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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 June, 2005, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Sting in the tale of family story
Clare Gabriel
BBC News website

Sting, photo courtesy Justin Williams
The singer said he was nervous about discussing his private life
Sting says he would be education secretary if his activist friend Bob Geldof were to become prime minister.

He jokingly told the Hay Festival about his desire to serve under the fellow singer turned anti-poverty campaigner.

But the former English teacher was serious in his message about the importance of the profession.

He said he would ensure teachers were paid the same money as professional footballers.

The singer, on his first visit to the mid Wales literary event, admitted he was "a bit nervous" as he talked about his new book, Broken Music, to the word-loving crowd.

I have always benefited form taking a risk - talking to people in public about my private life is a risk
Sting

His "normal milieu" was playing to thousands at a rock concert. His book has already sold 500,000 copies worldwide.

It tells the story of his early life with his parents, who sadly died in their 50s, and his brother and two sisters back on Tyneside, and becoming mega-famous with Police. In fact, it finishes the moment he becomes famous.

"I don't think celebrity is that interesting a subject," said the father-of-six, who is now in his mid 50s. "I wanted to write about people who I was at school with - the people with jobs and mortgages, not celebrities."

Bob Geldof, photo courtesy Justin Williams
His friend, Bob Geldof, called to ask him to take part in Live 8

He said he also wanted to erase the impression that he was born with "a silver spoon in my mouth," saying the book adds "landscapes" which help his fans understand his songs better.

Part of the motivation for the book, he said, was to explain the risk-taking which had been a theme of his life.

Sting, who has just finished a US music and book-promoting tour, said: "I look upon life as being an adventure and saying 'yes' to it.

"I have always benefited frpm taking a risk. Talking to people in public about my private life is a risk. It's nerve-wracking it's not my normal milieu".

The performer also described going to a Newcastle club to see Jimmy Hendrix, at 14 - the moment that he set him on his hugely successful musical career.

African poverty

"It was like seeing a force of nature, like an earthquake. I saw for the first time that you can be a pop star and be a virtuoso musician. My ambition was to be a musician rather than a pop star."

Sting also spoke of his willingness to take part in next month's Live 8 concerts raising the profile of African poverty, after Bob Geldof rang and asked him a couple of weeks ago.

He admitted that the world could not be transformed "with a song" but expressed his belief in the importance of what they were doing.

"Bob Geldof and myself are taxpayers in the country. We have a platform. When people ask us about our opinions we give them"

"I still feel a responsibility to say what I believe".





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