Let’s go crazy

purple rainI’m 18 years old, and I’m at university, living away from home for the first time. Dances are popular at my school, except they’re not called “dances’; they’re “beer gardens.” Why the Oktoberfest sensibility in this Canadian Maritime school I have no idea.

But I’m there, surrounded by new people, peers, knowledge-seekers, the hormonally maddened, just like me. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to remake myself here. In fact, I’ve already begun the thought process of dumping my old girlfriend back home for this new girl, this girl who I began dancing with, yes, at a beer garden. Don’t feel bad for the girl back home; she was a lesbian but didn’t know it yet.

We were ready to dance, ready to scream, youth of 1984, Cold War kids, Frankie says Relax.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…”

It’s a terrible opening to a dance song: the organ, the spoken word. It’s a hymn, for God’s sake! But we rush the floor, screaming, cheering. We are the beloved, heeding Prince’s call. We’re pulled in. Because we know what’s coming: the beat is going to kick in. The beat, the driving synth drum, the riff — oh, that riff! — irresistible.

And we dance. Honestly, we don’t listen to the lyrics after that, except to shout, “Oh no let’s go!” It’s the music that is the passion, the drive, the compulsion, to go crazy, no precious conceit or hint of cynicism in this music, just pure sound and joy, putting a stupid grin on my face dancing with a new girl, who amazingly is into me. I think, “Wow. My life right now.”

And then the final guitar, stopping the beat. How can you end a dance song like this, with such virtuoso, face-melting, screaming electricity? But what can we do? We keep dancing, slowing down, writhing, grinding, the joyful noise ending in something almost dirty. Of course! That’s rock and roll! Sex! That’s why we’re here, right? What else did we think this was all leading up to?

Some people air-guitar, and that’s okay. They’ve gone crazy. They fall on the floor. One song, for a few moments, and we’re young. Even now, I hear it, and I’m young. And life is good.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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28 Responses to Let’s go crazy

  1. Barry says:

    Thanks for sharing a memory that triggered so many more.

  2. franhunne4u says:

    And now I have to confess: I never was into Prince’s music. Not my stein of beer.

  3. Sheila Moss says:

    Nice tribute, well written. Thanks.

  4. Cutie says:

    i heard that prince had died yesterday so sad

  5. Corinne Smith says:

    Thanks for this one. Brought back all those hazy purple memories.

  6. I suddenly crave wine coolers. You’e a bad influence.

  7. ksbeth says:

    what a happy tribute )

  8. LRose says:

    This is what they mean when they say, “write about what you know.” The songs of our lives are always a poignant memory.

  9. Trent Lewin says:

    The best music reminds us that life is good, and that people are wonderful souls. For some reason, Raspberry Beret reminds me of my parents basement from long ago… light coming in the windows, cardboard boxes all over because we hadn’t unpacked yet, tall mountains of them that I would weave between. It all made sense when there was music.

  10. Paul says:

    Superb tribute Ross. No doubt the Man himself would have been pleased.

  11. pinklightsabre says:

    That is a sweet ode. (I’m giving you a simple nod, as we discussed earlier this week.)
    I don’t feel bad for Prince even though he was young. I say that because I think he lived so much, much more than most of us, and gave so much. Look at how many people have memories like that, like yours — and consider how he may go out and come back around again like a boomerang years from now. For me, it’s my first LSD trip in a fraternity house in 1989, really ‘connecting’ with Purple Rain for the first time. I wrote about that recently and it wouldn’t have been the same without that record of course. And imagine, it was going in the Prince room where they were playing that and in the other room, Sergeant Peppers, and to be able to say the two kind of held up — or Prince held up, I should say. Thanks for sharing this. Bill

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Wild. I don’t understand mourning rock stars, at least not in the strict sense. It’s more, yes, gratitude.
      This was a bit of brain-to-page writing.
      Purple Rain and LSD. Wow.

  12. I am genuinely sad that he croaked. There was a period where I bought anything he put out. Say, between “Around the World in a Day” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” I kind of bailed out after that but still paid attention. “Sign o’ the Times” was a super-big deal to me, although some of it sounds kind of dated now. I was equally sad about Bowie. What gives?! there a 2016 hash tag out there where people tell the year to fuck off and stop taking the people who mean something to us.

  13. Ned's Blog says:

    I wasn’t a huge Prince fan, but I appreciated his impact and musical artistry. This piece helped me appreciate him even a little more. Nicely done, Ross.

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