir ‘The Beautiful Ones’ is scheduled for an Autumn 2017 release via Spiegel & Grau.

[small clarification: If it’s written in Princebonics, I personally won’t mind 🙂 ]

Like a 5-year-old all over again…

… that’s exactly how I feel these days when I think about music – or more specifically: how I feel when I’m thinking about the prospect of possibly witnessing the Piano & a Microphone tour with my own eyes!

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We were meant to witness it all back in December, but alas, that didn’t happen. However, all hope isn’t lost. After Paisley Park, Australia and now Oakland – who knows where that wonderful tour will land next? Possibly somewhere in the United States, but… In time, it simply MUST come to Europe, right? 😀

Some people aren’t too happy about the absence of a full tour schedule and even find it rather frustrating. I don’t mind. In fact, I find all the uncertainty rather exciting. Especially now that the previously announced shows have been completed. What’s going to happen? How long before Europe gets its second chance? And if it’s finally going to happen… He’s not going to skip our little country, is he? (forget about terror threats – we’re going to be okay!) Large venue or small venue? Will we be granted the pleasure of a nice afterparty???

However, more than this uncertainty, the feelings of pure JOY and  ENTHUSIASM are dominant when I’m thinking about live music these days. Reading all the reports about how wonderful these shows are make me DELIGHTED 🙂

littlekidI’m simply excited to find out what will happen next. I’m kinda feeling like a little kid on Christmas Eve (and whether you celebrate Christmas or not: I’m guessing you know exactly what I mean 🙂 )

We ain’t ready? Think again, Prince! We are MORE than ready 😀

HITNRUN PHASE TWO: ULTIMATE IMPRESSIONS / PIANO & A MICROPHONE

I noticed I’ve always blogged about my first, quick impressions of new Prince albums, but I’ve never said anything about whether an ‘everlasting’ musical love came into existence or not. Pulling out those adorable rose-colored glasses is not so strange when you’re getting excited about finally (or unexpectedly) getting to hear a new album by one of your favorite artist!

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So how do I feel about HITNRUN PHASE TWO, 2 months after its release? Well… I’ll always remember this album as a true adventure! I wasn’t exactly a proud supporter of the innovative method of distribution used for this album, but… I’ve got the impression that it all worked out pretty well, especially for the American fans – but it wasn’t so bad for the rest of us either! Luckily, @TheRealPoetsi offered to bring me a copy of the album from her visit to Paisley Park, so in the end, peer-to-peer worked for me!

I couldn’t be more happy about having a physical copy, because… After EXTENSIVE listening sessions, I’m still a HUGE fan of this album – even more so than upon first listening to it! I practically sing along to every single song now that I can finally listen to this album in the car (I produce ugly sounds though, you don’t want to hear it 😀 ). But just like with AoA’s FUNKNROLL, this album has ONE track I skip because it ruins MY flow: Screwdriver. That’s it – everything else on this record sounds lovely to my ears! If Prince every decides to come to Belgium with his Piano & a Microphone tour, I might just pick up some extra copies, because I’m sure my sister would love this as well. Even my dad has expressed his interest in this album upon hearing ‘Look At Me, Look At U’ and ‘Big City’! Talking about family friendly music!

Those two songs that persuaded my father about the quality of HITNRUN PHASE TWO just happen to be a couple of my absolute favorites on this album (next to Revelation, Black Muse and Groovy Potential). I’m 100% in love with the song Look At Me, Look At U. In my book, that one totally falls into the category of sublime romantic songs. When do I consider a song a part of that category? Simply put: if I’m totally swept of my feet when, for a minute, I imagine that someone wrote & sang it for me. When I close my eyes and listen to the music and the words, I can only consider a song a little effective masterpiece when not 1 wrong word gets in the way! Look At Me, Look At U + sublime romantic song? CHECK!

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If I remember correctly, some of the songs from PHASE TWO got performed by Prince during his Gala event at Paisley Park, so I’m hoping the people in Australia and New Zealand will get the pleasure of hearing those great songs as well… VERY SOON! And of course… I’m crossing my fingers and burning an insane amount of candles – hoping to get the opportunity to catch a Piano & a Microphone show as well in my own country. (that truly would be 1 of my 2 Prince concert dreams coming true!)

Twitter nonsense: long live the fro!

In my tiny little Belgian world, a hairstyle is ‘a style of cutting, arranging or combing the hair’. In that sense, every single person that regularly picks up a comb, has a hairstyle. Hairstyles can range from ‘styling’ it for hours to making sure it’s untangled (in my case 🙂 ). Or maybe even… making sure your afro is the roundest!

So today I apparently did something risky. After a cute pic of a little kid wearing a shirt with a picture of Prince on it (which got slightly edited in the hair department) got posted with a comment about the hair – I jokingly said ‘I take it you don’t feel inspired to change your hairstyle!?’ (I should’ve probably just stopped at ‘hair’). To which @Prince3EG answered that an afro isn’t a hair’style’. After which courageous me said ‘everything’s a style. even natural is’ (given the above mentioned definition of the word hairstyle). THAT’S the moment where I – unknowingly – went to far. ENTER: TROUBLE.

