Prince: Purple Reign – A book review

imagesI read this on my Kobo Aura 2 E-reader. After reading the preview version, I became curious and hit the buy button.

I wasn’t very fond of purple (literally, the color!). But this book about Prince has made me see it from another “eyes”. What I had in my mind when this color is mentioned was: “To know more about Prince is to like purple. To love him, though, is to love purple.” This book draws me deep into his life without it being too exaggerated. I’ve never been a fan of Prince; I’ve always been neutral – not a fan, but also not a hater. I bought this book after reading the previews of other biography books about famous musicians. I must say that although speaking highly/promoting is essential and obvious, this book at least doesn’t make me bored to the point that I’d think,”okay, this is going to be ridiculously and narcissistically written.” It is not, and it’s one of the reasons why I hit on the buy button.

You might even think that I, at least, have one album about Prince because I decided to read this book. Nope. I do have Mozart, though ;) But I’m not a classical music snob *smiles, sarcastically* I do listen to the Beatles, Oasis, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, etc. By this I meant to say that this post is written by someone who had never taken a serious look about the life of Prince (hey, talking about the other side of the coin…) — and hey, don’t you think that this book is interesting enough to draw attention to a classical violinist? ;)

What I think about Prince

As this is my first biography book about Prince, my opinion about him is also only based on what I’ve read in this book. Prince was a guy with a big dream and that’s undoubtedly true. But I also find him to be a self-centered musician, and I also sensed narcissistic side, but the author of this book thankfully didn’t make it too stand out from other things about him. His journey as a musician even made me more realize that being a musician with a big dream is like fighting to climb up higher for years. How many bands have stopped performing, currently? It’s like trying to reach perfection on a difficult to master music instrument like the violin, where your ears let you train to play in-tune; How many have dropped it? Too many! It’s a very demanding music instrument: you have to practise every day, set your goals. The correlation between this and Prince is that I find Prince so demanding: you could or couldn’t keep up with him.

Back to this book..

It felt like I’m back to the ’80s and earlier. I sensed that back then, people seemed to categorize music in blocks: not only by genre’s but also by races: music for white people, and for black people. People probably still categorize it like this, but I think that back then, it was worse. It’s this book that emphasized it. This kind of stands out in the whole story. While music is an international language so it has to be neutral.

There’s a downside of this book, though. Its description about Geminis is off. The author mentioned Gemini – which is Prince’s zodiac – but he put the description of Sagittarius. I chuckled when I read it. As this book is my first biography book about Prince (I do think that it’s not the only book about Prince on this earth), I don’t know whether to recommend this. But I know that it’s interestingly written and has succesfully inspired me.

Tipping the Velvet (2002)

2002-tipping-velve_1843507b

Have I really never posted about this BBC mini-serie Tipping the Velvet before? Can hardly believe it! This is an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ other novel besides The Fingersmith.

The story is about a young woman Nance Astley (in the picture, she’s on the left side) who falls in love with a male impersonator named Kitty Butler and the journey brought her to London, together with Kitty. The tragedy started when Nance came back to London from Whitstable earlier than expected just to find out that Kitty had an affair with their manager, Walter and was going to marry him. Nance went away, wandering alone in the city, experiencing poverty, and her new life wandering through the streets in a male costumes, satisfying male costumers for money. She was kind of “do what I can do today to survive” person until she met her true love

This story really made me think and imagine of how life as a lesbian really was like back in the Victorian era. After reading the background story of the novel’s author, mrs. Waters, this story has somewhat her own experience in which she was 19 when she joined a student house in Whitstable, sharing bed and falling in love with another young woman.

The story is very touching! Life full of sadness, disappointment, slavery, poverty, and longing for true love…it’s nicely written and the mini-serie is nicely acted! More info here

I’ve watched this BBC mini-serie for a few times and still love it! :)

Fingersmith (2005)

Fingersmith is a BBC mini-series that was televised in 2005, which is an adaptation of Sarah Water’s novel, who’s also the author of Tipping the Velvet.

