Author Spotlight (Musical Mayhem); Derek Philpott

Derek Philott

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.


Philpott book image


“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.
Yours sincerely,

Wilf Turnbull

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.

Dear Mr Pop Star


Author Bio


Derek and Dave


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.


Buy It Now

Dear Mr Kershaw Plane Groovy

Dear Mr Kershaw Amazon UK

Dear Mr Kershaw Amazon USA


Social Media

Follow Dave/Derek on Twitter

Follow Dave/Derek on Facebook


More Information and Interviews


Author Interview by Stevyn Colgan

Author Interview by Craig Beadle of The British Comedy Guide

Author Interview by Jim Rowland of Uber Rock

Author Interview with Café Spike

Author Interview with Middle Tennessee Music (MTM)








47 thoughts on “Author Spotlight (Musical Mayhem); Derek Philpott

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    1. I’m involved with Dave now in the lead into the new one out this September. It reminded me I’d done this spotlight so figured I’d throw it back into the Mix first. Top blokes, although Derrick is stepping back now to let his son carry it on.

      Thanks once again 😊

    1. Good call! It’s a hoot, and they are currently preparing a sequel which is equally outstanding. I have, over the years, become friends with both Derrick and his son Dave who has taken lead on the second book. They are active on Facebook too with plenty of updates on letters and new responses.

  1. This sounds so fun! I love that these guys just started writing letter with no expectation of return and then Voila!! Awesome and a really fun post to read.

    1. I’m quite proud to say I was there before it got big too. I call Derek and Dave friends now and watching it all grow from an idea was brilliant. Such a fresh take on things and the back humour from the “start” makes them tangible people too. So glad you liked it 🙂

    1. My pleasure; try looking him up on FB; it’s quite a community of interesting folk and they often put letters up for discussion too

  2. This is an absolutely brilliant idea!! Sometimes you just have to questions the words that *everyone* around you is singing but only you seem to be hearing haha! This is going on my to-find list ☺

    1. I thought that too when I found his website well before the idea of a book began. That was back when they were trying very hard to break through the outer defences of agents and managers to actually get to the stars. Now they are actively seeking them out; well Derek has now taken the back seat as a second retirement and his son Dave is taking over. I’ve been given a coy of the new book pre-release and its a proper hoot 🙂

      1. I work in a university and the number of times students walk around singing and I just stare at them in disbelief that someone actually wrote those words haha. I’m glad that someone is “holding them accountable” hahahaha 🤣🤣

        1. I did that too, before children and then I became primary carer, tuned into voluntary work and started writing fiction! You’re right though holding them to account is indeed the way its approached. I find it brilliant that they reply too and in keeping with the challenges Derek throws at them. Look him up on FB if you want more mirth on that front 🙂

    1. My pleasure 🙂 If you add Derek on Facebook you will get up to date chuckles and a few of the pop stars often drop in there too 🙂

    1. Thank you Steph, I’m up for that one for sure. Will be catching up on things this week and it’s now on the to do list!

    1. OMG; thank you so much. I will be onto this one shortly as my new ambition is to catch up on things…famous last words!!! Will pop over right now and have a look at yours 🙂

    1. I have a feeling your sense of humour will appreciate this one. Bit different to the “normal” reads one encounters 🙂

    1. If you like lyrics this is indeed a blast; not just from the outgoing letters; some of the replies are well into the spirit of it all and give as goods as they take! Thanks for that too. Team Philpott will be well chuffed 🙂

    1. Ooh; present time then lol I Found the original website hilarious which is why I connected with Derek a long time before the book was even an idea. This is the product of a lot of hard work trying to break through agents and managers to even get the stars to see the letters. Now they (the stars) seem to be getting in touch directly. I thought this was a rather unique hobby for retired gents lol

    1. Thank you kindly Dave, a most generous accolade indeed! Always nice to hear from the authors when I do a spotlight to ensure things are in good order. Looking forward to the next one. Give my regards to young Derek too 🙂

  3. This is soooooo cool, and, as pointed out, evidence of the appeal of original, clever, and witty “randomness”….All these stars….such great memories…and, these interactions bring them into a contemporary context that makes my sentimental heart leap with joy 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Gary!!!! 🙂

    1. I thought you’d appreciate this one Truly. Blasts from the past and also from the later decades too. Many more in the new book too which Team Philpott have kindly allowed me to do another review of once it’s published.

      Thank you so much for the glowing comment too 🙂

    1. I’m cited at the back as one of the supporters of the Kickstarter project 😊 You won’t regret this one. You can dip in and out at random because of the way it’s compiled. Nick Kershaws reply is excellent as was Fish (Marillion…one of my favourite bands when he was lead singer). Juliane Reagan too of All About Eve (another favourite from goth days). Even Derek’s introduction is a tale in itself. Thank you so much for doing that 💖

    1. Thanks Samantha! Wasn’t sure this week was a good one to post this, but I did delay it after the shocker in Manchester.

      Try Amazons “look inside” for a preview of the high japes in store. Proper funny 🙂

  4. What a fascinating story. I have not heard of these books or this endeavor. Amazing what a world wide community can do to help an unknown writer succeed in a seemingly impenetrable star studded industry.

    1. Derek is a terrific and unassuming chap; his Facebook page is very active if you fancy having a look. Always reports new letters and the general banter is hilarious. His son, Dave, is now wresting control as his dad is feeling the pace now. They both want me to review the new book too so I’m hoping to add to the back story then!

      As you rightly say, the fact that it has been a global community of like minded people is awesome too; Always suggesting stars and I’m told said stars are now actively engaging requesting letters. Getting a Dereking seems to be something to aspire for now lol.

      Thank you so much for commenting too; really appreciate the time taken to do that 🙂

        1. Brilliant 🙂 This week they decided not to post too much on the hilarity front as a mark of respect for the sad event earlier in the week in Manchester. I expect things will begin flowing again next week though. Feel free to join in too; they always engage whenever possible 🙂

          1. I saw that they were taking a low key approach to things in the wake of the tragedy. I know I’ll enjoy it when they get back into the humor. We need humor even during tragedy to help us get through, don’t you think?

            1. Yes, there’s a time and place to mark an event of such magnitude, but certainly the Best way has always been humour in adversity here. It helps to keep one sane in the madness! I’m certain they will be back on form shortly…after all, their new book is now funded 😊

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