A Sting in London

Please bear with me as I set the stage for this blog.


In the early 1980’s, I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar at night whilst studying marketing and business administration during the day.  The venue was called Richards on Richards and was arguably the hottest nightclub in Vancouver.


The five gentlemen who created ‘Dicks’ were a seasoned nightclub entrepreneur, two Italian restauranteurs and two music promoters.  The most famous talent under their wing was a local Vancouverite, Bryan Adams.  A musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and photographer, he is estimated to have sold between 75 and 100 million records and singles worldwide, placing him on the list of best-selling artists.  With these five entrepreneurs came a following of clientele that was sure to make Richard’s a success.


Thankfully for me, with the large crowds I earned plenty of tips enabling me to go to school without having to live with my challenging mother.  And unexpectedly, my work experience brought one surprise after another which resulted in FUN, FUN, FUN.  Working there was an experience like no other and the staff became a close-knit, family of sorts.  Some of us are still in touch to this day.


Some of the best surprises were the famous people who walked in the door.  They could be from any sports team who had a game to any musician in concert to any actor who was filming a movie in Vancouver.  Just to namedrop a smattering:  Tina Turner, Tom Selleck, Rob Lowe, Wayne Gretzky, the Vancouver Canucks, Timothy Hutton, Michael J. Fox, Bjorn Borg, Jean Claude Van Dam (who got so drunk he had to be escorted out the door after her proceeded to lick my face, begging for a kiss, when I was delivering drinks), Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Men at Work, and a former US President’s son along with his secret service entourage.


One night The Police were in Vancouver giving a concert.  I was a fan and desperately wanted to go but I had to work.  I just happened to mention my desire to go to a limousine driver who frequented Dick’s because his clientele often went there.  He told me he would be driving The Police around that weekend, including driving them to and from their concert   I exclaimed how lucky he was.


Late Saturday, the night of their concert, the driver came through the door and over to me.  He handed me the Police’s concert Program and turned it to a page.  There on the page was the autographs of Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland, and Sting.  Sting was the only one who mentioned my name. His words, “To Pam, Sting’. Young and impressionable I appreciated the effort of his writing my name.


The gesture meant so much to me that I have schlepped that Program around with me through moves to four different countries.


Last December while in London, my husband and I attended the musical, A Christmas Carol, at the Old Vic Theatre.  Their version of Scrooge was superlative.    I highly recommend you go.   The stage was in the round, and the theatre even gave away free mincemeat pies.  My favorite Christmas movie is the original, black and white version of Scrooge.  Released in 1951 Scrooge starred Alastair Sim, who he is arguably the finest Ebenezer Scrooge that has graced the streets of good ole’ London town.  The Old Vic’s version was reminiscent of the 1951 movie and catered to my sentimentality.


Dare I say, just go to London at Christmas!  See the lights and the displays of the shops, Hyde Park’s Wonderland or listen to the carols at Royal Albert Hall.   If you’re there on Christmas Day the choir at St. Paul’s Cathedral sing so heavenly it is reminiscent of a band of angels.This past Christmas whilst watching Scrooge during intermission we opted for a glass of champagne to celebrate the season.  When we were seated at our table, being a people watcher, my eyes panned the room only to realize that seated next to us was Sting, his wife, and a large fellow that I can only think may have been a bodyguard.


 I whispered to my husband, “I think that’s Sting sitting next to us”.


They were sat at a table tucked away beside a large pillar so wouldn’t have been able to be seen by most.  The large fellow obstructed the view from the other way.  I, however, couldn’t miss Sting because his chair was even with mine with a clear view.  I stole a look again and then for a third time.


“That’s definitely Sting”.


When my husband got up to go to the restroom, he had to ask the larger gentlemen to scooch over to make room for him to get by.  With the kafuffle of chairs, I took the opportunity and said to Sting, “I would like to tell you a story”.


Then I proceeded to tell him about the Program he kindly autographed for me back all those years ago.  He smiled and said of The Police, “I am the nicer one”.  A little sarcastic Geordie humor I should think as it was something my father would have said.  I thanked him, smiled at his wife, and then noticed Mr. Large scowling at me.  I shot him a smile anyway and got up to join my husband as the second half of the show was about to start.  Although self-imposed, meeting Sting was another glorious surprise.


When The Police broke up, I became a Sting fan.  I saw him and Annie Lennox in concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in 2004 when I lived in San Francisco and in Verona’s ancient Amphitheatre, the Arena Verona in 2018 when he played with Shaggy.   His voice is mellifluous and his presence charismatic despite his unexpected slight size.


I say people, it was only right and proper that I should meet the man.


I love a delightful surprise, always have, always will.  According to neurosciencenews.com, surprises trigger a release of noradrenaline (or norepinephrine) which is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone.  Listening to music or doing something that that makes us feel happy will increase its level in our brains.  It is made from dopamine which is a feel-good hormone and gives us a sense of pleasure.


So go on, surprise someone you care about and lift their spirits.  Better yet, surprise yourself by reaching that goal you’ve been dreaming about.


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