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 mundane daily chores with trips to the shops, daytime telly, Derek’s legs playing up, 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’’ will feature up to 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.
Amongst those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship so far are Dr. from Dr. and The Medics, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Melanie, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Cutting Crew, It Bites, Mott The Hoople, Fuzzbox, Men Without Hats, China Crisis, Mental As Anything, The Rezillos, Saxon, John Otway, The Human League, Chesney and Chip Hawkes, Tenpole Tudor, Katrina and the Waves, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Heaven 17, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Matthew Wilder, Liquid Gold, The Christians, Paper Lace, Dodgy, Wild Cherry, The Housemartins, Johnny Hates Jazz, The Wurzels, Peter Noone, Suzi Quatro, Strawberry Switchblade, Danny Wilson, Racey, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Bauhaus, Climax Blues Band, Country Joe and The Fish, The Jags, EMF, T’Pau, Daevid Allen, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Nu Shooz, Owen Paul, Steve Ellis of Love Affair, Hazell Dean, The Knack, The Maisonettes, Del Amitri, The Skids, Jesus Jones, The Soup Dragons, City Boy, The Kursaal Flyers, Fischer Z, Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Scarlet Fantastic, Junior, Spear of Destiny, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, plus many more promised.
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.
Dear Hazell Dean,
I found your song on the internet whilst looking for how to get to friends in Hazeldene, Chieveley.
In these celebrity and appearance-obsessed times it is admirable that you are searchin' (looking for love) for a man who needn't be handsome or have fortune or fame.
I fear however that you may be setting your sights a bit low, Ms Dean. You appear, rather than ''looking for someone to share your life" with' on nights out with friends or on tentative dates, to be ''seekin' '' a long-term partner either on the train, or, more worryingly, as reinforced by your disclosure that you ''want no disguises'', a Police I.D. Parade, as you ''move on down the line''.
It is suspected that your judgement may have been impaired by ''never sleepin''' and that there is no guarantee that a stranger on the Underground, or for that matter, from the Underworld is likely to be ''sweet and kind'.'
''Whatever You Do, Wherever You Go'', Ms. Dean, I implore you to be cautious in your quest and not to explore ''every place you can''.
Dear Mr Philpott
Think not of “Searchin’” as a light-hearted missive, extolling the virtues of promiscuity.
No! This work should be considered a seminal piece – a late 20th Century celebration of the seeking of love above all else.
Looking for love
All the time I can.
Looking for love
I've got to find a man.”
This is not a transient pop song, but should be compared as contemporary to the popularist lyrics of Byron, Browning, Rossetti and Wilde.
Were these great romantics ever concerned by the trivialities of sleep sir? I think not.
As the great Oscar Wilde himself wrote:
"You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear."
Additionally, aspersions cast on my predilection for members of the criminal fraternity are most unwelcome and unfounded,and I would therefore be grateful if you could leave me to my insomnia and romantic musings in peace.
Further to this, over the past 35 years I have received 100’s of photographs of dull establishments bearing any vague semblance of my name, in its many variants. The highlights of which include a B&B in Blackpool, and cattery in Crewe and a hovel somewhere slightly South of Brighton.
Why people presume these will interest or even slightly amuse me, I do not know.
Would you enjoy receiving a steady and annually persistent selection of “Philpotts Avenue’s”, “Philpotts Crescents” and “The Philpott Home for the Perpetually Ridiculous”? The novelty wears off very quickly I can assure you.
Quite frankly Mr Philpott the locating of your friends at Hazeldene, Chievely, is of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever.
Hello all 418 of you!!!
We are 69% Funded!!!! This is due in no small part to a flood of pledges that came in from brand new fans courtesy of Dr. from the Medics' fantastic video 2 weeks ago and, it must be said, a MASSIVE donation from long time fan and champion Mr. Maurice Thomas who donated a proportion of his HOUSE SALE to the project
Finally, we attach below a revised list of contributors…
In addition to the marvellous video above we are delighted to tell all 383 of you wonderful people that
OOOh...we're (over) halfway there!
Hello to all 340 of you! Since last update we are now just over 50% funded which is a massive milestone
As if that was not good enough news even more artists are onboard (we are not telling you who just yet - bird in the hand all that) and we have received spectacular replies from:-
Matthew ''Break My Stride'' Wilder
Eddie and the Hot Rods
Dear The Moody Blues, in order to help the environment and create more space in your houses, and with the advent of modern technology, may I suggest than rather than write letters that you are never meaning to send, you may be better advised to compose the pointless missives as emails which can then be saved to the 'Draft Folder' on your computers
Hello to all 318 of you! Since last update…
I hope that you will forgive my observing that since naming yourselves in the 1980’s it could be argued that technological advances have rendered your present monicker slightly passé. "It Doesn't Have To Be That Way", Erasure. With the archaic necessity of rubbing out spelling mistakes virtually supplanted, via the near obsolescence of both the typewriter and pencil and papers, by…
These people are helping to fund Dear Mr. Pop Star.