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Copendium [Hardcover]

Julian Cope
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
Price: 19.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 2012

Eschewing the usual criteria of chart success or acknowledged influence, the Copendium - a collection of album reviews and themed track samplers - takes energy, originality and heaviness as its bearings. The result is a feast of obscure and neglected masterworks that together form a surprising but entirely credible new tradition. Krautrock, motorik and post-punk, stoner and doom metal, occasionally even jazz, spoken word and hair metal: they are all represented in a wholly persuasive sequence.

Cope is the perfect guide to this novel terrain: impeccably informed, passionate, insightful and deeply funny. The Copendium is his re-imagining of a useful canon of popular music, and it is set to become required reading.

The Copendium is unlike anything you have read before.

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Copendium + Copendium-Julian Cope + The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571270336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571270330
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 4 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


I think Julian is the best writer on rock and roll in the world today. No contest. Lester Bangs would love him if he were still alive. They'd be blood brothers. He's got the spirit alright. True faith. (Bobby Gillespie)

Copendium is a collection of album reviews, exactly 10 years worth, which Cope wrote for his own Head Heritage website. He homes in on the unsung, music that is unknown, unloved, even unreleased...If, like me, you thought you knew your musical onions, if you pride yourself on knowing or just owning the work of musicians whose mothers don t even know they exist, then reading Copendium is a humbling exercise...Every essay in Copendium is an adventure (Roddy Doyle Irish Times)

Phrase by phrase, Cope is the best music writer going. He has taste, anger, wit and a resplendent supracosmic vision. His decade's writings have now been compiled as Copendium ... One hell of a book. (Tony Litt The Herald, Books of the Year)

Inside a black tortoise-shell cover, Copendium finds the erstwhile Teardrop Explodes loon vibing about some of the most outré rock records ever made. Collated from 10 years worth monthly posts on Cope s Head Heritage website, each entry reads like a mission statement to convert you to the Arch-Drude's latest space-cake obsession. Whether raving about mid-60s proto-metallers Blue Cheer or contemporary psych troop Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Cope makes most other rock writing seem lifeless. (Andrew Perry Q Magazine Books of the Year)

A combination of fastidiousness and freakout fervour means Copendium achieves its own aim of being an alternative head's guide to all and every music. It also documents a history just passed. Cope will always make us want to listen to this music again. He has also captured why the process of discovering it has changed forever. (Wire)

Julian Cope's Copendium provides an alternative history of popular music from the Fifties to the present. Cope is the well-read jester of English pop, a real one-off, and we're lucky to have him. (Ian Thomson The Standard, Books of the Year)

Cult singer and songwriter Julian Cope's Copendium is a wonderful tribute to the misfits, outsiders and head-cases who have marked music's most magnificent margins. While heavyweights such as Miles Davis and Black Sabbath are loudly hymned, so are 'underpraised' artists such as the Mops and Jex Thoth. (Rob Fitzpatrick Sunday Times, Music Books of the Year)

Downright irresistible. (Ben Thomson Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year)

Book Description

From the visionary musician, antiquarian and musicologist Julian Cope, comes an alternative history of the last six decades of popular music.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinda like the opposite of The Bible 25 Nov 2012
By Rik
Julian Cope has paid due care and attention to his Head Heritage base of operations since its early, humble mail-away days and 'Copendium' is one of many impressive results worth checking up on.

Since getting hooked-up each month to feature a Drudion Julian has also reviewed an album of the month, some brand new, others decades old with no pre-requisites on genre, style or length. All of them are compiled here in alphabetical order, each decade featuring a small introduction to the period.
This material is all ready and available to peruse on Head Heritage, but the mere finger ache of scrolling down through endless obscure and, sometimes, unattractive album covers is a daunting enough task without the miles of backlit text to rummage through. With 'Copendium' everything's available and 'loaded' without the eye-ache that comes from heavy websurfing and it's far more encouraging. The 'Copendium' itself is big, black, and bears a very heavy presence; like all his others it's a very pretty book. An added bonus is the astonishing material within.

The extensive contents, glossary and index pages make it clear this isn't something to read and bookmark (but pen and paper may come in handy). It works as more of a resource to come back to and scour through, but Julian's writing style is so endearing it's tough to put the book to one side. Julian refers to himself as an 'erudite barbarian', and his colloquial ramblings certainly reflect that. Meanwhile having everything in pure black and white with zero distractions gives you a reasonable image of what to expect. Julian's enthusiasm shines, and he actually convinces you of the crucial nature of this music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what can you say about this book 23 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Julian Cope is an indispensible part of the fabric of todays musical scene-analysis and performance-and a unique visionary-he delivers the goods -totally readable !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading 8 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read many of these on the headheritage.co.uk website throughout the years but it's great to have them in a single place. Cope is such a great writer and his love and passion for this topic jumps off each page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big hit for a Cope fan 8 April 2013
By Teri
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this for my friend's birthday who loves Julian Cope. He was thrilled by it. The book is certainly 'tome' like, very good quality and packs a right punch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class entertainment 6 Feb 2013
By Richard
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you enjoy the music described herein and have any interest in investigating same or not, this book is worth reading because Julian Cope is an excellent writer. Perceptive, funny and passionate, "Copendium" belts along and sucks you into its jetstream of enjoyment. Like his other books on music, it makes no bones about its subjectivity but at the same time burns with a conviction that he's right. Read it for pure enjoyment as well as education. Petition your local library to get a copy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Rock Music You Will Ever Read 14 Feb 2013
By Runmentionable TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You could easily confuse this big, black, mysterious artefact with the monolith from "2001", but don't be misled. One of them is a repository of cosmic wisdom which can transform human consciousness, but the other is just a big old rock on the moon.

The Amazon description and some earlier reviews give you the basics: the book collates Cope's "Album of the Month" reviews, produced over 10 years for his Head Heritage website. The reviews sometimes cover familar names but more often the sounds discussed are beneath the beneath of the underground. They're ordered here along the chronology of the music, grouped into the sixties, seventies and so on, followed by a closing section of "samplers" - imaginary compilations devoted to particular themes or styles ("Danskrocksampler", "Post-Punk Sampler", and so forth). Given that this huge body of work (the book clocks in at around 700 double-columned pages) was produced while Cope was engaged in numerous other projects, you have to doff your horned helmet just at the scale of the achievement. For a volubly self-styled Odinist, Cope has one hell of a Protestant work ethic.

That's quantity, and it's admirable. But what makes the difference is quality, and, let's face it, Cope is the best rock writer since Lester Bangs took his forged prescription to the great dodgy pharmacy in the sky, because, as well as being superb entertainers, they're the only two writers on rock music whose prose is itself (in all senses but the boringly literal) magnificient rock music. Cope's writing is by turns enraged, passionate, hilarious, ecstatic, bitchy, perceptive and confrontational. It's always exhilarating and imaginative, it's almost consumed by its own energy, it never takes received wisdom at face value and it's largely untroubled by self-doubt.
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