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Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies Hardcover – September 29, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061791490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061791499
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,443,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known as the drummer for the rock power trio, the Police, Copeland has developed a successful career composing for film and stage, post-Police, as well as a deep passion for polo. Given such a pedigree, his autobiography might be read as that of a seriously rarefied man—a rock star, composer and English country gent. Yet Copeland's natural humility and sincerity encourage a most intimate, even familiar read. However, his memoir emerges as a series of extended but sometimes haphazardly arranged reminiscences, which occasionally distort his personal chronology. During such disjunctures, Copeland's otherwise smart and easygoing prose morphs into a rather laborious, even confusing read. But the work is worth it. Copeland's confessions from the 2007–2008 reunion tour of the Police, which make up the more engaging second half of the book, form a seamless and irresistible narrative. The ego-driven tempests that have articulated the life and times of the Police are laid out by Copeland in a fresh and honest way, not without self-implication either. More than anything else, however, Copeland makes readers feel as if they were on stage with him, Sting and Andy Summers, sharing with us the thrill of performing with one of the great bands of all time. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Copeland’s confessions from the 2007–2008 reunion tour of the Police form a seamless and irresistible narrative...Readers feel as if they were on stage with him, Sting and Andy Summers, sharing with us the thrill of performing with one of the great bands of all time.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[Copeland’s] multifaceted and generous embracing of many kinds of experiences give this book an especially rich texture. He has an entertaining style and a flair for the witty and well-timed anecdote.” (Library Journal)

“The well-written and funny memoir is an entertaining journey through the strange rhythms, adventures, ritual, and mojo after the breakup of [The Police]...This is the stuff that makes rock-n-roll memoir.” (Sacramento Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

If you're a pretty big fan of the Police, it's certainly worth a read.
M. Richter
The grand finale is a somewhat skeletal inside look at the 2007 Police reunion tour, though you won't get much in the way of entertaining dissing of Sting anywhere.
Bradley F. Smith
Stick with his narration, you do eventually get there and it's very entertaining and enlightening.
William A Kallay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Waterston VINE VOICE on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stewart Copeland's first foray into publishing, "Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies," is in itself wonderful and strange. In addition to his storied career as drummer for 1980s juggernaut The Police, Copeland has a slew of other abilities: film composer, videographer, musical-instrument-inventor. Luckily for the reader one of Copeland's additional talents is a flair for hilarious, insightful prose. It seems unlikely that a person known for generating a theatrical hail of thunder on stage would generate this, one of the rarest of items in the rock world: a memoir nearly devoid of pretense or self-deception. Yet the book is 300+ pages of exuberant recollection, without the abundance of twisted rationalization so common in the rock genre.

Copeland on music, pg. 18: "I am nothing, no one. Just the beating heart of a larger body, enveloped by the soul of the faithful. A synapse closes in the mind of the enraptured protoshaman. Next morning, when my head clears, it seems obvious that music isn't just a tool or weapon, it's what my life is for. It's powerful juju, and I want to own it as much as it owns me."

Some of the tales here will be familiar to readers of Copeland's official website, on which he's maintained a trove of first person essays for the past couple of years, the felicitously-titled "Dinner Tales." However, only a couple of the chapters are pulled word-for-word from the website - and, as a plus for Copeland-philes of recent vintage, there's an entire new chapter concerning a green-flag project conducted during the 2007-2008 Police tour by the denizens of the website itself.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Pellegrini on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I feel a little bit like pulling a Jedi Mind Trick here to start off this review. Or that perhaps Stewart Copeland has pulled one over on all of us readers, or that he should do before the angry shouts and rampant confusion surely begins.

Police fans looking for, at long last, Stewart's definitive statement on The Police?


"This is not the book you are looking for."

As far as I see it, Stewart made his definitive statement on the early Police years with Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out. If you're expecting much more here, you'll be disappointed, although there are a few brilliant gems of observation that slip through the cracks when and where you least expect it.

Diehard Stewart fans--the self-proclaimed Nutters and Snarks--looking for deep personal insight and a detailed history of Stewart's life and all his various projects?


"This is not the book you are looking for."

Stewart Copeland is not here to divulge all his secrets, nor dish the dirt on his past relationships, musical or personal. If you're looking for either type of information, you'll be highly disappointed (go read band mate Andy Summers' book "One Train Later" instead). What Stewart is here to do is share some stories with us, and most of these stories are quite lighthearted and fun in their nature and tone. They're the kind of stories you'd share at a dinner party to good friends, people who will get all the in-jokes and references you'll be making. It's no wonder that when Stewart first shared some of these stories on his website, it was in a section of the site entitled "Stewart's Dinner Tales".

But if you're looking for a traditional autobiography?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
In STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN, Stewart Copeland summed up his original experience as drummer for one of the greatest bands of all time as follows:

"The Police took up only eight of my fifty-seven years, and those years went by fast. They were big years, and they left a mark, but the really important things happened outside of band life."

That, incidentally, is about as much time as he devotes in his book to the time in which he contributed to making some of the best music ever recorded. People expecting a tell-all book about his time with The Police during their original incarnation are therefore warned that this is not a memior about his time with that band, but the story of Copeland's life with "those eight big years" almost completely omitted.

It is, I have to say, an interesting life. A truncated list of the experiences recounted in this book include growing up in Lebanon as the son of a CIA agent, palling around with the son of notorious British traitor Kim Philby, learning how to play the drums, early life as an amp-hustling roadie, shooting a movie in the Congo, playing polo against the Prince of Wales (you know, Charles), playing gigs with Oysterhead, Phish, the Foo Fighters and Incubus, making soundtracks for films (like "The Outsiders") and television shows (like "The Equalizer"), making solo music with Klark Kent, touring with Curved Air, performing La Notte della Taranta (a dance festival) all over Italy, writing and conducting opera, and making EVERYONE STARES, an award-winning docimentary about his days in the Police, which he shot on 8mm during the lifetime of the band, and later edited into a documentary. In the average month, Mr. Copeland seems to experience more "strange things" than most people would in a 100-year lifetime.
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