Only a few weeks ago, I rationalised the spate of deaths we’ve experienced this year amongst the famous, the talented and the iconic as being only to be expected, given that those who made their way to the forefront of our lives in the Sixties and Seventies are moving on to the ages at which men and women naturally expire.
But with Victoria Wood, aged only 62, and today Prince, a mere 57, there’s no such rationale. These were two from whom we quite reasonably would have expected more: more life, more art, more laughter, more music.
They haven’t even released the cause of death for Prince as I write, though he spent two days in hospital last week, with influenza. But he was only 57. He didn’t establish himself until the Eighties. This year’s voraciousness for those who do so much to make lives worth living is starting to look a little uncanny, as if there is something motive or intention behind it.
Of course that’s not true. It’s all coincidence, that so many people are dying within so short a space of time. But the speed at which new new loss is coming leaves us breathless and despairing, at the way that so much good is going out of the world.
For those of us who are older, it’s a reminder of our own mortality: Prince was younger than me. Not that I am thinking that way just now. It’s more that these are people that we know, that have secured our lives for many years, who have built for us a world in which we find comfort. They are friends even if only on the furthest, remotest basis. And we don’t see their like, or anyone of remotely their stature appearing to fill the ever-increasing gaps.
Another one. Another one. We are not yet at the end of April, not a third of the way through a year that seems hungry for more. Who else are we going to be mourning before December 31?