by Salena Godden

PRINCE opened his secret show with PURPLE RAIN.

I wasn’t expecting that, it knocked me for six and tears sprang to my eyes as soon as he sang you say you want a leader, but you can’t seem to make up your mind, I think you better close it a lyric written long before all of this, this bollocks, this war, even before 9/11.

Salena (1)For me it was all about the songs with PRINCE – The stories, the lyrics, the words, and where we all were then, when these songs were first released. Watching him play I remembered the first time I heard the words for SIGN OF THE TIMES and tears streamed down my face again. It’s silly, no? When a rocket ship explodes. How embarrassing. How true. How nothing has changed. Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999 and once PRINCE had made me cry, twice, three times, well then he had me. Like the greatest entertainer of our lifetime, he started as he meant to go on, punching you in the face, and ripping your guts open, making your heart race with hit after hit after hit after hit.

I haven’t seen PRINCE since the 20th Century.

I remember I saw PRINCE perform in France, back when I was a student, inter-railing around Europe, and we caught his tour in Nice. I also remember seeing PRINCE’s LOVESEXY at Wembley too. We’ve all done some growing and changing since then. You SEXYMOTHERFUCKER.

 I don’t know what it is about PRINCE…

Ah yes I do. It is everything about PRINCE.

Watching PRINCE I really tried to be cynical, to say: Hey, adult-Salena, this was something you liked back in the day, back when you used wet look gel, electric blue mascara and bubble gum lip gloss. Back when you wore fingerless lace gloves and consumed bottles of Thunderbird under Hastings Pier. I tried hard to imagine all my purple days were over, but my love for PRINCE proved to be bigger than ever.

Salena_2It is difficult to write this without grinning and wanting to make jokes. It is hard to hero worship. We don’t really write about love and respect for an artist until they die. We don’t tell people what they mean to us until it is too late and they are dead and then we write RIP on Facebook, which seems meaningless. It is hard to admit you have any favourite living heroes, without waiting for someone to piss on your parade. Now, that was a great album too wasn’t it PARADE…? What’s your favourite all time PRINCE album? What’s your favourite PRINCE song? I love EROTIC CITY; I think it’s the sexiest song of all time.

This is not a review. This is not a blog. This is not a poem. This is not a letter. I don’t even know what this is. This is a confession: I love PRINCE. Even. More. Now.

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salenaSalena Godden is one of Britain’s foremost spoken word artists and poets. A regular performer at literary festivals in a career that is now entering its third decade, Salena tops the bill at literary events both nationally and internationally. She’s appeared as a guest and writer for many BBC Radio programmes including The Verb, Saturday Live, Loose Ends and Fact To Fiction and she has written and presented several arts documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. Burning Eye Books published her first full collection, Fishing In The Aftermath: Poems 1994 – 2014, marking twenty years of poetry and performance, with the majority of the work included previously unpublished in book form. Her literary childhood memoir Springfield Road was successfully crowd funded and published with Unbound Books in 2014. Widely recognised as a trailblazer for fellow performers, Salena has also dedicated herself to mentoring newcomers to the scene. Her voice is distinctive and unique, her performances are electrifying, hilarious, intensely powerful and full of warmth.

PrinceThe Morning Papers is a collection of pieces about Prince. In April, Music lost a singer and musician, but we writers also lost a poet. Whether it was his characters, or his line by line precision and intimacy; Prince was every bit the alchemist of words as well as music. In this space writers were invited to talk about the artist, in whatever context they desired. Curated by Sharmila Chauhan.

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