(Emily Brennan’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/14; via Pam Green.)

Sting was breaking a promise he had made to himself.

Back in the ’70s, when he was earning his wages performing nightly for passengers aboard the S.S. Oriana, he swore he would never set foot on another ship. That is, he said, “until I owned the thing.”

Yet there he was on the Queen Mary 2, docked that bright October afternoon in New York Harbor. It seemed the boy in him, who grew up in the industrial northeast England town Wallsend — “in the shadow of a shipyard,” as he put it — couldn’t pass up the chance to perform on the world’s largest ocean liner.

“It’s not every day you’re invited aboard the Queen Mary 2,” he said. That such an invitation could still flatter a man who, at this point, might very well be able to purchase the vessel is a testament to just how large ships loomed in his childhood. Shipbuilding, in all its grit and glory, is the stuff of the new Broadway musical, “The Last Ship,” for which Sting wrote the music and lyrics.


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