I’d never quite understood those people who you see grieving for celebrities that they didn’t know. However on 21 April 2016, all that changed. I’m a huge Prince fan. I was heartbroken when I heard that he had died and it was all that I could think about in the following days. Prince had been a part of my life for 33 years. That’s a long time.
When I was growing up, my two sisters each had their own tastes in music, but Prince belonged to me. The first time I saw him was on a BBC programme called Entertainment USA, sometime around 1983, when Little Red Corvette was released. He was unique; his music couldn’t be pigeonholed. He was Prince and I was captivated. What was to follow would be years of being on ‘Prince watch’, desperately trying to find out the latest information, which wasn’t always easy in pre-social media days.
In 2007 I got to see Prince perform at the O2, in London, for 3 of his famous 21-nights residency. He blew me away; I couldn’t believe that I was in the same room as him, standing just a few meters away. I got to see him again on his Hit and Run tour in 2014, playing an intimate gig at the Roundhouse. At all of these shows he played hit, after hit, after hit – giving the fans exactly what they wanted. I was hoping to see his Piano & a Microphone tour in 2016 but, thanks to touts, the show got cancelled before tickets even went on sale.
And then there was no more.
At the end of October 2017, the My Name is Prince exhibition opened at the O2 featuring artefacts from Paisley Park.
I was able to visit the exhibition off-peak, so it wasn’t too busy, and I felt able to spend plenty of time taking everything in. To be perfectly honest, I would have happily paid the entrance fee just to watch the videos and listen to the music that accompanied different sections of the exhibition, however getting up close, and I mean really close, to his outfits gave me goosebumps. Now we all know that Prince wasn’t a large man, but my goodness his clothes show you just how petite he was. As well as clothing seen in films, videos and on tours, there were other memorable items – the third-eye sunglasses, the diamond-studded cane, numerous guitars, handwritten notes, awards – I could go on and on.
I’d heard that there would be an opportunity to leave tribute messages. These will be transferred back to Minnesota to be archived along with the ever-growing tributes left at the Paisley Park Fence. That’s why I decided to make my cross stitch tribute, with words from Sometimes it Snows in April. Cross stitch was one of the first crafts that I tried way back when, and it was nice to return to it having been inspired by some of my niece’s recent creations. I used some free software to create the pattern.
I found a perfect space for my embroidery hoop at the exhibition and it looked very fitting amongst the other tributes. Unfortunately, because photography wasn’t allowed inside, I was unable to take a picture of it in situ. It makes me happy to think that a little piece of me will be going back to Minnesota.
The exhibition will run until 7 January and if you like Prince’s music it’s well worth a visit. I’m already thinking about a return trip.