The Face It Attracts: Prince in London: 3121, Psychogeography, and Urbanism

Mike Wyeld

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review


“The fact it attracts” will consider the ways the life of the City is articulated in the work of Prince from Minneapolis. London is the site of Prince’s flagship retail location, and his epic 21 nights of shows. For many Londoners, Prince is one of their own, an adopted son, and people will tell you stories about the time they bumped into Prince in Camden market, or saw him walking to rehearsals in the Isle of Dogs. He walked London streets, and people who know that forever remember it, the way Charlie Chaplin, Chaucer and Shakespeare walked the same streets.

“The multi–cultural city, London especially, is being spatially and socially reconfigured...” – Stuart Hall, in Divided City: The Crisis of London.

“We don’t intend to prolong the mechanistic civilizations and frigid architecture that ultimately lead to boring leisure. We propose to invent new, changeable decors.” - Ivan Vladimirovitch Chtcheglov, from Formulary for a New Urbanism.

Thinking about the work of Stuart Hall we will interrogate Prince’s time in London from three trajectories;
- the Planet Earth Tour (locally known as the “3121 shows”) - concerts in which Prince spent 21 nights owning the city in 1997;
- the opening of The New Power Generation shop in Camden, London, in 1994, which coincided with his declaration of independence; and
- April 2016, when fans mourned Prince’s loss. On that day in London, the skies opened, it thundered and it snowed in April. Using animation, video, documentary evidence, conjecture and conspiracy, we will argue that Prince, while a global citizen, brought with him a delicious joy and distraction that marked and changed the landscape. If any American of the last 40 years deserved a place in London history, it is Prince. And the plaque will read “Born in Minneapolis”.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018
EventPrince from MPLS: A Symposium at the University of Minnesota - University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 16 Apr 201818 Apr 2018


ConferencePrince from MPLS
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Prince
  • music
  • Sound Design
  • cultural studies
  • psychogeography


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