They say there are five stages of grief.
They also say it takes somewhere around a year.
Well, it seems “they” are wrong: it’s been more than a year an a half that Prince passed away, and somehow, I’m still in that the first stage.
I think our grieving is so much slower because we have so many things to hold on to, to remind us of him.
That’s a paradox even: somehow, we don’t want to heal.
I’m what some would call a “hardcore” fan.
Something only the fans can really understand.
It took me very early on, I can even give you the date: July 10, 1988.
I was 11, my big brother took me to the 3rd show of the European Lovesexy tour in Paris.
Imagine, you’re eleven, it’s your first concert ever, in a 16 000 seats arena, every lights turned off, and suddenly, this Erotic City intro, drums only, the whole building shaking. I remember looking at my brother, worried, with a “should we evacuate the building” kind of look.
Then a car starts rolling on the set, everybody screams,
Then, even louder, “Snare drum pound on the 2 and 4!”.
That was it. I had to hear it all, see it all, for the rest of my life.
My wife, Clémentine, is an artist, a painter.
A few years back, Prince bought the rights to an illustration of him she had painted for me.
(read all of it here: prince.by.blule.fr ), which led to a collaboration on a few other projects.
As I write those lines, she’s in the middle of creating a whole book about him.
(This is actually what pushed me to write this. We have been working for months on it, and it took me so, so deep in research and memories)
She had many reasons for creating the book.
I’m so privileged to be able to say: I’m the main one.
She knew I was dreaming of it (I might not have been very subtle in hiding it ;) ) ; she knew it would help me, somehow, if not heal, at least feel better ; she knew I would be thankful for the rest of my life (like I don’t have enough reasons already).
From there, it’s easy enough to assume at least some other fans would feel the same.
She never told me, but I think she needed to do it for herself too. Her collaboration with Prince stopped abruptly, especially what would probably have been her most glorious work if it were to be completed, the Paisley Park studio. She needed to get closure, create something beautiful the fans would love, and–maybe–he would have, too.
Thing is, Clémentine is not a “hardcore” fan like me and so many of us are, but I’m always amazed by (and envious of) the “relationship” she has with him. The fact that he acknowledged her work the way he did, of course, but mostly, how she “sees” him. She has a connection I will never have. I can explain to you for hours how much and why I love him.
She can show you how she does.
Obviously, I am very much involved in the book.
As a technician, handling every digital aspect from the web, to the image processing, to the layout, to the printing management.
But also, and more importantly, as a Prince “consultant”. For that, I had to deep-dive into music, videos, stories. And let me tell you: I didn’t expect this journey to be so emotional.
It was fascinating seeing how Clémentine was able to extract the essence of the scenes, not being afraid to mix and remix, distort and appropriate.
The result is quite mesmerising. It’s Prince–no doubt–and yet, you can’t always really place it or date it.
There have been superb photography books recently (Steve Park’s one and Afshin Shahidi’s one come to mind first.), and they have something Clémentine’s book will never have, obviously. But seeing it come to life, the opposite is also true: she somehow captured moments when there was no camera.
It will be a glorious object, and very limited. From a fan to another, you really don’t want to miss out: pre order now.
(disclaimer: at goal level, we make approximately $0, after that, we start making some scale economies, but nothing that would remotely compensate for what I estimate was more than a thousand hours of combined work)
And then there is the crown jewel, or the cake under the cherry, I don’t know.
Over the last 30 years, I have met my share of Prince fans, passionate discussions ; queuing together for the next after show ; sharing love for our man.
But the way this community has welcomed her was something else entirely.
I witnessed something I always knew was there, and it felt good.
The other day, she tweeted that Prince fans being everywhere, it felt like the Fight Club movie.
I love this analogy. We are everywhere, and we spread the word, and we preserve his legacy.
He taught us a lot, and I feel we’re living to his expectations.
It’s quite amazing that, in the first song on his first album, 40 years ago, he laid out his plan, and then did just that, to the letter, his whole life.
All of this and more is for U
With love, sincerity and deepest care
My life with U I share
Thank you for sharing your life with us, Prince.