Stand Not Upon The Order Of Your Going
Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated.
–Paul Valéry quoted in Walter Benjamin’s essay The Storyteller
When is it acceptable, even desirable, to go by a single name? When your name is Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus, Buddha, Plato, Homer, Nefertiti, Nebuchanezzar, Nero or Caligula, that’s when.
When is it unacceptable? When your name is Sting. There are lesser offenders, to be sure. Prince, who I’m prepared to excuse because he’s monsterously talented. Madonna gets a pass, too–as a nice Catholic girl, she was just seeking to shock and be (nauseating word alert!) transgressive. The risible Bidisha can be dismissed as an shrill, attention–seeking, heterosexual-hating pinhead.
The Edge AKA David Evans, U2 guitar fondler and beanie-wearer (what’s that all about?) is unutterably silly but not offensive. I mean, that indefinite article tips wanky pomposity over into the frankly hilarious. The Edge? Really? Like The Sphinx, The Eiffel Tower and The Bible? Wow. And how did Mr. Evans come by this name?
Bono made reference to the name in the commentary track of the movie The Million Dollar Hotel, saying that The Edge tends to stand close to the edges of buildings because of his comfort with heights. During an interview with Channel 4’s weekend television programme T4, he (Señor Edge) was asked how he got his nickname and replied “it’s the nose,” referring to both his nose and angular facial features.—wiki
Take your pick, I guess.
However, the toe of my boot itches to connect with the buttocks of Gordon Sumner AKA Sting.
Sting has stated that he gained his nickname while with the Phoenix Jazzmen. He once performed wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes that bandleader Gordon Solomon had noted made him look like a bumblebee; thus Sumner became “Sting”.—wiki
Sure. That sounds plausible:
…the resemblance is uncanny, don’t you think?
This tale is laughably thin. If you wear a stripey-jumper once, you’re unlikely to provoke much comment, let alone be given a nickname. Keep wearing it and your friends are likely to remark on it. Have you lost all your clothes in a fire? Has your washing machine broken? Are you doing it for a bet? They may well give you a nickname but you may be tolerably certain it won’t be Sting…
Everything about this revolting man is calculated for effect. Whether it’s telling the world about his matrimonial Tantric sex, whatever the fuck that is or lecturing the rest of us about the environment.
Up until the early 90’s, I barely noticed the man. His music–anodyne pop warbles and faux jazz–threw me into a state of lacquered composure and slowed my heart-rate to that of a hibernating toad. Various girlfriends thought he was wonderful but their taste and discrimination were obviously deeply suspect. They were going out with me, after all.
What really brought him to my notice was a brief and highly-publicised jaunt to Brazil that Sting undertook to call attention to the destruction of the rain–forests. He acquired a new best–friend, a native Amazonian who had inserted a CD of Sting’s Greatest Hits into his lower lip in honour of the occasion. For a couple of months, he and Sting were inseparable.
The right-on duo jetted around the world castigating all and sundry on their profligate ways. This is what gave my hackles an intensive work-out.
Now, I’m perfectly prepared to be told–off for careless consumption by an Amazonian native who lives in a grass hut and feeds on the products of the forest. What I’m not prepared to accept is being lectured by a pop–twerp who has single–handedly done more damage to the environment than me and 10 million like me.
Evidently, Sting thought his albums were manafactured by elves out of spider cobwebs and flown to various Virgin Megastores by flocks of trained geese. His massive world tours, he appeared to believe, were solar–powered by sunbeams extracted from cucumbers.
But what really high-lighted the divide between Sting’s pious maunderings and the reality of Sting was a concert he gave at Ephesus in Turkey. Ephesus, whose people the Apostle Paul addressed his Epistle to, where the great shrine to the goddess Artemis was and where the largest and best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world is.
It’s this last that drew the malign eye of Sting. In 1993 he put on a concert in the amphitheatre. In one night, environmental hero Sting managed to do what 2000 years of weather and earthquakes had not. He caused so much damage to the fabric that the Turkish authorities were forced to close the site for 3 years.
I can forgive him his banal music, his need to share the most intimate details of his marriage with us, his rank hypocrisy, his stupid self-chosen name and even his butchery of John Dowland. But I can’t forgive him for damaging one of the great monuments of antiquity.
I’m tempted to say “O Sting, where is thy death?” but I don’t want to kill him. I’d just like to kick the silly bastard very, very hard a great many times.