Back in 2006, Sting liked Daniel Pinchbeck’s book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl so, well, he gave it a blurb. I’ve never read it, but I’ll take Sting’s word that the book’s conclusions are “optimistic”. The title alone cheers me up. Unemployed? No sweat! This loving god is coming back to solve your problems:
This year, Sting appears in Pinchbeck’s documentary 2012: Time for Change. In case you haven’t heard the good news, 2012 is the end of a cycle in the Mayan calendar, which means that we are seriously fucked, except that it’s really one last opportunity for humanity to clean up its act and get down with nature, so you should be hopeful, unless humanity blows it, because then we’re fucked. In the intro to the documentary, Pinchbeck asks: “Can we evolve our consciousness to reconnect with the natural world?” It’s an ugly, cumbersome sentence, but since Pinchbeck’s editor, Mitch Horowitz, uses the made-up word “apocalysm” in the movie’s first scene, gemlike prose may be too much to expect from the prophet’s pen. However, I’m all for “evolving our consciousness” if it means getting fucked up in South America.
Like Pinchbeck and other rich New Agers (are there poor ones?), Sting likes to hang with the natives in Brazil, groove to their fresh folk sounds, chug some ayahuasca from a gourd and trip balls in the rainforest. After he communes with the masters of the universe in sacred psychedelic visions, he comes back to share their healing wisdom with us. But what do Sting and the ancient gods talk about?
“STING, I AM THE PRIMORDIAL WISDOM TEACHER OF HUMANITY,” the god says, its voice causing Sting’s entire body to resonate like a plucked .105-gauge string. A flock of macaws flies screaming from the palms.
“Yes, master,” he responds, weakly.
“I SEE THAT YOU’RE STILL USING THE ’57 FENDER PRECISION, WITH NO PICKGUARD, AND THE DR BRAND NICKEL-PLATED STRINGS. GREAT SOUND. FUNKY, PUNCHY, BUT YOU STILL GET THAT SIGNATURE FENDER TWANG.”
“Thank you, wise lord.”
“SPEAKING OF WHICH, I’M HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH MY EFFECTS CHAIN. TELL ME, WOULD YOU PUT THE CHORUS BEFORE OR AFTER THE DISTORTION?”
“I don’t use distortion myself because it muddies the tone, but I would say after.”
“GREAT. THANKS, CHIEF. SO, HOW IS IT HANGING? LONG AND STRONG? WE WERE DISAPPOINTED TO READ IN THE TELEGRAPH THAT YOU ARE NOT REALLY CAPABLE OF HAVING TANTRIC SEX WITH TRUDIE FOR HOURS AND HOURS.”
“No, I was out drinking with Bob Geldof and a writer—”
“SILENCE! I READ THE ARTICLE. WELL, I’LL GET TO THE POINT. AS YOU KNOW, 2012 IS A BIG YEAR FOR US. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED?”
Sting trembles, clears his throat: “I’m mounting an ambitious tour that will address urgent ecological issues. The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the glaciers melting, the need for sustainable farming, the loss of wetlands. It’s going to be called the ‘2012: Act Now!’ tour.”
“DON’T YOU THINK ‘BACK TO BASS’ WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE? HIT THE ROAD WITH A SMALL COMBO, NO KEYBOARDS, REAL ROOTSY. GET BACK TO PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENT IN A LIVE ROCK CONTEXT FOLLOWING THE PERCEIVED MUSICAL EXCESS OF THE ‘SYMPHONICITY’ TOUR. ECOLOGY DOESN’T PUT ASSES IN THE SEATS. NO, COME OUT SWINGING, HIT THEM WITH THE ONE-TWO PUNCH OF ‘ALL THIS TIME’ FOLLOWED BY ‘EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC’. THEN YOU CAN DO YOUR FAKE-ASS JAZZ FOR AN HOUR OR SO AND GO BACK TO THE HOTEL.”
“If that is your will, wise lord.” He hesitates. “But the future of humanity—”
“STING, THE CENTURIES HAVE NOT DIMINISHED OUR THIRST FOR HUMAN BLOOD! THE ‘BACK TO BASS’ TOUR IT SHALL BE!”
“Yes, wise lord.”
“WHILE I’VE GOT YOU HERE, WHAT IS THIS WEAK CARTOMANCY BULLSHIT YOU’RE PUTTING OUT THERE WITH ‘THE SHAPE OF MY HEART’? WE HEAR THAT SONG AT THE OFFICE FOUR OR FIVE TIMES A DAY, AND IT GETS ME THINKING. IF YOU’RE GOING TO PUT AN OCCULT THEME IN YOUR LYRICS, FORTUNE TELLING WITH PLAYING CARDS IS FOR CHILDREN. WHY NOT, SAY, HUMAN SACRIFICE? ‘THE SHAPE OF MY HEART IS THE SHAPE OF GOD’S LUNCH’, SOMETHING LIKE THAT? JUST AN IDEA.”
Sting and Josh Groban with Boston Pops, “The Shape of My Heart”:
Previously: Wasted Life - Your Body Is a Wonderland