Friday, October 10, 2003

THE STING AND QUEEN: Somebody seems to think he's a bit of an institution, judging by Sting's words as he accepted a CBE::

"I didn't ever imagine that when I set off from Newcastle with a guitar and a bag of songs that I would end up here at Buckingham Palace. It's a landmark for me - an acceptance of my work in the world, because I do feel I represent Great Britain in the world.

Oh, god, no wonder so many countries hate us, then - I'd always thought we could work through being the place that crushed a third of the globe into its empire, our image as place of warm beer, bad food and bald, tattooed men smashing things; I even thought in time we could rise above being a nation where Ian Duncan Smith can perform a risible conference speech stood on the end of a catwalk, looking for all the world like there's been a terrible slip-up and the Over 60's Cabaret night has somehow booked a toothpaste salesman instead of a Neil Diamond tribute act, and people still talk about the vague possibility he might end up running the country with a straight face. But if the country is represented overseas by the pompous, self-referring, jazz-as-a-punishment of Sting, we might as well ring up Belguim and ask if they want to buy us up as a job lot. Hang on, Sting hasn't finished:

"I'd be surprised if she (the Queen) knows my music," he said. "I know Charles listens to it - but there's always hope."

We're republicans round our way, but even we'd draw the line at forcing the poor old girl to sit through any of Sting's solo work. And what makes Sting so sure that Charles listens to it? There's thousands of other plausible explanations for why the Prince of Wales always looks like he's passing a kidney stone, it doesn't have to be that he's just had Sacred Love on in the car.

Sting's still going on: "I'm a little bemused and excited. I was quite nervous. I've never met the Queen before. It's a little bit like a dream."

Yeah, we bet the Queen kept going "Is this really happening?", too.

Sting recalled his childhood on Tyneside where his father was a milkman, saying: "My father worked every day, except Christmas Day, until he died and gave me a sense of hard work. I still have that work ethic.

How does one actually give someone a "sense of hard work", exactly? And does Sting really suggest that his life is any way comparable with that of a chap lugging crates 364 days a year? After all, if you strip out the many 'Best of The Police' releases, we make it he's released five albums in the last decade - a production rate of, at a rough average, six seconds of music every day. And he doesn't have to go round to collect the money every Friday evening.

We lived in one of the streets that led down to the shipyard at Wallsend and I saw the Queen Mother once when I was very little and was convinced she smiled at me."

Erm... weren't you a punk, young Sting?


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