"I have the best job in the world, I really do," says Sting on The Ryan Tubridy Show. He was in studio to promote The Last Ship, a new musical about his native Newcastle for which he wrote the music and lyrics, which is travelling to Dublin in 2018.
Sting told Ryan why the story struck him so powerfully.
"I was born and raised in the shadow of a shipyard… The end of my street was often a gigantic tanker which would blot out the sun. I’ve watched thousands of men walk to work every morning. I watched the same men walk back home and I wondered as a kid whether that would be my destiny… I dreamt that I would be a musician, that I would sing songs, write songs and be paid extravagant amounts of money! I had this dream and I must have dreamt it so hard that it actually came to pass, but many years later I looked back on where I was brought up… I said, I really need to give voice to that community."
During the 1980s, the shipyard in Tyneside was closed down as automation took over. Generations of locals were made redundant and the town quickly went downhill. After watching the decline of his hometown, this was one story that Sting felt proud and qualified to tell.
Another part of Sting’s history is the Irish connection:
"I did a show in America where you find your ancestors and they said you have an ancestor called Mary Murphy who died in a poorhouse in County Monaghan, so I visited the place and was shocked and very emotional because the idea that people were punished for being poor as if it was some sort of judgement by God… that really horrified me. One of her sons escaped from the poor house, and he went to the north east of England and I’m related to him."
Sting spent time living in Galway, where he wrote many hits, including Don’t Stand So Close To Me and Invisible Sun. When asked how he looks back at his time with The Police, he says:
"My abiding emotion is gratitude. We achieved a great deal in the 7 years we were together. More than we could ever have imagined. Do I want to live in that world forever? No. I’m not a very nostalgic person. I’m interested in what comes next."
The Last Ship comes to The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, from June 4th-9th 2018. Click here to listen to the programme in full.