“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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN THIS ACTIVITY IT WOULD REALLY HELP IF YOU HAD YOUR OWN NEEDLE (with large eye) AND SCISSORS (nail scissors) with you or back at your accommodation. I will not have enough of these to issue. Also feel free to bring your own thread.
We all know that book people are passionate people but, that at times, passion and fighting injustice can be draining. That is where Craftivism comes in. I found Sarah Corbett and her Craftivist Collective https://craftivist-collective.com/our-story/ through Unbound https://unbound.com and was intrigued by the concept of gentle/quiet activism.
What does reading mean to you? Want to save our libraries? Love crafting?
With a tv adaptation depicting Ray Bradbury’s Book Burning dystopia Fahrenheit 451 out this year and the failure of our government to protect our libraries or to properly fund school libraries the time for us to craft/write/speak up is now.
Come and take part in a craftivist event at YALC to create a wall of quiet activism. On Friday/Saturday come and collect your Craftivist pack and spend the evening reflecting on your love of books. Bring your completed crafts to create a wall of book love that will be shared on blogs, social media and with MPs. And, if I can find somewhere that accepts it it will be moved to be displayed at a library/bookshop after the event.
Kirsty Stanley is an Occupational Therapist, writer and book blogger at Books, Occupation… Magic! She can be found most places online @kirstyes. Along with her friends she turns 40 this year and is organising this to celebrate the importance of books and reading to personal development. With amazing YA literature being released today we need to ensure teens can get their hands on it.
Here are some links on underfunding of our libraries:
Collect your pack (Fri or Sat)
I have around 350 packs available and I’ll put half out on Friday and half on Saturday. Come over to the Craftivist wall to collect your pack (I might not be there so just help yourselves – on a first come first served basis) and then over the course of the day or evening create your own “Craftivist book” to come back to hang on our wall of quiet activism by 11am Sunday. As soon as it’s ready feel free to add it straight to the wall. You might inspire others with your words.
Basically we will be recreating the YALC wall of books with our own.
If you are only attending YALC on Sunday or you simply want to get stuck in beforehand in case I run out of packs feel free to create your own “Craftivist book” out of materials you have at home and share it on the wall by 11am Sunday.
Craftivist Book Activity Guidelines
Each pack will contain a foam mobile phone case, a material insert, a length of wool, a heart hanger and sticky Velcro hook.
Additionally decide if you want to write or sew your message, and if the latter collect some thread from the box too. If you are writing use the Sharpies provided to write your message but please leave them at the wall for others to use.
Here is my step by step example as one idea. Feel free to tweak or to use your own embellishments.
Step one find the cut thread on one side of your mobile phone case. Unpick it down one side and along the bottom so it opens like a book (leave one side threaded) and leave your unpicked thread attached to use later.
Decide which is going to be the front cover of your book. I think the white side might be easier because you can write on it.
Title your “book” and add your name as the author of your message.
Next is the most important part – decide what your message is going to be. Why are books and/or libraries important to you?
Depending on how much time you have you can either write or sew your message. You can see I did both, and I used my writing as a guideline – no way could my brain work out freehand sewing 🤯. I also chose to share a quote that I love about libraries but do share your own stories and words too.
Then I used the unpicked thread to sew the pages into the book finishing at the top where I then threaded the excess through the wooden heart and tied it off into a knot too big to slide back through the hole.
Add your sticky Velcro hook to the back of the heart which will enable you to stick your message to the book wall.
Finally bind your book and your message with the wool. Take a picture and share. Use the hashtags #beacraftivist and #yalc2018 in your posts. Also feel free to come back here and leave a message in the comments about how you found taking part in the activity and what went through your head whilst creating your Craftivist book. Sarah terms these Crafterthoughts.
Book Wall Display
By 11am Sunday I’m hoping everyone will have shared their books so do come back to take a look at everyone else’s messages, take photos and tweet them out – especially to your local MP. You can find out who that is here – https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
I would dearly love for this display to live on beyond YALC so if you are happy for that to happen just leave your book on the wall.
IF YOU ARE A LONDON LIBRARY OR BOOKSTORE WHO WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISPLAY THIS AFTER YALC PLEASE CONTACT ME HERE. THANK YOU.
Thanks to Dorset Scrapstore for letting me purchase the mobile phone cases and fabric for £7!!! – I cleaned them out of the former. I thought the adaption of mobile phone cases into books was kind of ironic.
Find your local scrapstore here.
If this activity has got you quietly fired up do consider picking up a copy of How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett from your local friendly bookstore or, better yet, if you still have one, ask your library to stock a copy.