Sting and the Gravitational Pull of Newcastle


Really looking forward to doing a talk at Newcastle University this Wednesday on my forthcoming book on Sting. The lecture is actually taking place in the very place where Sting started his career playing with Last Exit all those years ago – so it is a place of real significance. I have copied the abstract below – feel free to come along if you are in the area. It is in the Armstrong Building – room 2.09. Starts at 4.00.

Born in Wallsend, a mainly working class area of North Tyneside in the early 1950s, Gordon Sumner, aka Sting’s creativity and drive for success were established in the region of his birth, with vestiges of the spaces and places of his upbringing, social conditions and ‘Northern Englishness’ continuing to re emerge in his music long after he left the area. When broadly considering his relationship with Newcastle, it is possible to regard the years 1977 – 1985 in terms of ‘outward momentum, while close to the last 30 years have witnessed an increasing gravitation pull –  during which his interface with the city has become more regular and profound. The process of exploring and sometimes exorcising his background through songs such as ‘All This Time’ (The Soul Cages, 1991) and ‘We Work the Black Seam’ (Dream of the Blue Turtles, 1985) has cumulated in his most recent album The Last Ship (2013), an album replete with local dialect and real and imagined characters based from his past: resulting in a vivid visual portrait of the time, places and spaces of his upbringing – through the lens of his imagination and memory. This paper will provide a very brief snapshot of my forthcoming monograph on Sting, published later this year. I will touch upon some of the themes highlighted in the book, by outlining Sting’s often problematic love/hate relationship with his hometown since forming The Police in 1977, with a particular focus on an analysis of the song ‘Dead Man’s Boots’, from The Last Ship (2013). I will also use the opportunity to show some of the images I have collected during the research. The book is due to be published later this year.

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
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