The lives of two young women collide in Victorian England when a trio of ‘fingersmiths’ (pick-pockets) concoct an elaborate scam to defraud a young heiress of her inheritance. The story alternates between the twisting back alleyways of Dickensian London and the cloistered gloom of a Gothic mansion in 1862.

Cast:
Sally Hawkins as Sue Trinder
Elaine Cassidy as Maud Lily
Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Sucksby
Rupert Evans as Richard ‘Gentleman’ Rivers
Charles Dance as Uncle Lilly

Sue Trinder is a Fingersmith (British slang for thief) who lives at Lant street in London with Mrs. Sucksby, a woman who looks after unwanted babies and orphans.

Maud Lily is raised by the nurses in the mental asylum where her mother died. When she was 11, her uncle brought her to Briar to be his secretary. She has to wear gloves to preserve the surfaces of the books she is working on.

Richard Rivers aka Gentleman has befriended a young lady, Maud who is going to inherit a great fortune when she marries. But Richard’s access to Maud is very limited because of her uncle and hence he wants Sue to be accepted as her new maid. Sue’s task is to gain Maud’s trust and to persuade her to marry him. Richard told Sue that after he married Maud, he’ll have her committed to a mental asylum and he’ll take her fortune.

I like Tipping the Velvet better than this. I still question where her uncle was after she got married. It didn’t tell me that he died, or something. He disappeared without reason. Sarah Waters storyline (always) includes poverty, judging from the previous novel she has written, Tipping the Velvet. If you’ve read or watched it, you’ll know what I meant (if you haven’t watched Tipping the Velvet, I may as well tell the storyline and review it).

Watching these mini-series made me think of the life of a lady in the Victorian time. Were the ladies really being treated like how Sue has treated Maud?

Sue is an orphan, Maud is raised by the nurse at mental asylum where her mother died. They’re actually switched at birth, which also means that Maud’s real name is Sue Trinder and Sue’s name is Maud Lily?!?

What touched me the most is when Mrs. Sucksby confessed to the murder she didn’t commit as she felt guilty for how she has deceived the two girls. While Maud was the one who killed Richard. Maud said she killed him, but they didn’t believe it because she’s a lady. Mrs. Sucksby was the only one who could tell the truth, but she refused.

Wuthering Heights

Who doesn’t know this wonderful written, classic movie/book? Emily Bronte is such a brilliant and legendary writer! I’m not going to review about the story itself, but to compare the 1978 edition of BBC and 2009.

I personally like the 2009 one because, not only Heathcliff (Tom Hardy) looks better, he also fits more into the story, and so does Catherine, who’s played by Charlotte Riley.

And here’s the 1978 one (well hmmm…..expect Mr. Presley’s style here in a 18th century scene):

Ken Hutchinson as Heathcliff and Kay Adshead as Cathy.

I don’t like the 1978 version because I see Mr. Presley’s style in Heathcliff (the beard) mixed The Beatles (hair). Seeing that it’s made in 1978, IMHO, people might have been inspired by current fashion style, but didn’t realize that it’s an 18th century scene.

Now, look at Cathy. Her face doesn’t fit her character because she’s supposed to be a very young lady, but has a face of 35+ yo woman. So when I heard her voice I heard a teenager voice in a body of 35+ yo woman. Plus, this Cathy behaved more stubborn and immature.

One of the scenes I don’t like from this version is when Cathy busted Heathcliff being with Isabella, she busted him in the garden acting weirdly with Isabella (by weirdly I meant they seemed to be making love in a garden).

The 2009 version is more touching, the first scene of seeing lady ghost begging to get in seems more mysterious. Heathcliff also has a mysterious looks. In this version, Cathy didn’t grossly bust him being with Isabella. Cathy also behaved a bit more mature.