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Okay… An afro is much more than hair. Choosing for this natural way of wearing your hair, might in fact be very empowering (amongst other things I’m probably not fully aware of), so titling it a ‘hairstyle’ might be considered as not giving it enough credit. An afro might not be considered ‘styled’ as in being ‘manipulated into looking like what is dictated by white beauty ‘ideals” – because it’s the closest to staying true to the nature of your own, real hair. If that’s why people were mad at me for calling it a hairstyle: I completely recognize what you were trying to communicate. HOWEVER, not everyone said it like that. In addition, when we apply the actual definition of the word ‘hairstyle’, an afro still qualifies as a hairstyle (amongst many other things).

Of course, most of the authors of dictionaries are probably white – so perhaps you chose not to agree on this definition of the white man. HOWEVER… Some of the reactions these simple tweets sparked were WAY out of line.

Someone confronted me with her own definition; she said ‘styling’ is ‘when you alter your hair to form a look’ – implying that you can only talk about a hairstyle when the appearance gets altered (rather drastically (?)). Of course, that’s a way to define ‘styling your hair’, but I simply believe a ‘hairstyle’ is a wider concept than how this particular person sees it. So I replied with a simple ‘let’s agree to disagree’. Apparently, I went too far again. According to this same person, disagreements are based on opinions, while she was talking about facts (her definition seemed to be the only acceptable definition). Oh well… let’s leave it at that, right? NO. Me ‘wanting to dismiss this instead of LEARNING is an example of’ me ‘exercising white privilege’. Seriously… Where did THAT accusation come from? This completely SHOCKED me. Because I don’t apply the same definition as you, I should accept the simple fact that I’m wrong and I’d better adopt your definition – if not, I’m exercising my white privilege? I find that absolutely ridiculous and above all… using these words in a context like this might possibly marginalize the actual, REAL issue of white privilege, no?

The sad fact is that I got attacked about this kinda stuff (and in addition, got called a sour-faced person by someone else) while – compared to others – I never actually expressed myself negatively about afros (or more specifically, about Prince having an afro). I’m a person that absolutely doesn’t care about hair at all – not mine, not yours… nobody’s hair interests me, really. Even gray hair, baldness, etc… I couldn’t care less – it’s all beautiful!

My apologies for having wasted a couple of minutes of your time with this little text 🙂 I simply felt shocked (and kinda bad/sad) about all of this, so I needed to write a bit to feel somewhat better about it all 😀

Also… Thank God for the nice people on Twitter (those who actually wanted to talk to me + Prince3EG – who obviously meant no harm at all).

Have a wonderful hair day. Long live the fro. Goodnight!

Goodbye, David Bowie

I don’t know a lot about David Bowie. I’ve always known he was a creative force to be reckoned with. I’ve always known that I should probably be listening to his music – after all, I really liked the (few) songs of his I actually knew.

With the release of ★ – and after having watched the documentary ‘David Bowie: Five Years’ about a week earlier – I finally was about to make that jump… On the day of the album’s release, Blackstar (the song) and Lazarus were on repeat for a couple of hours, before they won me over entirely. The haunting quality of this new music (and the accompanying video clips) astounded me. It was clear as day: I simply had to have a physical copy of that album (because like you may know: physical copies are my thing) 🙂

Then – not even two days later – the news came: David Bowie had passed away. I had just woken up and simply couldn’t believe what I had just read. I literally scrolled for about 15 minutes to get the confirmation that this sickening news was indeed some stupid hoax created by a horrible, sad excuse for a human being. Until I read the message by David Bowie’s son. It shattered my heart.

A little while later – while I was still fighting to hold back my tears – some very ignorant/annoying messages caught my eye: people making claims like ‘everybody loves you… when you’re dead’ and other stuff about how expressing grief on social media could in no way be truly sincere. Next to the fact that those are simply horrible things to say at such a time, it upset me. How could they?

Maybe you’re thinking: ‘what are you talking about? Not even did you not know the man personally… It’s not like you were a fan either! Get over yourself – annoying brat!’ Well… let me tell you: you don’t have to own someone’s complete discography (or even half of it) to be aware of the pain people all over the world feel when a hero of our musical landscape physically leaves the scene – and be affected by that realization yourself as well.

In addition, expressing grief by means of social media isn’t insincere at all. Not so long ago, someone I went to high school with died in a car accident. She was a very nice girl, but we were never more than ‘friendly’ and I hadn’t spoken to (or seen) her in over 5 years. In all those years, I never told her younger brother how his sister was a nice, intelligent and sweet person – even though she was. In never expressed my appreciation for her in half a decade. I did however, write a heartfelt condolences message as a reply to a Facebook message written by her younger brother. Did I only appreciate her after she died? Or is it perhaps possible to… Appreciate someone is silence, from a distance – with or without having had personal contact with this person in the past? Could that possibly be a reality, dear social media sceptics!?

Let’s just finish with this:

  • It’s very easy to be a bully on social media – but maybe just… don’t! No need to hurt people that already are grieving even more. And besides: you might be completely wrong about it all!
  • David Bowie was – and will forever be – a true icon. Perhaps even… the consummate artist of our time? After hearing about how ★ was meticulously crafted and planned, I can’t shake off the feeling that the others I consider to be my favorite artists would never go as far as treating their lives as a piece of art… until the very end. What an extraordinary parting gift. Thank you, David Bowie.