The whole week, my stomach had churned with fear and paranoia and some kind of unresolved stress. I'd been writing a script and convinced myself that it would end badly - I'd get pulled off the draft, that I'm out of my depth, that I'm just a big old fake. Hell, maybe I had PMT thrown into the mix - but since my hysterectomy, these days I don't have periods to solve the query of 'why am I behaving so crazily?' I swear to god, it was like I knew it wasn't going to end well. I just had this bad feeling, this impending sense of doom.
Then, standing on a freezing cricket pitch, at 6:08pm, having just dropped my son off after our worst row ever - I got a text from my friend Thea, saying 'have you seen this, I think it's a hoax.' It was a link to a newspaper article. I caught sight of the headline and just froze. Her text was followed by Facebook messages and phone calls, did I know the news? Prince was dead.
It was like the world stopped. Time stopped. I just couldn't begin to accept this news, take it in, process it in any way. I stumbled to my local pub, hoping alcohol would numb my sense of loss - feeling faintly ridiculous that I was so traumatised by his untimely death. Because, how is it possible that one can be so devastated about the loss of someone one has never met?
It's hard to put into words for those who don't understand. See with me, if you asked anyone to sum up the loves of my life that aren't my family and mates - really, it's 3: Movies, Halloween and Prince.
All 3 have brought me untold joy - but only one was/is my hero. I loved him for 32 years - and in so many ways he inspired me, in so many ways he saved me.
Those who don't have huge passions in life - save that of making bucks - aren't gonna get it. Because a passion in life - a true passion - is never about ££££. It's about the sheer buzz that it gives you. How happy it makes you feel. Likewise those with cosy cheery upbringings are never gonna know what it is like to feel saved by music - to feel less alone when you hear a song that sounds like it has been written for you alone. All through my life, Prince was with me every step of the way - and the pinnacle of all of that was getting to hear him live. Man, it was such an electric experience - mainly because he loved performing so much - it was like nothing on earth. I'm gutted beyond words that I'll never hear him again jam to Let's go Crazy, or tease us with Hot Thing or lead us melodically to Paisley Park. That I'll never see him get off to his own brilliant music.
Losing him, is a loss to the world musically, and a loss to me simply because that little bit of joy - the anticipation of playing the 'where is he playing tonight' game has gone. The maze we all went through to get tickets, to queue for hours, to show our devotion. All gone. Of course, we have his music - his incredible legacy - and perhaps much more will be unveiled as his Vault is opened... But the world suddenly feels less bright, life feels more finite, time feels more precious.
I don't give a fuck about anyone who judges me for my grief and my sense of loss. How dare anyone tell you how to feel. With grief - there is no right or wrong. You just are.
I take comfort in knowing so many others felt exactly as I did - not least that so many revered musicians such as Pearl Jam, The Stones, Elton John, Springsteen, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and the remaining Beatles all commented that he was the greatest performer that they had ever seen, greatest guitarist - with Justin Timberlake stating a fact - that day, 21st April 2016 we lost the world's greatest living musician. Some fan groups I'm a member of all shared bootlegs and interviews and articles and what not - that has made the last week more bearable, and one of discovery - finding out so much about the most private man in pop.
Babble asked me to write something, which I did after a sleepless night, at 5am the next day. A week on and I'm still sad, but I'm grateful that I saw him 5 times including his last ever UK gig - where he was energetic and youthful and brilliant as he was 20 years ago...
He wasn't just a celebrity to me. He felt like a buddy, a companion who understood when everyone else did not. He was one of the greatest loves of my life. Even though I never met him, I'll miss him forever.