Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Broken Music: A Memoir by Sting

I have read this book and have to say it was definitely interesting
I am learning all sorts of stuff I never knew about Sting. For example, he was named Gordon after a grandfather. His maternal grandfather, Ernest, is who Sting's father was named after while his grandmother, an Irish woman named Agnes White, instilled a love of reading.

He has a younger brother named Phil and their father, named Ernest, worked in Swan Hunter's shipyard, working on the giant ships that needed to be repaired or built. He talks about growing up in Newcastle, about trying to figure out why those from Newcastle are called "Geordies". After his father left the shipyard, he went to work as the manager of a dairy. He enlisted his son, then still known as Gordon (it would be years before he would be known by his stage name) to work with him on the delivery routes for the milk. He would have to remember the numbers of the house, how many bottles each house received, if there were any changes and if so, report them back. He describes his mother, Aubrey, as a beautiful but flirtatious woman and also a member of the Church of England parish while his father Ernest is strictly Catholic. He describes an eerie time when he caught his mother having an affair with a new employee at his father's dairy. He described the world changing for him after that.

Not to mention, he seems to have a pretty skeptical view on religion. For example, the first time he went to confession, he said he didn't have anything to confess about. So he made up a lie and confessed for that. Not to mention, he talks about the first time he masturbated. I could have read the whole book without having to know that detail, lol!! That's the last thing I want in my head, of a preteen Sting getting off into his hand, lol! He also describes being embarrassed at the thought of his mom discovering what those suspicious-looking stains on his bedsheets, lol!

He talks about going to his grandmother's house and playing the piano, which instilled a deep love of music, along with going to a music store in Newcastle and getting a guitar along with a book on how to play it along with guitar strings. He thought of playing the guitar as a way of coping with the now high tension household he lived in. As time went on, his parents would fight. On Thursday nights, his mother would say she is going to visit one of the dairy employees, Nancy, at her house, when in reality, she was probably going off to see her new boyfriend.

He got a guitar and started playing music with these two brothers named Pete and Ken Brigham. They both play music as well, Pete playing a bass guitar. One night, Pete is unable to play bass and Gordon (again, he won't be known by his stage name for some time) picks up the bass and finds it is definitely different from a regular guitar in the sense that it has only four strings and is slightly heavier. When he was younger, he had a friend named Tommy Thompson. They were both close until they entered grammar school. There was a very prestigious grammar school in Newcastle called St. Cuthbert's. Sting and his friend Tommy vied for scholarships, with Sting winning one and Tommy not. Tommy was then sent to a secondary modern school, which from the impression I get from reading, is not a very good one. He sadly says that when he was away at college, his father told him that his friend Tommy died from being burned to death. He had set a fire in his fireplace, fell asleep and the house burned down with Tommy in it.

Sting talks about getting caned 42 times for nothing except being in the wrong place at the wrong time, having the wrong look on his face or hanging with the wrong crowd. He describes getting caned as getting cut by a rapier and also describes it as cruel and unusual punishment. Not to mention, he laughingly says that no matter how tough you think you are, you will be shedding tears. He laughs as he says that he and other kids who got the cane tried to work their way around it, such as stuffing books down your pants, wearing extra sets of underwear, etc. but the teacher administering it would check you. He talks about a teacher there helping him understand math and another teacher further instilling in him the love of reading.

He describes going to see Jimi Hendrix for the first time. He talks about going to the Central Station bathroom to change clothes, doing it slowly so as not to drop his clothes on the probably venereal disease-infested floor. After waiting in line to see him at a nightclub, which he would normally have been too young to get in but passes for eighteen due to his height, he says it blew his mind not only because of his guitar playing, but Jimi being the first black man he's ever seen.

His first real girlfriend was a woman named Deborah Anderson. She worked as a secretary for a legal firm in Newcastle. After working short stints as a bus conductor and construction worker after dropping out of a college for a teaching course, he takes a job as a tax officer. This is where he meets said girl named Deborah. He talks about his absolute embarrassment during his job at the construction site. One day, his mother made him small cucumber finger sandwiches that he said "would not look out of place at a vicar's garden party". He was extremely embarrassed by this as those around him were working class and had regular sandwiches and such. He laughingly said "Note to self: I'm packing my own lunch next time". One night, he meets a musician named Gerry and joins his band, called Earthrise, whose singer Megan is Gerry's girlfriend. She and him hit it off, but things fall apart. He says that almost every woman he has dated has ended in heartbreak.

He talks excitedly about appearing on a Miles Davis album, called You're Under Arrest. Miles asked him if he knew French. After replying that he did, he had a near full blown panic attack. Miles said he had five minutes to translate the famous Miranda Rights in French. Panicking, he ran out to the receptionist of the music studio and asked to borrow the phone. After phoning his home in London in an attempt to get ahold of his wife Trudie, who he knew spoke French fluently, his housekeeper told him she was at a restaurant. After asking for the phone number, he called and got a hold of her and asked her to translate the Miranda Rights in French. He ran back and was told to shout them as loud as possible into a microphone. Afterwards, Miles said "You're now on a Miles Davis record!" Seems like an awful lot of trouble for just a few lines in a foreign language.

Also, the band he was in before joining The Police was a band called Last Exit, which was the Ronnie Pearson Trio, which was the Phoenix Jazzmen originally. It was in 1976 during a Last Exit gig where Sting first met Stuart Copeland, who was the drummer for art rock band Curved Air. Sting came to get his iconic moniker after wearing a black and yellow striped sweater during an early gig with the Phoenix Jazzmen. Also, his first wife was a stage actress named Frances Tomelty and with her they had their first child, a son they named Joe in honor of her father. Later on, Frances and Sting would have another child, a daughter they would name Kate. What is ironic is that Sting was 24 when he first became a dad, the exact same age that his father was when Sting was born. After accepting an offer from Stuart to form a new band, they called this new band The Police. Their early stuff was punk, thrash metal-type stuff, certainly not the new wave-pop rock stuff they would be known for later. Later on, Sting would marry actress Trudie Styler and would have two kids, a daughter named Mickey and a son named Jake. He and soon to be wife Trudie would marry later on and three years later would bear the the terrible burden of losing both his parents to cancer and not going to the funerals. He said that he didn't want the funerals of his parents to become a media circus if some paparazzi caught the famous Police front man attending a funeral

Appearing in the magazine Harper's Bazaar. Man, he's still pretty ripped for his age, lol!!

He and current wife Trudie Styler

The band he became famous with: The Police

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