photo manipulation by nacrowe
i knew going into this book that renowned drummer STEWART COPELAND of THE POLICE fame was a bit of pretentious asshole, but man, his book STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN: A LIFE WITH THE POLICE, POLO, AND PYGMIES (IT BOOKS, 2010) really only confirms it. what drew me to his story in part was his upbringing abroad in LEBANON as a state department brat (actually his father worked for the C.I.A.). when youve grown up abroad as a THIRD CULTURE KID, as i have, you kind of seek out others as well. i was curious what effect being an AMERICAN abroad had on his cultural education and to what extent it informed his (admittedly phenomenal) drum skills.
sadly the structure of this book is rather jagged and arbitrary, small awkwardly worded vignettes about different experiences in his life that don't follow a specific timeline or present coherent a coherent narrative. this unfortunate structuring also makes it seem that things just happened around him, that he had no sway in his life's trajectory. what's worse, none of these stories are particularly "strange" in the least. moreover they just showcase his inflated sense of importance and privilege.
for instance he goes to KENYA to the touristy MASAI MARAI region cavorting with giraffes and lions to film some shitty movie. he hangs out with pygmies and is involved with a group ritual that he fails to explain the significance of, outside of his own awkwardness in the procession. like i care about how he felt. what's worse is that he waxes poetic about his journey to AFRICA to discover roots of AMERICAN music. this really annoys me because, with all due respect, that tradition is rooted sub-Saharan WEST AFRICA, places like GHANA, NIGERIA, TOGO and CAMEROON were the slave trade was rooted for centuries. going to the most tourist-friendly part of AFRICA and then talking about roots is just pathetic.
this book is a hard pass and i wouldn't recommend it to anyone, even if they are a fan of THE POLICE. im looking forward to ANDY SUMMERS memoir. hopefully he doesn't have his head nearly as far up his own ass as COPELAND. good grief.