I was at home in a suburb of Georgetown, Guyana, called South Ruimveldt. It was a school day - afternoon. I don't remember why I wasn't at school. It isn't that I was ill. It might have been a free period. I was sitting on the floor, doing something mundane like darning a sock; maybe it was a needlework assignment.
The radio was on; I was listening to GBC. Suddenly, the sound of a warped, distorted Hammond surged out of the radio. It sounded like they were playing a cassette that had been sat in the sun for too long.
It was the aural equivalent of retina unexpectedly seared by direct sunlight. The voice that emanated from it was the voice of an alien deity: authoritative yet pixie-ish. A voice of god from the body of a munchkin, brandishing the parlance of a preacher presiding over a marriage, but this was no man of the cloth and this was no order of service.
We were gathered together to get through "this thing called Life" and it was an "Electric word," but there was, "Something else," *warped sex organ key change* "The After World." There was a shrink in Beverly Hills that we all knew called, "Doctor Everything Thing'll Be Alright." But he didn't have the solutions. "The elevator" would try to bring us down - I heard "break." I always sing "break." There was only one solution, "Go crazy. Punch a higher floor."
Then a bizarre polyphony erupted in radio land and I was confronted for the first time by sounds that I didn't have the vocabulary or experience to explain, describe or name. I know that the extra terrestrial scream from the chthonic pit was an electric guitar, but the wizardry of this deranged musical magus was like a Damascene assault from a wielder of the winds. I was veritably pinned to the wall. When the song ended the announcer said, "That was Prince."
"OH! So that's what he sounds like!" Until that point, I had only seen this bizarre enigmatic goblin in my classmates' magazines. I think I may have read the lyrics to the song, Head - too much for my born again teenaged Christian sensibilities - but I hadn't heard anything. There were just photographs of a man with a forbidding moustache, and an unnerving relaxation with his physicality.
You could see his pants. You could see his pubes. You could see the crack of his arse. And as you beheld the brazen display, he just looked right back at you with an attitude and a pornographic lyric on his mind. He looked like Phil Lynott, but Lynott didn't scare the bejesus out of me the way this beguiling, demonic, sex pixie did. It was the beginning of a new religion.
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