What the pop world and media say:-
''Somewhere between Henry Root and John Shuttleworth - what a hoot!'' Julie Burchill
''Now we have Wilf and Derek, two Bournemouth OAPS who write to pop stars old and new, taking them to task for their absurd lyrics. Follow their adventures'' Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard
''Good luck, the both of you x'' David Quantick
''Thanks for the brilliant work and for allowing me fence with such a formidable comic swordsman. Count me in for whatever helps the Grand Cause!!'' Dave Was, Was Not Was
I love the feel of your jibe...Whatever you do will be creative and great. Hope I can help''..Chris Difford, Squeeze
''I can see so much potential here for a book a series all sorts.. so many readers and musicians alike love what you do. I would buy your book. Writers are artists too'' Saffron, Republica
''I am humbled, I am not worthy'' Tim Dorney, Flowered Up
At last - something for the Booker Prize judges to vote unanimously on'' Bob Grover, The Piranhas
''Best of Luck with the book mate not that you need it, Love your work'' Henry Priestman, ex-The Christians
''Great fun, thanks for getting in touch'' Roland, Tears For Fears
''Hey Del/Wilf, You can do it! Let me have the link in due course and I’ll get it up on the website. Crack on my sons…….'' Mark King, Level 42
''You have my support with your crowd funding project, and of course I will be happy to blast it on my social media when its ready. Go for it!'' Howard Jones
''I am absolutely honoured and flattered to be wriiten one of these letters'' The Doctor, Doctor and The Medics
''Really glad that my missive fit the bill. I've had a great response to it - thanks again for including me...Happy to put up a link to your crowd-funding appeal. Let me know when it's live'' Billy Bragg
''We love to be a part of your community. Thanks for the laugh, Stay cool as ****'' The Inspiral Carpets
''It was only ever a matter of time. Talent will out! Your book will be fabulous'' Julianne Regan All About Eve and Solo.
''If my contribution has been a small catalyst for your success I'm very flattered. It's Great. Love and peace'' Tasmin Archer
''You, and your followers, are some funny ************s! A brilliant experience.."" Greg Douglass, Steve Miller Band
''Absolutely LOVE IT'!' Nik Kershaw
''Very amusing'' Neil Hannon
''What a grand idea'' Richard Coles, The Communards
''Hope its cool man i had a laugh doing it --the pleasure is all mine you nutter :)'' Rob Birch, Stereo MCs
''Delighted to be of service Derek. May I congratulate your good self and your partner Wilf on your splendid website. I promise to spread the word. And yes, let's please stay in touch'' Glenn Gregory, Heaven 17
''Wishing you both ongoing success with your wonderfully witty funny critiques !!!! You have struck gold deservedly and are becoming superstars!!'' Anita Chellamah, Toto Coelo
''Delighted to engage in correspondence with you and happy to contribute to your excellent page thingy. We'll certainly put a link when you send us the crowd-fund details'' Tom Robinson
"It was most enjoyable to be involved in a letter that did not involve one of my ex wives’ solicitors" - Rick Wakeman
''Thank you for dragging my song through your mangle and may your project be everything you'd like it to be'' Vic Godard
Your letter is wonderful and I would be honoured to be able to offer some explanation for your most amusing project Neal WhItmore, Sigue Sigue Sputnik
''I am so very glad you like my reply you gentleman. I love your stuff and wanted to do it justice''Gary Clarke, Danny Wilson
Fanx for the opportunity to participate, and your kind response! So few of us so called 'popstars' have the ability or desire to take the p*** out of ourselves! Long may you reign, and keep up the good work'' Sad Cafe
''Your grasp of vernacular is immense. I suspect a language A level or two? This is priceless. Laughing my head off'' Ian McNabb, The Icicle Works
''Well! How marvellous an idea and so well crafted! Am honoured and delighted to be a part of such shenanigans! God Bless! X'' Yazz
''Delighted to be of service Derek. May I congratulate your good self and your partner Wilf on your splendid website. I promise to spread the word. And yes, let's please stay in touch'' Damian O'Neill The Undertones
''Absolutely Brilliant'' Cutting Crew
''Hope it's a huge success for you! Glad you liked it. It was fun'' Jake Burns, Stiff Little Fingers''
''Hi Derek, I will definitely post a link when you have the crowd-fund up and running , it will be a success I think'' Dave Stewart
''Thanks Derek it was fun really glad you liked it:-). You can't fail'' Fish
“JoBoxers were very pleased to be involved in this slick and satisfying bout. JoBoxers say Cheers!' Dave Collard, Joboxers
''In this day and age of 'social media' and all its superficial associations, it is nice to be reminded that there are people out there who are manning the pumps for common sense and good manners who appreciate the finer things in life like allottments and fine home brew..'' Martin Coogan, The Mock Turtles
By way of an explanation, from Derek
What a long journey it's been, 7 years in the making!
