Yes, but is it a copekrautrockin’ sampler in disguise?
By Fred Mills
It’s titled One Three One: A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel and it’s a new book from erstwhile Teardrop Explodes frontman and psychedelic avatar Julian Cope. Published late last month in the UK by Faber & Faber, it’s already generating fairly positive reviews, including from British novelist Toby Litt (“One of the most brilliant, serious, funny, life-crammed novels any reader is likely to lay their mitts on.”) and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie (“A total skullfuck of a book, hooligan saga of rave damaged psychic shipwrecks and mythic time travel.”).
Cope, of course, has previously published a two-part memoir, Head-On and Reposessed, which chronicled his Teardrops and solo career exploits; impressionistic but literate books on German psych and prog (Krautrocksampler) and Japanese rock (Japrocksampler); Copendium, a kind of Copesampler of review and essays; a collaboration with Paul Drummond on a Roky Erickson/13th Floor Elevators biography, Eye Mind; and a quirky but celebrated look at “the roots of British cultural identity” via hundreds of prehistoric sites, The Modern Antiquarian. But this is his first genuine foray into nonfiction.
Talking to Britain’s The Guardian last week, Cope commented, on his image and his work as an entertainer both onstage an in print, “My mind’s like a repository, and at times it’s just unnecessary shit. But it does mean I can access anything… I don’t think people think I’m crazy any more. I think sometimes they think I’m a genius, and the difference between a genius and bonkers is that bonkers tends to not conclude a project very often. That’s why I think people are more generous with their estimations now, because at least I finish them.”
Well said, sir. Although posing for photos like the one above that The Guardian’s Sam Frost snapped might occasionally give people the impression that you’re at least slightly bonkers, eh?