Sure, I could point to almost any other Prince album before it and a few after it as being “better” – but the sentimental favourite will always be Prince’s soundtrack to Batman; not the actual score and basically the soundtrack to the movie of Batman that was playing in Prince’s head. Prince the star. Of course. It’s actually one of his best albums-as-snapshot. It’s concise, it’s song-based, it showcases pop, funk, ballads – there’s just enough indulgence and weirdness to remind you it’s Prince and not just somebody trying to be Prince. And more than just about any other record in my collection this one anchors me to a time and place. I remember going to see the film for a second time, in Napier. My parents picked me up afterwards. Me and a friend. Not quite teenagers. We made them put the Prince soundtrack tape in the car for the drive back. Bungy-jumping had just made it to Hawke’s Bay so we had to take a detour. I remember the car stereo was pumping Electric Chair. And we made it to the car-park of Countdown where, for $25, you could bungy-jump from a crane over the shingle car-park. No scenery – but there was a double air-bed mattress ready to save any Partymen and/or Partywomen. We watched one Partywoman rip her black t-shirt off and go down in her off-white bra. She looked as filthy as her bra (the perpetual reason for its off-white-ness). She poked her tongue out and shrieked. She made the sign of the horns with her hands. Her hair: the stuff you hate to have to fish out of a communal plug-hole. She is framed for all time, in a slow-motion fug of her own cigarette smoke. The car stereo playing The Arms of Orion. She was in that instant beautiful. Worth thinking about the next time we shuffled the deck of Batman bubblegum cards. The heat rising up off the tarmac and bubbling away at the corners of the photograph in my mind. Hawke’s Bay you rotten egg. You beautiful, mad, bad thing.