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Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies
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Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  405 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
When Stewart Copeland gets dressed, he has an identity crisis. Should he put on 'leather pants, hostile shirts and pointy shoes?'Or wear something more appropriate to the 'tax-paying, property-owning, investment-holding lotus eater' his success has allowed him to become? This dilemma is at the heart of Copeland's vastly entertaining memoir-in-stories-that-could-be-told-ove ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by It Books (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sep 15, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it
A fun read... Disjointed and self-indulgent, but fun nonetheless.
Shawn Sorensen
May 20, 2010 Shawn Sorensen rated it liked it
A candid, confident autobio from from a guy so much more than the drummer from the Police - someone who's written dozens of film scores, an opera, is a champion on the polo field and has a strange time grasping the finer points of idolatry. You get a humane look at someone intelligent enough in certain ways and not intelligent in certain ways (in Sting's eyes) and how this balance was enough - and necessary - to make some unbelievable music. Lots of great stories, extremely well-worded paragraph ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Robert rated it it was ok
And I am a drummer AND love The Police! This is often not very interesting. Maybe that is copeland's point: That he is just a regular guy now. I felt on the outside looking in during stories of Polo. You are not a regular guy if you have a fleet of ponies. Sorry!

He is truly unafraid to put his arrogance on parade. Imagine he and Sting on stage, both trying to keep their own ego pumped up. Yikes!

I read it so you don't have to.
Dec 13, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
I heard an interview with Steward Copeland (former drummer of The Police) on NPR and was intrigued to pick up his book. Although it was not what I expected, I did find parts of the book interesting, especially the backstage descriptions. Copeland's style of writing is very random, however, and it's more of a collection of disjointed adventure stories.
Jan 07, 2010 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
favorite quotes of this book so far are on page 132...

"Then planet Sumner arrives. Under a hat, scarf, and greatcoat, suddenly Sting is among us."

"Sting doesn't do farewells, he just vaporizes."

LA NOTTE DELLA TARANTA favorite section in this book so far!
Jul 09, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Copeland would have us believe that The Police and his time with that important band had become almost a vague and rarely thought of memory such is the intensity of his life and achievements since however the ghost in the machine presides over all and is only exorcised through an ecstatic and exhausting reunion tour.
Copeland is an effervescent character, born into an unusual family of the world, surrounded by celebrity and infamy, and not wanting for anything, this is no rags to riches story. On
May 14, 2010 Aaronlisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourite-books
This was a great read. I had picked it up because the title grabbed me and I found that it is a rather interesting collection of tales.

Although if you're looking for a book that's about Copeland's experiences with The Police, this probably isn't the book for you. Although he does discuss briefly their career at the start of the book and he does devote a section to the reunion tour that began in 2008, this book is not about The Police.

Strange Things Happen can be classified as an autobiography
Dec 30, 2016 Kerry rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Don't come looking for a history of The Police. This book is so strange (pun intended). It's really just a collection of various odd stories from Copeland's life and it jumps back and forth in time. Most of it is fairly enjoyable. There are hardly any stories about the original The Police years, but then the last third of the book turns into an exhaustive chronicling of the 2007-2008 The Police reunion tour. Such a strange choice! Stewart Copeland is an egomaniac. Sting is a controlling (of his ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Very cool sort of autobiography from Stewart Copeland. Some neat insights into Sting and the Police, drumming, family life, celebrity, his own youth in the Middle East, etc. Here is a quote about being a celebrity: "But living with idolatry is strange, even for those who seek and expect it. You notice that people act oddly in your presence. There is heightened tension. Veins throb in people's foreheads. The tiniest acts fo kindness, wisdom, or wit are rewarded with undue enthusiasm. People apolo ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Oct 26, 2009 Mary (BookHounds) rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Smart, snarky and smug. I never imagined that a drummer could be so intelligent nor could I imagine that one could put together a coherent thought together. (OK, so I have known a lot of drummers in my life and most of them weren't the brightest.) There are some amusing anecdotes in this book but I didn't quite get the movie portion of the book. You could see how creative types can clash when they all think that their way is the best. The best story is when Prince of Wales hit his car at a polo ...more
Dec 05, 2009 Rosemary rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed Copelands juicy deets of the Police then and now... the pygmies and the polo, not so much. However, truth be told, Copeland is a genious and is a very accomplished musician. I If you like(d) the Police, you should have a read. I never knew Stingo was such a complicated character.
Nov 24, 2010 Mike rated it liked it
Entertaining and funny. Favorite quote: "Sting and I actually get along really well, just as long as we're not talking about music." And the fact that he refers to his lead singer in a condescending fashion as "Stingo" was also awesome.
This book was a little bit scatter-brained, a little over-the-top, not that structured, and pretty insightful. A lot like Copeland's drumming. I loved it :). I am a huge Copeland fan, so my love of his drumming may have tainted my opinion of the book.
Entirely entertaining glimpse of his life with and away from The Police (for whom he was the drummer). All sorts of funny anecdotes.
Nelson Pyles
Hilarious and insightful-great stories about The Police, polo and playing drums while lions attack. I wish I'd had this book when I was still a hungry, angry musician.
Feb 01, 2010 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: for-fun
Fast paced collection of biographical anecdotes from the life of Stewart Copeland--he writes like he drums! Highly recommended.
Sep 30, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
Revealing and entertaining, but about as coherent as a fever dream.
Feb 15, 2017 Robyn rated it really liked it
As many others have said the book comes off as pompous and self-indulgent. But what else do you expect from a rock star with a history of such success? It was a fun read, especially when he got to the Police reunion tour (which I thankfully got to attend). It's a very eclectic mix of adventures and, minus the Afterword, I enjoyed it and laughed a lot. Seriously-a LOT.
Cathy Sprankle
Feb 18, 2015 Cathy Sprankle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Stewart Copeland is best known as the drummer for The Police, who ruled the airwaves from the late 70s until they broke up in 1984. That gig allowed Copeland to subsequently do many amazing things like make a movie in Africa, play polo against the Prince of Wales, and write an opera about the Crusades. Those and other adventures are recounted in this breezy memoir. Look elsewhere if you want a detailed history of The Police, and I was also somewhat disappointed to find that it contains only pass ...more
Andy Taylor
If you are looking for a comprehensive history of the Police and Stewart Copeland's place in the band this isn't it. It is however, still worth reading for all the other insights it provides.

