Meet Dave (and Derek)…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My pen-name is ‘Dave Philpott’, and alongside my dad ‘Derek’ I write letters to famous pop stars and rock groups regarding their lyrics, either pointing out genuine ambiguities or completely and deliberately getting the wrong end of the stick for comedic purposes. We are acting as deranged and audacious members of the public listening to the radio and demanding answers, politely but firmly, with absolutely no right or authority to do so.
The artist, who has been ‘primed’ beforehand and gleefully agrees, then writes a hilarious letter back to us, either admonishing us for our stupidity or admitting that we’re right. This book is a collection of the best letters and responses, compiled into a book.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
They jump out at us when we are exposed to pop music on the radio, or when it’s piped into Superdrug when we’re shopping. We were in a supermarket the other day, for example, and heard Wet, Wet, Wet warbling:
‘’I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.. love is all around me…’’
‘’Sounds more like pins and needles to me, mate’’ I thought. ‘’We’d best get onto them, especially if, as they just admitted, the feeling grows. They best get down the doctor’s’’
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
They are overblown and exaggerated versions of us… and probably most of our fanbase.
How do you pick your characters names?
We wanted generic, mundane names that conjure up images of your next door neighbour
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
It is extremely unusual and dictated by the nature of the project. We wrote to hundreds of artists (but were still picky as they had to fit the ‘vibe’ of the book) asking if they wanted to be involved. We’d only dedicate our efforts to crafting a silly but painstakingly constructed letter once we’d got a definite thumbs up from them. Some letters take hours or even weeks to draft. The book, which took 2 years to put together, expanded in content in a very organic fashion; we’d go days or weeks even without writing, and then 4 pop stars would come back in a day and then 5 the next, so we would then be flat out writing for 6 weeks.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Between the two of us, Wilbur Smith, Campbell Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and Franz Kafka
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
E.L. James or Stephanie Meyer or Dan Brown and I’d probably ask them if they could please, please, please stop writing.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Prolific, yes. I had a love of literature from a very young age and found it the perfect way to escape into imagination. Obviously this was before the days of distractions such as the internet and video games and so was what I did to turn my mind away from day to day worries.
When did you start to write?
My first experience of writing was when I was about twelve years old. I was obsessed with the Loch Ness Monster and read copiously on the subject. I came up with a story which involved a Great White Shark somehow finding its way into the Loch and going head on in a battle with the Monster. It might sound far fetched but somehow it seems to have forewshadowed films such as Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
The Outsider; I’d probably let him off and tell him not to do it again.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The Vampire Lestat, I read it some years ago and was totally captured by it. It was a brilliant take on the folklore and legend around vampires and brought it effortlessly into the 20th century.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
“Do Give Up The Day Job’’
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
‘It would be Alex from A Clockwork Orange, I’d take him to McDonalds and when asked what size coffee he wanted I’d butt in and say ‘De Large”.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on something completely unrelated to this book. I can’t really say too much about it as it is a very new idea and still under development.
Tell us about your last release?
The last thing we released was the first volume of these letters entitled ‘Dear Mr Kershaw’, an altogether more lengthy and difficult process. Not only did we have fewer ‘ins’ to pop stars at that time but we took it upon ourselves to crowdfund, print and distribute the book ourselves from start to finish. It did amazingly well, far better than we could’ve hoped. It was seven years in the making and was a total labour of love. It’s also still available to buy through Amazon! http://amzn.eu/fNuOtwF
Do you have a new release due?
Yes! Dear Mr Pop Star. Which is due to be released around July to September. It is, in essence, a follow up to Dear Mr Kershaw and features about 100 letters from us with replies from the pop stars concerned. Everyone involved has been amazing, really getting into the spirit of things and crafting really funny answers to our frankly ridiculous inquiries. We had some great names in the first book, but this time we’ve outdone ourselves. We have everyone from Devo to Eurthymics with plenty of others in between.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
We generally feel a sense of relief, settle down with a pot of tea and some chocolate Hob-Nobs and vow to each other that we are never, ever going to do this again.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
We post regular updates on the progress of the book on our official Unbound page ( https://unbound.com/books/dear-mr-pop-star/ ) and we can also be found on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/ThePhilpotts/ ) where we have a community of lovely friends.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I guess the question we get asked the most is ‘Are the replies genuinely from the real bona fide pop stars?” and the answer is absolutely yes… It has been amazing to see how the Facebook community has rallied around us to make some of the connections for us, we love how interactive it has all been and we’ve made some good friends as a result. We like to welcome people into our silly little world and hope that your readers join us too.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Dave 🙂
Bought to the printed page on the back of the cult internet sensation and an immensely successful Crowdfunding campaign contributed to by many of the artists involved, ‘’Dear Mr. Kershaw’’ is the result of 7 years’ surreal and quite bonkers work. ‘’Derek’’, with help from his friend ‘’Wilf’’, is a retired gent who back in 2008 set out on a bizarre crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars regarding lyrical inaccuracies and ambiguities in their most famous songs and often hilariously getting the wrong end of the stick. The letters are eminently publishable in their own right, mixing sharp wit, confusion and biscuits with trips to the shops and unarguable logic in relation to questioning the offending chart hits under scrutiny. What makes this book an essential purchase however is that, with the missives online for all to see on what was becoming a hugely popular website, the artists quite unexpectedly started to reply.
‘’Dear Mr. Kershaw’’ features over 65 of the best and funniest letters and responses from famous and legendary names spanning every reach of the pop, rock, metal, prog and punk spectrum, all relishing their involvement ‘’in character’’ and revealing their own in many cases hitherto unknown humorous sides. Amongst those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship are Noddy Holder, Billy Bragg, Was Not Was, The Stereo MCs, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Saxon, Tom Robinson, Stiff Little Fingers, Rick Wakeman, Paul Heaton, Squeeze, Toyah, Howard Jones, The Divine Comedy, Kim Wilde, and of course the gentleman himself Mr Nik Kershaw
Also includes 100 ‘’mini-letters’’ and Polymer Animal Popstars
Highly recommended to anyone who likes music and laughing