Prince: What it sounds like at Paisley Park

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I had just motored some 340 miles non-stop. Saturday night, April 30th:
For a while I had been thinking of this.
I pulled a 3 by 5 notecard out of the upper left jacket pocket and a pen.
I wrote:
“I had met you in 1978 working as a tech at Studio 80 here on security. You were recording and I heard your music. I said to the engineer, my contact that what I heard was astounding, like nothing I had ever heard before. A mix of funk, hard rock and an energy like nothing you hear anywhere. Let me introduce you, he said. Tell him what you told me. I think he’d like to hear what you think. I did. You shook my hand and said thank you. And now Prince, I say thank you. ”
I folded the card and shoved it in with some flowers bundled in bouquets along the cyclone fence.

umbrella beret

Looming a few hundred meters beyond, bathed in purple light, a monstrous white structure, its appearance more like an art museum than anything else. How apropos. Almost cubist, abstract, surreal, multi-faceted from the side accessible. Tucked away in this Chanhassen Lakes business park: Paisley Park. Prince’s Paisley Park. Purple star balloons, purple umbrellas, thank you cards and pictures of him wrapped in plastic. People driving up, paying their respects, saying good bye, even at 2332 hours when I arrived, in the dark. The glow of Minneapolis to the near north and quiet. Except initially, one fellow dancing with himself, an ‘80s boombox on his shoulder, dressed like the artist, dancing to the man’s music.

“I would die for you.” I don’t know if that was appropriate. I looked again and he was gone and I wondered if I really saw him.

Paisley Park

In a business park. Paisley Park. The cities had grown up around him. Not some pastoral estate, a place undoubtedly to create.

Inn Cry Inn

This is what it sounds like when dove’s cry? Across from the compound, the song of frogs rhythmically singing in an adjacent wetland. Frogs. Minnesota. This is what it sounds like. Ironically the day he passed I used a purple Maglite to make my way up the stairs to where I park. I never use that light for anything, more of a curiosity that I bought one day when the others had all disappeared, much the way keys do. This day it was the only one around. I didn’t know what it would portend.


At his Paisley Park, I grabbed the light and used it to read the messages people had left. Thirty minutes, I was on my way back, reflecting on Prince, what Prince had given music. Had given us all. I saw a white wolf poking about the roadside, to my left as I headed southeast, along I-94, ten miles North of the Wisconsin Dells now on my way home. I thought, what did it portend? Pondering then on the last almost 40 years and the changes it had brought. And the 19 year old I had met in Minneapolis years ago, forever 57.

hiphop for hope

Good Night Prince