Published by Unbound on September 20, 2018
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For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either 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 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. With the missives online for all to see on what was becoming a hugely popular website, 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 corresponding with themselves, establishing contact through personal connections.
‘Dear Mr. Popstar’’ proudly features 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.
Those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship are:- Deep Purple, Dr. from Dr. and The Medics, Nik Kershaw, Judas Priest, Starship, Tears For Fears, The Eurythmics, Wreckless Eric, Landscape, Smokie, The Strawbs, The Belle Stars, Van Der Graaf Generator, Martha and the Muffins, Thunder, Squeeze, Dean Friedman, Fairground Attraction, The Ruts, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Melanie, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Republica, Then Jerico, Dr. Hook, Toploader, Cutting Crew, Lindisfarne, Spinal Tap, Mott The Hoople, Fuzzbox, Men Without Hats, China Crisis, Mental As Anything, David MacIver and Rupert Hine (Quantum Jump), Timbuk 3, The Rezillos, Saxon, John Otway, The Human League, Chesney and Chip Hawkes, Tenpole Tudor, Shakatak, Katrina and the Waves, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Heaven 17, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Matthew Wilder, Middle of the Road, Liquid Gold, The Christians, Paper Lace, Dodgy, Daevid Allen, Bruce Woolley, Country Joe and The Fish, Sad Cafe, The Housemartins, Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Johnny Hates Jazz, The Wurzels, Peter Noone, Suzi Quatro, Strawberry Switchblade, Danny Wilson, Racey, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Fiddler's Dram, Bauhaus, Climax Blues Band, The Jags, EMF, T’Pau, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Nu Shooz, Owen Paul, Steve Hackett, Steve Ellis of Love Affair, Hazell Dean, The Knack, The Maisonettes, Del Amitri, The Skids, Jesus Jones, The Soup Dragons, City Boy, Modern Romance, Wang Chung, The Kursaal Flyers, Fischer Z, Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Scarlet Fantastic, The B52s. Junior, Spear of Destiny, 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.
Not quite sure how to review this one. It is not a book per se, but a collection of some of the funniest letters to, yeah you guessed it, pop stars.
I am going to admit from the start, some of these I had to google some of the songs and pop stars but straight away I recognised about 80% of them! I am gutted that some of the letters were unanswered as I think the responses could have been epic!
However, the letters we do have responses to were epic!
I am so honoured to have received a random email one Sunday morning from Dave, asking if I would be interested in taking part in this tour, and I read everything he sent and even my friends who were with me, said this sounded like so much fun!
This tour is huge and I am so happy to be apart of it. When a book is boasting of letters from Wang Chung and Heaven 17 on the front cover, I was sold, I love them both and come on who does not love a bit of Dance Hall Days!
The first letter in and I was struggling to not laugh out loud where Mr Philpott is questioning the Doctor and The Medics on their band name and the response that comes with it. Epic (I know I have said words a LOT but that is what it is!!) To move onto Dr Hook, and I knew I couldn’t contain the giggles for long, especially the letter that was send back.
I love how he questions Cutting Crew on their hit I (Just) died in your arms, and whether this could actually happen. I could go on and on, so many of my favourite songs in this book being questioned, and it was a shame some of the bands/singers did not take part in this. The one to Take That surely deserved an answer
This is the sort of book that you could pick up and down so many times and never get bored. This is someone taking the lyrics and band names to the literal sense and just asking the questions we all probably think when we hear things on the radio. It takes me back to my youth, remembering each song, and then off to YouTube playing the songs whilst reading add to a fuller experience, I think I might have to make a playlist of the songs that received answers and call it my Dear Mr Pop Star list when I need a pick me up.
What makes this book what it is, is the seriousness of Mr Philpott and the responses they receive in return, it just makes everything so much funnier as each
Honestly, if there is one book out there that will put a smile on your face it will be this one!
*Thank you so much to the author Dave and Derek for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review*
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges: