I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. I’ve been trying to write about Prince since the terrible news broke early Friday morning, Manila time. It seemed important to get the word out before all the commentators had picked the bones clean, shaken their heads over his weirdness, and made quips about “The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.”
They would not be wrong. He was weird, with a pure and honest weirdness that was not calculated for image-making, and he created a universe in which it wasn’t even worth remarking upon. At the height of his conflict with his record label, he did change his name into an unpronounceable symbol. This is cited as another instance of his weirdness, but let’s not forget that it hurt his record label, and it cost him millions. How do you buy albums by an artist whose name you can’t say? In his desire to get out of that contract, he churned out albums faster than the record company could sell them.