Strange Things Happen reads like a collection of blog/diary postings from Stewart taken at at random intervals from his life. The entries, sorry, I mean chapters are all entertaining and full of rich detail into his life. It touches on intimate details of his life and puts you as close as you can get to bein
Mike Jozic
Sep 01, 2015 Mike Jozic rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
So good. So very very good. I've had this book on my to read pile for some time but after watching Copeland's documentary/home movie, Everyone Stares, I had to dive into it immediately. The two work well as companion pieces but the memoir itself is so much more fulfilling. Copeland is a very good writer and he tells his stories candidly, lovingly, and with great enthusiasm. He loves music and those he has played music with. He doesn't take anything in his life for granted and his life, inside an ...more
Oct 05, 2009 j_ay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Not exactly a comprehensive, career spanning biography, which is a bit disappointing; the classic Police years are summed up with 4 pages, which is simply quoted narration from “Everybody Stares”, no mention of The Doors project or anything about Animal Logic, and not much information on Copeland’s rather unique (and talented) family.
Granted most of that stuff is available in countless interviews, but it would still be nice for a collected version of it.
The Police does surface again with the l
Darren Hemmings
Jan 04, 2013 Darren Hemmings rated it liked it
Shelves: music
This is a strange book and something of a disappointment. For the opening half of the book the chapters are just a hotch-potch of moments in Copeland's life - most post-Police - which often amount to slightly boring tales of a rock star with too much money indulging his whims.

The second half of the book is where things fall into place that bit more, offering a chronological series of chapters around the Police's reunion tour. This half is engaging stuff, showing the true nature of the band's re
Apr 05, 2012 Shae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Copeland's memoir is a loosely connected series of vignettes that follow the unusual trajectory of the musician's life. I approached this book as a fan of The Police, but came away a fan of Stewart Copeland. I enjoyed the brutally honest perspective on his role in the Police and love/hate relationship with Sting. Other than a truly hilarious moment involving a tuba, the best parts of the book had nothing to do with The Police and everything to do with Copeland following his gut and his heart whe ...more
What you would expect from the loudmouth American. A little disappointing (not unlike Sting's 'Broken Music') that it barely touches on his time with the pre break-up Police. About 90% deals with life after and during The Police reunion tour, where the book actually gets interesting. Thus far, Andy Summers is really the only one to have written a detailed account of life in The Police, with his 'One Train Later'. Why Sting and Stewart have chosen to forego writing about what is essentially the r ...more
I enjoyed this book and found it to be an easy read. His writing flows nicely.

I did appreciate that it wasn't a tell-all Sting bashing exercise. When he did write about his time with the Police, he was honest about his relationship with the other members, both the good and the bad.

Most of the book, however, is about his time outside of the Police...his career scoring films and his hobbies, which include playing polo. Granted, it's a bit like reading about how the other half lives, but it's nice
Strange Things Happen was not the wild and raunchy rock tell-all I expected from one of rock's most popular drummers, Stewart Copeland of the Police. Nevertheless, Copeland is an interesting guy and a true artist for whom I have a newfound respect after finishing Strange Things Happen. I have never been much of a Police fan, but I enjoyed his anecdotes about creating films scores and jamming with Oysterhead.
Sep 17, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fun book -- if Copeland had never belonged to the Police, his life would still be interesting to read about! His (sometimes more than) slightly self-deprecating humor, and his obvious love of family, friends, music, and life in general, make this a relaxing, uncomplicated read. Of course, as a longtime fan of both his Police work and other projects ("Spyro the Dragon" music! LOL) it is fascinating to hear the inside scoop on those days as well.
Pat Nestor
Jul 26, 2012 Pat Nestor rated it really liked it
It's no secret to anyone who knows me how much I love The Police and how I think Stewart Copeland is the greatest drummer to ever walk the earth. Well, Stewart is also an accomplished Composer and Film-maker and now he can added accomplished writer to his line of credits. Part bio and part set of musings, this is a nice look at the background to one of my heroes. Not sure how much anyone who is not a fan of Stewart's or the Police will enjoy it, but for me, this was required reading.
Nov 13, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
A great autobiography from my favorite drummer. Stewart is smart, funny, and a genuine lover of music. His fascinating childhood as the son of a CIA spy surely shaped his musical leanings; he had a love of "world" music before it became so popular. "The Rhythmatist" remains one of my favorite albums. Well worth a read for any music lover, and a must-read for Police fans.
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Stewart Copeland is more, so much more than what he did in The Police 1 4 Apr 17, 2013 06:26AM  
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“That’s the great thing about music. If you played it, it’s correct. The worst musical train wreck hurts absolutely no one. It’s all part of the show. In fact it’s how we get to the great stuff. There is no penalty for skating on the edge or throwing ourselves off the cliff. So we do.” 1 likes
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