DEAR MR. POP STAR – HUMOROUS LETTERS TO POP STARS ABOUT THEIR SONGS WITH GENUINE WITTY REPLIES – BY DEREK & DAVE PHILPOTT
For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars, 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, Derek’s legs playing up, and unarguable logic in relation to questioning the offending chart hits under scrutiny.
What makes this project especially deserving of attention, however, is that it has achieved a feat never before attempted or probably even thought of. 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.
Under pressure from fans to go to print, a staggeringly successful Kickstarter Campaign in 2015 raised over 18k in order to self-publish, resulting in a wonderfully impressive book which went out to the hundreds of pledgers and was met with great acclaim before being made available via Amazon prompting nearly 100 five star reviews from avid readers.
Now the Authors are delighted to have been accepted by renowned publishing house Unbound. The new, second book ‘‘Dear Mr. Pop Star’’ will also benefit from a trade edition being distributed by Penguin Random House. The book features nearly 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 are Deep Purple, Dr. and The Medics, Dr. Hook, Nik Kershaw, Judas Priest, Starship, Tears For Fears, The Eurythmics, Dr. Hook, Wreckless Eric, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Mott The Hoople, The Knack, The Wurzels, Jesus Jones, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Men Without Hats, Bauhaus, Heaven 17, Del Amitri, Wang Chung, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.
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.