Monday, 18 June 2018

One Three One - Julian Cope (2014)

Rating: Admirable

Julian Cope is one of the finest cult musical artists in the world and is certainly one of the most endearingly creative and eccentric. Cope can also definitely write, having produced perhaps the greatest rock autobiography in the form of the hilariously manic Head On (1994). Cope also has a fascination with Neolithic Europe and has produced scholarly tomes such as The Modern Antiquarian (1998) and The Megalithic European (2004), but is he also a successful novelist? The answer is, well, maybe? One Three One is, as they say, a mixed bag; featuring a rock star character called Rock Section, football hooligans, neolithic stone sites on the Italian island of Sardinia (where most of the novel is set), Paganism vs Christianity (the Christians are the bad guys...) time travel (back some 10, 000 years), a multitude of musical references and a series of fictional rave era bands that many of the secondary characters have a hand in. It's heady stuff and most of the time Cope's freewheeling narrative style keeps you interested, however sometimes I was just plain bored, or frustrated and perplexed, and sometimes I was totally enthralled. I veered between thinking I'd rate the novel as mediocre and other times as excellent; but ultimately One Three One is quite an achievement for an eccentric cult artist whose main gig is producing excellent music at a fairly prolific rate. Well done Mr Cope... 

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