Prince is dead, long live purple? Yes, that’s me, with the hat, chasing down the purple enigma, we jeeringly called ‘Thimble’, in the way Dubliners do, because he was a small statured, self styled symbol of , what he said, was rock and roll exploitation. Funnily, or in a grotesquely ironic, pre-emption of his death, the Irish Times chose to publish an article by Jim Carroll that questioned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Steve Miller’s assessment of that same industry as a bunch of thieves, etc. But, I wonder, if Prince might’ve praised him.
Back then, as a social diarist, I was charged with the notion of keeping an eye on the elusive prince of darkness as, like a nocturnal moth, he sought the brightest lights in the city, where he could lurk, in the shade.
He was on a hiding to nothing with his record company, who took every cent from his live shows to make up the creative deficit from his refusal to make music for the rate he’d be paid. So he called himself, for all intents and purposes, Symbol, which, in Dublin parlance, became Thimble and then set about finding a venue where he might stage a gig to raise cash money and walk away proud and enumerated.
The unfortunate thing for him and John Reynolds, owner of the Pod and Chocolate Bar, was the pre-arranged deal with the Irish Hospice Foundation and their lavishly staged charity fashion show, complete with such catwalk names as Elle Mc Pherson, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, among others, for an after show party venue and how it might be compromised by a pay (cash) per view deal with the rogue rock star.
But where there’s money, there’s a way and the artist known as I’ll take what I caN GET, made the deal to let the models and their entourage through (they might look good in the video) and the show went on and what a fucking show it was. He played for three hours, odd, unrelenting, incredible, fuck you, rock and roll, blues, soul, soul funk, funk soul and funk you. It was brilliant.
So Prince, the weird, the odd, the thimble but, above all, the musician, I salute you and, incidentally, the most incredible cover of `Nothing Compares 2U has to be by the late Jimmy Scott.