06.08.05 Listen to Sting at the Guardian Hay Festival...


Sting was one of the guests at the Hay Festival on June 4. In an extremely interesting interview with the Time's music critic David Sinclair, Sting spoke about the experience of writing his book 'Broken Music' and then took questions from the audience. He then undertook a book signing, and later that evening took part in a 'Human Rights Watch' poetry event where he read three poems.

Sting was in a very relaxed mood, and admitted that since the tour had finished he had spent two weeks at home and was already feeling restless not doing anything. He said he hoped to perhaps record his next album using the stripped down line-up of two guitars, bass and drums and had enjoyed the Broken Music experience of taking the shows out to colleges and took special pleasure in talking to students in several of the cities he performed in. Asked if he would serve in his cabinet if Bob Geldof was prime minister, Sting jokingly replied that perhaps he could become 'Minister for Geordies'.

A member of the audience told him they were about to embark on a career as a teacher and asked what advice Sting could give them. Sting told her that teaching was one of the most important professions and that one of his first jobs in Bob Geldof's new government would be "to ensure that all teachers were paid the same as footballers", a response that won him a generous round of applause from the packed audience.

The small town of Hay was a delight in itself, but the literary festival was fascinating and spending a day or two at next year's festival is something everyone should try and do. Authors, journalists, comedians, playrights, barristers, broadcasters and stars were all spotted wandering around the festival site taking in the unique atmosphere. For example, in addition to Sting's talk on Saturday, other events including Trevor Jones (who worked on 'The Mighty') talking about music in the movies and creating character and emotion through its use; Colonel Tim Collins spoke to Rosie Boycott about his experiences in Iraq; Bob Geldof spoke about the Africa Commission and launched his new book; best selling author of the 'Rebus' books Ian Rankin spoke about his latest novel; comedian David Baddiel spoke about his latest, highly personal book; author of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', Louis de Bernieres, led an ensemble of poetry and music; and 'Wild Swans' author Jung Chang launched her new study of Mao Tse Tung.

Read the BBC's report of Sting's talk at the Hay Restival here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/4611427.stm