Podcast: Welcome to the New Story – Jane Clare Jones Reports Back from the Salford Purple Reign Conference

It’s been a long gestation period, but at last, the d / m / s / r podcast has returned with our “roving reporter,” philosopher and budding Princeologist Jane Clare Jones. She’s here to talk about the University of Salford’s interdisciplinary conference on Prince, which she attended back in May, but we also (of course) cover a lot of other territory: including the connections between Prince’s much-discussed messianism and his much-less-discussed radical political consciousness. If you’re interested in hearing what’s going on in the rapidly-growing field of Prince scholarship, this will be an interesting listen.

And, as the man himself was wont to say, it ain’t over: having missed the opportunity to attend the Salford Purple Reign conference, I’m now bringing the conference to me (and you!). For the next several weeks, I’ll be lining up more conversations with attendees of the conference, to discuss their work and their ideas about Prince. If you presented at Salford and are interested in recording a podcast, hit me up! I’d love to hear from as many of you as I can. The conference may have happened two months ago, but from the looks of things, scholarly interest in Prince has just begun. Let’s keep it going!

00:00:00   “Uptown” (Live at Carolina Coliseum, 1981)

00:01:05   The First Four Episodes of the Podcast

00:01:25   Purple Reign – An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince

00:07:19   Accept No Substitutes: “Controversy” (Live at the Capitol Theatre, New Jersey, 1982)

00:08:16   Photos from the Purple Reign Conference

00:08:36   The Famous Herb Ritts Photo


00:19:01   “The Ride” (Live at Paisley Park, 1995; from Crystal Ball)

00:20:01   Robinson and Moffit’s Prince Protest Mixtape

00:24:20   Prince Reflects on Racialization in His 1985 MTV Interview

00:26:47   “Don’t Make Me Black”: Zach’s Post on “I’m Yours

00:29:02   “When Will We B Paid?” (Live at Indigo at the 02, London, 2007)

00:29:49   In the Break by Fred Moten

00:33:53   Raven-Symonè: “I’m not an African-American

00:36:02   “We Can Fuck” (1983 Recording, from Purple Rain – Deluxe Edition)

00:37:34   “Black Muse” (Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2016)

00:42:40   “Colonized Mind” (Live in Manchester, 2014)

00:43:03   Jane’s Presentation, “‘Electric Man’: On the Ecstasy of Prince Rogers Nelson

00:45:32   Jane’s Essay

00:52:21   The Rupert Till Essay That Made Jane Want to Tear Her Hair Out

00:53:56   “Act of God” (Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2016)

00:56:13   “Empty Room” (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival, 2009)

01:02:08   “Joy in Repetition” (from One Nite Alone… Live!, 2002)

01:06:48   “Pop Life” (Live in Stockholm, 1986)

01:10:54   “Welcome to the New Story” (Paramount Theatre, Oakland, 2016)

01:13:24   Jeremy Corbyn and Naomi Klein

01:15:00   Nik Cohn on Prince, 2006

01:15:12   “I Would Die 4 U” (Live at the Paramount Theatre, 2016)

01:19:08   Prince from Minneapolis: A Symposium at the University of Minnesota

01:19:50   Read Zach (and Others) in the Journal of African American Studies Special Prince Issue This Fall

01:26:23   “Free Urself” (Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2016)

4 replies on “Podcast: Welcome to the New Story – Jane Clare Jones Reports Back from the Salford Purple Reign Conference”

Thank you to you both for this. Comments seem to be proceeding on your FB page. Zach you have got us all locked into that …. Good to hear that other people involved in the conference will be making their contribution. I particularly love the music/photo/interview links that you give alongside the main article.

Interesting I never hear much about how epilepsy influenced Prince’s life, creativity, and death, maybe because it is often hidden, given the stigma previously associated with it and in connection with certain religious thought. Benzodiazepines are used as anitconvulsants and have mood altering properties. Anticonvulsants can also cause nystagmus (involuntary eye movements). Dealing with certain physical conditions can overwhelm everything else. Peace and love.

Mm? Zach it seems to me that he did come out the other end in triumph after the ’90s battles, or any other ‘battle’ he ensued. It seems that no matter what he did or said morally and philosophically, whether it was popular or unpopular, understood or not, he kept being raised to another level. He got his respect back, he said it himself. I can’t think of anyone else who was so controversial and yet continued to gain the love and respect that he did, and it’s continuing even after his death. There are conferences about him and his work for goodness sake! Who does that?
Thank you so much for these podcasts! It’s as though I finally have someone to talk to about all of this Prince obsession!

Yeah, I think I may have come off harsher/more dismissive than I intended in the heat of the moment. I guess what I was trying to say is, yes, Prince clearly won the battle with Warner: he got out of his contract and was able to set the course of his own career for the rest of his life. What I don’t think he succeeded in was the deeper ideological struggle behind the battle: you look at most critical analyses of that era and people are still bewildered by the name change and sympathetic to Warner’s position. That’s what I meant by the war of attrition: he won, but only because he survived long enough, not because he won hearts and minds over to his cause.

That being said, most people writing about Prince (or at least being published writing about Prince) are white, and white people historically have not understood the name change/”Slave” thing; I suspect that a book by a Black writer would be more likely to “get it.” I also think there’s still time for the label battles to be reclaimed and reevaluated by the larger culture: we’re living in a much more anti-major label, anti-ownership world now than we were in the 1990s, and Prince can be seen as a forebear to successful independent artists like Chance the Rapper. Basically, I keep thinking about what Jane said about how his message seems to have proliferated, in true messianic form, after his death, and my mind keeps getting blown anew.

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