He has sold records by the dozen in a career spanning four decades, but today rock star Sting announced he would be quitting the music business for good. In a well choreographed interview with an acne infested MTV presenter, Sting explained the reasons behind his shock decision:
"I wanted to go out at the very top. Soon after I received an MBE from the Queen, I started to think to myself….well where do I go from here?" In a conclusion that the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir George Michael might contest, Sting continued: "Receiving an MBE from the Queen is the highest honour anyone can get, and so it seems the perfect time to retire from the music business."
The award of the MBE was clearly a humbling experience for the former teacher and Inland Revenue inspector. Shortly after receiving his gong, Sting said: ""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. I'd be surprised if she (the Queen) knows my music. I know Charles listens to it - but there's always hope."
Those miserable few who may have wished that Sting would retreat completely from public life are certain to be disappointed however. He will instead devote himself full time to his charity work with car manufacturer Jaguar. In the last 3 years, Sting has been promoting the cause of the rare Jaguar S Type. It is clearly a role he has enjoyed:
"In 3 years, there has been a 28% increase in the number of S Types seen worldwide, which is phenomenal. Given that success rate, when Jaguar asked me to join them full time, I could not turn them down."
Although Sting was quick to point out that he would only be receiving a nominal fee from Jaguar ("certainly less than 7 figures"), the move is unlikely to be welcomed by his former friends in the environmental movement, who have long seen car emissions as the main cause of air pollution. Yet the now ex-singer was unrepentant:
"I served my time amongst the environmentalists, conservationists, crusties and bums. And I was great. But at the end of the day, it comes back to Yin and Yang, which as we all know are dependent opposites that must always be in balance. When I became involved in the environmental movement, environmental degradation was occurring much faster than environmental conservation. I helped to redress that balance, but because I was so successful, it got to a point where conservation outstripped degradation. To put it abruptly, Yin was shafting Yang, but now Yang is shafting Yin. Hopefully with Jaguar, I can help to even things up again."
One cannot help but admire Sting's bravery in making this move as he approaches the 60th anniversary of his birth. We may have lost him as a singer, but you get the impression that his future work will also be accepted in the world, just like his music.
5 facts about Sting you may not know:
1. Sting's real name is Gordon Sumner.
2. An anagram of Sting Gordon Sumner is "Grunted Minor Songs".
3. Sting had corrective surgery on a speech impediment when aged 9.
4. This impediment gave the young Gordon his nickname. When asked what he wanted to be when he was older, he replied "I want to be a stinger" (meaning "singer").
5. Sting has sold more records worldwide than Lulu.