Have you ever wondered about the real meaning of song lyrics? The real meaning that is and not the “Ooh that’s a nice tune,” take it and move onto the next track. If so then this book is for you. As Nick Kershaw said, “Absolutely LOVE IT!“
Several years ago I stumbled on a website (link below) run by pensioners Derek Philpott and his next door neighbour, Wilf Turnbull. On it’s mighty pages there were a string of letters sent to rock and pop stars questioning the meaning and accuracy of many a well known tune. At the time replies were thin on the ground, but thanks to an uber global fan base, comprising musically minded people on Facebook, suggestions of who to write to began pouring in.
They say there are six degrees of separation between you and someone famous. This quickly proved it’s worth with the wordsmiths linking directly to people “in the know,” thus by-passing agent firewalls and bringing them into direct contact with the stars themselves. As Derek says in his introduction;
“Then, one day in 2010 the most remarkable and quite unexpected thing happened… the pop stars began to reply!”
As notoriety spread pop stars, agents and management circles within the industry began to, not only engage, but feed “leads” via the backdoor. The game, was indeed, afoot.
Derek took up the mantle, as Wilf’s commitments prohibited full engagement, and began posting their replies on the website. The fan base grew and the idea of putting the letters into a book became a real one. The rest, they say, is history.
“Dear Mr Kershaw” was the book that resulted from a crowd funded Kickstarter project. The rich engagement of followers, fans and contacts within the industry, including the pop stars themselves spread the word far and wide and publication was soon assured.
So, what is it? (The book that is and not a line by The Cat in “White Hole,” Red Dwarf).
By way of example here is the transcript of a letter sent to Nick Kershaw himself;
“Dear Mr. Kershaw
“Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes”, you suggest, in your catchy offering.
However, I suspect that such a “Footwear Exchange” would be less than successful, in that we probably take different sizes. I fear that my size 8 (European Size 42) Hush Puppies may chafe your feet after a short while on stage or at home, causing discomfort and blisters. Therefore, I feel that we should both remain in our own choice of footwear for the foreseeable future.
Reply from Mr. Kershaw
Dear Mr Turnbull
Thank you for your letter of the 3rd of October.
Whilst I am grateful for your concern regarding my podiatric well being, I feel it necessary to avail you of the following fact…
Sadly, and to avoid spoilers, the remainder of Mr Kershaw’s considered reply remains on page 26 of the book itself. Suffice to say the list of respondents is pretty large including;
Rick Wakeman, Slade, All About Eve, Fish (Marillion), Right Said Fred, Saxon, Kim Wilde, Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Level 42, Heaven 17, Yazz, Was Not Was, Kajagoogoo, The Steve Miller Band, Smokie, The Communards, Tears For Fears, Elvis Costello, The Human League and many, many, more.
Within the 224 pages a reader will find many a chuckle and more than a few hearty laughs. But don’t take my word for it; at the bottom I have listed a wide range of interviews, articles and reviews where accolades flow in proportion to the humour of both Team Philpott and pop stars; who it seems now consider “taking a Dereking” as an unofficial badge of honour.
Dear Mr Pop Star
At the time of writing this post the second book, now under majority control of son Dave as Derek retires a second time (Ed – well deserved), has just reached 100% funding on Unbound. “Dear Mr Pop Star” is now in production and will be joining the first book as a masterpiece in humour rich in replies from decades of musicians.
This one features 100 more letters and responses from legendary songsters from pop and rock. In them you will find yet more evidence of a side of the stars that often goes unnoticed; they are real people, have buckets of good humour and are damn fine sports.
Currently this one is still accepting support on Unbound and options are available with pledge names being cited within the book itself. Many, myself included, jumped on this early on in the funding process. Be warned though, production is under way so these options will not be up for much longer. The book, however, will be.
Derek (left) and Dave (right) Philpott are the nom de plumes 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” as a badge of honour.
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