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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Dear Mr Pop Star’ by Derek and Dave Philpott

September 20, 2018

Due for release September 2018

 

Sending letters to celebrities, particularly pop stars, is a practise that has been around for years- nearly as long as the concept of the ‘celebrity’ itself has existed, in fact.

But letters to famous musicians, pulling apart (always affectionately, of course) their songs? And not only that, but receiving equally witty and affectionate replies from the musicians themselves?!

Now that’s new.

So I present to you the concept of ‘Dear Mr Pop Star’ devised by the Father and son duo who write under the names Derek and Dave Philpott. This release is in fact the second volume, after the first proved hugely popular with critics and readers alike.

And it’s hardly surprising. One example (and possibly my personal favourite ‘letter’ from the two volumes so far) is addressed to Dr Hook and concerning the song ‘Sylvia’s Mother’- ‘As if being in love with a beautiful woman and suffering her defensive parent were not bad enough, the interminable butting in of the operator demanding 40 cents more for the next three minutes must have been a ‘little bit more’ than infuriating...’! And the genuine reply from Dennis Locorriere (the band’s original lead singer and guitarist) is genius too: ‘Dear Sir (?)...Given that I looked like Bigfoot with a guitar back in those days, I have to assume I would not have been afforded even as brief a conversation as I was on that payphone had the girl’s mother actually been able to see me...’.

As you can probably tell even from that snippet, unless you have read the first volume this book will undoubtedly be unlike anything you have read before in your life. The sheer originality of the letters (as evidenced above) would be enough to keep anyone in possession of a dry sense of humour entertained, but will probably be primarily appreciated by fans of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s music that is lovingly analysed inside; other (un)fortunate recipients of such letters who have also replied, include Tears For Fears, Mott The Hoople, Peter Noone, China Crisis and Strawberry Switchblade (or should that be ‘Fruity Flick Knife?’)

Admittedly, on occasions it takes a few reads to access the humour behind some of the duo’s writings- but only because they often cram so many little amusing quips and remarks into one ‘letter’ that they take a while to sink in.

As a result, whilst it is not recommended for the reader to tackle this book all at once (or indeed at all whilst attempting to drink a hot cup of tea or eat your evening meal), at around 400 pages long its a lovely thing to dip in and out of, retaining analytical charm from start to finish and yet avoiding the pomposity that could so easily be contained in a book like this.

And if you’re still unsure as to whether this should be one of your essential purchases this month (it should be), I’ll leave you with the parting shot of one of the Philpott’s letters which has yet to receive a reply:

‘Dear Ms Carlisle,

Are you sure you don’t mean ‘Devon’?’

 


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‘Dear Mr Pop Star’ is due for release on 20th September 2018 and can be purchased via unbound.com

You can keep up with the duo’s various antics and ‘demented’ (their words, not mine!) letter-writing via: https://m.facebook.com/ThePhilpotts/
 

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