Thursday May 24, 2012
Prince Something Something
Two days ago I stood in line in that alcove around the corner from the SIFF Uptown theater that serves as both shelter and bathroom for some of the area's homeless, waiting to get into “Under African Skies,” a documentary about Paul Simon's “Graceland” album. (Review up tomorrow.) The two people immediately behind me were young folks, 20s, and had a mess of recently purchased CDs with them. Is buying CDs in the MP3 age the hipster thing to do? I wondered.
One of the CDs was Prince's “Purple Rain,” and the two, male and female (like Prince himself), talked about him in halting fashion. They knew him, knew he was good, but that was about it. I got the feeling they were discovering him.
“You know Prince is his real name?” the boy said. “It's Prince Something Something.”
“Rogers Nelson,” I said, butting in. I thought of the old Bryant Junior High School yearbook photo of Prince on the basketball team. Basketball's loss, music's gain.
The girl had seen “Purple Rain” and talked about having gone to Lake Minnetonka, which, she said, factors in the movie. She tried to explain the scene: How Prince takes this girl on his motorcyle to Lake Minnetonka and she jumps in.
“He tells her she has to purify herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka,” I said, butting in again, “so she strips and jumps in. But as she's jumping in, he says, 'That's not ... (splash) ... Lake Minnetonka.' It's a good bit.” To both: “It's a good movie.”
I know. Pain in the ass. I should have offered spoiler alerts.
Then I began to backdate. “Purple Rain” was nearly 30 years old. “Purple Rain” was as distant to these kids as “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” was to me at their age.
Walking into the theater, the girl complimented me on my Prince knowledge. She thought it amazing to find someone who knew so much about him.
“I was 20 when 'Purple Rain' came out,” I said. “We all knew it.”