Witty, eloquent, and wonderfully entertaining is the praise for the Dear Mr Popstar Project by Derek and Dave Philpott, father and son. Will your name feature in the book?
For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on quite the ‘bonkers crusade’, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect. The letters are eminently publishable in their own right, mixing sharp wit, confusion, and mundane daily chores with trips to the shops, daytime telly, and unarguable logic in relation to questioning the offending chart hits under scrutiny.
What makes this book or better, project especially deserving of attention? It is that it has achieved a feat never before attempted or probably even thought of. With the missives online for all to see on what was becoming a hugely popular website, the artists quite unexpectedly started to reply, writing back in just as witty and articulate a fashion, politely pointing out exactly where the original letter went wrong…or right.
Also, crucially, nearly all of the responses were procured via ”the back door of the industry”, via roadies, mutual fans, cousins of bass players, and even other famous participants telling the artists directly of the Philpotts’ written pressing inquiries. This marvellous online community, which stretched as far afield as Europe, Canada, Japan, the U.S.A, Australia and Stoke, even cultivated and organically evolved the whole surreal venture by offering up willing stars that the authors would probably not have thought of corresponding with themselves, establishing contact through personal connections.
Ultimately, this book explores how when a song is released into ‘the wild’ the artist loses all control over it, especially pertaining to its interpretation. It is also testimony to the community spirit capable of being created over social media and how positive and fun it can be.
‘‘Dear Mr. Popstar’’ will feature up to 100 of the best letters and responses from famous and legendary names spanning the whole pop and rock spectrum, all relishing their involvement and revealing their own, in many cases, hitherto unknown humorous sides within what could well be the most interactive dialogue compiled between music stars and their audience ever undertaken. Of course, it is not always possible to reach certain targets, hence many unanswered observations are also included, as they were considered too amusing not to be.
Amongst those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship so far are Dr. from Dr. and The Medics, Nik Kershaw, Judas Priest, Starship, Tears For Fears, The Eurythmics, Wreckless Eric, Dean Friedman, Fairground Attraction, The Ruts, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Melanie, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Cutting Crew, Lindisfarne, Mott The Hoople, Fuzzbox, Men Without Hats, China Crisis, Mental As Anything, David MacIver and Rupert HineQuantum Jump, The Rezillos, Saxon, John Otway, The Human League, Chesney and Chip Hawkes, Tenpole Tudor, The Strawbs, Shakatak, Katrina and the Waves, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Heaven 17, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Matthew Wilder, Middle of the Road, Liquid Gold, The Christians, Paper Lace, Dodgy, Wild Cherry, The Housemartins, Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Johnny Hates Jazz, The Wurzels, Peter Noone, Suzi Quatro, Strawberry Switchblade, Danny Wilson, Racey, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Judas Priest, Fiddler’s Dram, Bauhaus, Climax Blues Band, The Supernaturals, The Jags, EMF, T’Pau, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Nu Shooz, Owen Paul, Steve Ellis of Love Affair, Hazell Dean, The Knack, The Maisonettes, Del Amitri, The Skids, Jesus Jones, The Soup Dragons, City Boy, Modern Romance, Wang Chung, The Kursaal Flyers, Fischer Z, Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Scarlet Fantastic, Junior, Spear of Destiny, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine plus more promised.
I am most impressed, if a little unnerved, to learn that you are aware that I dropped the immobiliser to my Nissan Juke down a drain outside Sainsbury’s last week.
I do therefore have a brand new key but must sadly inform you that its only functions are to start the ignition and to release the boot and petrol cap. I fear that it would be ineffectual when turned anticlockwise into a pair of shoes with wheels on, especially given that the only orifice available is likely to be the eyeholes which are most likely already to be filled with laces.
Upon this basis I feel that to get together and try them out, you see, would be futile.
Although I do not mind that you skated to my door at daylight I would appreciate it greatly if you would not encroach into the threshold. We have just had some parquet laid and would prefer it not to be tarnished by rubber skid marks that we may retort ‘’Look what you’ve done to my floor, ma’’.
Dear Mr Philpott,
You appear to think I have lace up boot skates. My skates go around the shoe or boot and you tighten them with the key. With that in mind, it looks like I don’t need your key after all. As far as your precious parquet floor is concerned, the wheels are metal – they wouldn’t leave black skid marks, just little grooves, which could add character to stodgy parquet floors. I have been looking around a while, thought you had something for me. I guess I’ll keep looking for someone with a brand NEW key.
About the Authors
Derek and Dave Philpott are the noms de plume of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a small family and, crucially, a worldwide social networking community. Neither they or anybody assisting with the creative aspects of this project had any connections with the music, entertainment, media or publishing industries whatsoever at the time of its commencement. Despite these humble origins, however, they now find themselves in the bizarre but enviable position whereby many pop stars and people within these circles are their friends “in real life’” (whatever that means!). Many artists consider “getting a Dereking” a badge of honour, and, as one participant succinctly put it- ‘’This is an ingenious and extremely inventive concept. You have given us a platform to answer questions that have been asked of us for years by our fans and respond on a public platform of immense fun. You’ve created a weird and wonderful world loved and admired by 1,000s of people worldwide, and you have your own army of loyal fans. That pretty much makes you part of ‘us lot’ now!’’
How to Support the Book
Do you like this brilliant concept and want to be a part of it, better yet, want to have your name mentioned in the book as a contributor? Then follow this link to UNBOUND – a “crowdfunding publisher that gives people the tools, support and freedom to bring their ideas to life.” All you need to do is sign up for free and decide what you would like to receive: an ebook copy (from £/€ 15 ex p&p) or a (signed) hardback copy (from £/€ 20 ex p&p) and there are more choices waiting for you. All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book and your pledge is your pre-order to receive your own copy!
The First & Previous Book: Dear Mr Kershaw
‘’Dear Mr Kershaw’’ features over 65 of the best and funniest letters and responses from famous and legendary names spanning every reach of the pop, rock, metal, prog and punk spectrum, all relishing their involvement ‘’in character’’ and revealing their own in many cases hitherto unknown humorous sides. Amongst those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship are Noddy Holder, Billy Bragg, Was Not Was, The Stereo MCs, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Saxon, Tom Robinson, Stiff Little Fingers, Rick Wakeman, Paul Heaton, Squeeze, Toyah, Howard Jones, The Divine Comedy, Kim Wilde, and of course the gentleman himself Mr Nik Kershaw.Dear Mr Kershaw
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (23 Oct. 2015)|