“If you don’t like this book, then you’re no friend of mine.” Ivan Doroschuk, Men Without Hats
A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…
For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing deliberately deranged letters to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. They miss the point as often as they hit it.
But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…
Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.
Derek and Dave Philpott are the noms de plume of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a worldwide social networking community.
What I Thought
This is a sizeable tome at just under 400 pages and lays out letters from the Philpotts to various pop stars, some responses in kind and a few shorter ‘postcard’ style quips that have yet to be responded too. This last style was generally more puntastic and therefore appealed to my sense of humour. I think the B52s Love Shack ‘floozy hovel’ letter was my favourite.
A number of the bands or songs I was not familiar with and I did find I responded better to those that I knew. I think perhaps googling the lyrics of some songs might have helped me better appreciate some of the references more.
It was sometimes hard to determine how jokey some of the replies were and there were a few questionable responses so this is not a book for particularly young eyes, and to be fair is really best aimed at music lovers. I’m looking forward to volume two with more recent artists?!
This would make a good coffee table book to dip in and out of and an excellent way to start amusing explorations of what song lyrics might mean.
I decided to have a go at my own letter to the artist in the Philpott style.
Although one response in the book by Wang Chung mentions the song below I wanted to explore it further.
Re Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)
I am a little bemused about your premise that ‘putting a ring on it’ is seen as the ultimate goal of a committed relationship and your presumption that doing that will mean that your partner will not stray. As you might be aware marriage is not now the social construct it once was, the ‘til death do us part’ vow should now more accurately be recited as ‘until I get bored and someone “better” comes along’.
If a man is that fickle perhaps making the next one enter into a joint mortgage might make for a more secure relationship. They are notoriously difficult to get out of and may result in the loss of your music awards room as you try to live in the same house but never cross paths.
The tune to Single Ladies and dance moves in the video are however very catchy and I can’t picture what action would accompany ‘got a mortgage with’. Any ideas?
Although, my query has seemed to turn out less punerific, more feminist argument so I’d suggest picking up a copy of Dear Mr Pop Star for far funnier versions (btw there are letters to female pop stars in there despite the book’s title).
Ooh and my profession got a mention. A pandemic of OTs is what the world needs I think.
Do check out the rest of the blog tour for other reviews, extracts and more.