i i Sting comes to the SECC and Playhouse this month. Pierre Perrone spoke to him in Paris.

6 The List 10— 23 January

Someone once said. comparing the

life ofa teacher and a rock star. ‘They are both about making a fool ofyourselfin front ofother people‘. In common with other ex-teachers. like Brian Ferry and Mark Knopfler. Sting has taken control of his career and made sure that if he is making a fool ofhimselfhe is making money too. Sting is different.

Certainly he has made millions out of his music. but he has also taken chances. leaving The Police behind him in order to carve out a solo career.

As he told me a while back: ‘The secret. the trick. is to have commercial records which aren‘t the lowest common denomitor.‘ A man after my own heart, for sure. but what of his background? ‘Father. milkman; mother. hairdresser; eldest of four.’ comes the answer. ‘I was brought up next door to the shipyards and at the other end of the town was the coalpit.‘ Our talk moves onto the miners‘ strike. which features largely in ‘We Work the Black Seam‘ on The Dream of the Blue Turtles LP. ‘1 was deeply affected by the coal strike. To jettison communities which are strong and cultural and cohesive and offer them nothing as an alternative

is a crime. Economists should be concerned with people rather than pounds and pence.‘ People matter more than pounds and pence is a line from that song. which also focuses on nuclear power. ‘We‘d all like to believe that nuclear energy is a wonderful godsend. that it costs nothing. but the more we find out

about the nuclear industry. the more

sinister and dangerous it seems. There are too many stories for it to be sheer superstition or scaremongery. And importing uranium when you‘ve got three hundred years supply of coal is irresponsible.‘

I put it to the singer that these days he is a more mature person than when he penned ‘When the world is running down. you make the best of what‘s still around‘ on Zenyatta Mondatta. and that he articulates his personal beliefs a great deal better than on ‘One World (not three)‘ from The Ghost in the Machine. ‘I have four children now and far from making me middle-aged and sentimental. it has made me a lot tougher in the way I view the world and respond to what I see. I‘m thirty-three certainly not a teenager‘. Which leads me on to ‘Russians‘. his current single a_n_d__its