Poor Victoria Wood.
No sooner had Britain’s best-loved and most multi-talented female comedian passed away surprisingly from cancer at the ridiculous age of 62, who knew?, than the artist posthumously known as Prince has popped his platinum discs at the age of 57, during a bout of “‘flu”.
If there is a pandemic of ‘flu lethal enough to carry off a celebrity as wealthy and prominent as the little Prince, who must surely have had the entire global medical community at his behest, we are all in trouble.
As, clearly, most ordinary Americans are; at the mercy of a medical system as archaic and insane as their judiciary.
Fifty-seven, however, is one of those unpropitious, grey ages at which most of us wish we did not have to arrive. It is better to be 60, believe me, than 57. There is nothing youthful, sexy or promising about 57.
While I don’t think I have heard an entire Prince track from opening chord to coda, being just the wrong side of the right age, nevertheless I can see how important he was to the world of popular musicke. And judging by the encomia of his fellow celebs, he was a total groove; once putting on an arena concert with his band in a suburban living-room in the grimy north of the UK.
It seems like celebrities are dropping dead at a rate not seen since the BBC website ran an article by a statistician two days ago, poo-pooing the idea that celebrities were dying in unnatural numbers this year.
Of course, it’s a generational thing. The 1960s and 70s produced an unnaturally large postwar crop of actors, musicians and comedians by the standards of previous generations, whose talents were exposed in greater numbers owing to the geometric expansion in entertainment channels in the West.
Unsurprisingly, many of them are in their 60s, 70s and 80s and are dying off within the statistical norms of people of their age. Celebrities, let us never forget, are normal people, only different. Perpetual, nevertheless they aren’t immortal.
And in some ways I am comforted. I have never understood why my first wife, a TV reporter and presenter, could not have been saved from cancer by virtue of being better connected with the medical establishment than yer ordinary Jane Bloggs. You’d think celebrity would provide some protection, some extra ‘two-year warranty’, some presentiment of immortality, but it doesn’t.
It’s in yer genes.
So there is our dear Queen, being upstaged on her 90th birthday by a mere Prince.
Ironic, or what?