Back in 2008 I was at a wedding with my friend Wilf Turnbull who, like myself, is a retired gentleman from Bournemouth, when the DJ played, as Wilf put it 'that' The Jacksons. I admit at this juncture that ale had been copiously imbibed at the free bar and after a third mushroom vol au vent, as little Michael and the rest of his sibling quintet's song filled the air (not literally), I remember Wilf suddenly standing stock still and declaring that sunshine, moonlight, good times and boogie can hardly be held accountable for a failed romance. Then, mid chicken drumstick, the DJ put Living In A Box on and we wondered why in heaven’s name a pop star would be residing within a cardboard box, given that the job is notoriously well-paid?
I asked Wilf what in the blazes we were going to do about it and after a bit of thought we decided that there was one course of action available to us. ......... There was nothing for it other than to write to both of them, and take them to task by letter over their questionable lyrics.
We very soon realised that The Jacksons and Living In A Box were not the only culprits guilty of lyrical ambiguities or inaccuracies. As our journey through decades of pop and rock began we discovered more and more dubious claims and declarations which we felt needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We were polite but firm. Sometimes we just gave helpful advice. Sometimes we invited the artist to events at our homes and in Bournemouth and its surrounding areas, which we referenced frequently - they are just normal people after all aren't they? Occasionally we apparently got the wrong end of the stick, but we carried on regardless. To make matters worse (or better, depending upon one's viewpoint), some younger immediate family members who were extremely knowledgable in musical matters caught wind of our exploits and proceeded to expose us to pop groups and music that we never would have otherwise chanced upon. They would play us the 'offending material' and at the end often chuckle and say things like:
''Are they human or are they dancers?? Are you REALLY going to let them get away with that??!!''
It was almost as though the young scamps were baiting us…
Not really knowing what to do next, and with the help of these mischief makers and some admittedly bemused friends and family members, a wonderful website was built with links to our letters, and social networking pages were set up for us. From very humble beginnings of chatting between ourselves to fifty or so ''virtual friends'', the interest in our letters began to grow organically, and quickly. We remain close friends and I am honoured and delighted that he still helps out when able (superbly I may add) but at this time Wilf decided to take a back seat simply because of other commitments and because my own output became so prolific that he felt I was handling pop lyric affairs more than amply by myself.
The letters started to become very very popular. One talented fan and friend was so inspired by that he turned our 'adventures' into a short animated series, quite brilliantly. As popularity grew rumours even spread that the letters were the work was not of ''Joe Public'' but of a group of journalists or people connected to the top of the music business, or even the artists themselves. Questions were raised in Parliament.*
Then, one day in 2010, the most remarkable and quite unexpected thing happened.
The pop stars began to reply…
I can take no personal credit for this remarkable development. Although I had tentatively attempted to send our letters to the artists via ''official channels'' such as management and record companies early on into the missives, my requests for responses, perhaps understandably, were ignored and left unanswered. Quite simply, as my online status grew to astronomical levels, it was my army of ''fans'', friends that I enjoyed connecting with of all ages, all over the world, that have been wholly instrumental in putting me in touch with an ever-growing number of musicians, be it through personal associations or their standings as long-term fans of the artists. My ''good-natured haranguing notoriety'' escalated at an alarming rate. Eventually I even achieved the level whereby the pop stars, management and agents etcetera were telling each other of my exploits, feeding me ''leads'', all around the back door of the industry, so to speak, and some were even requesting that I write to them.
So here I am, everybody, now famous (or infamous) and featured in the mainstream media, on hundreds of internet forums and websites, on radio and in magazines around the whole world, and being invited via backstage passes to 'hang out' with pop stars that I am flattered to say love the letters and their involvement via their responses. Indeed, I am very pleased to have acted in my own small way as a conduit between the pop stars and their followers; the former who often gleefully get in touch to thank me for finally getting to the bottom of lyrical conundrum that had been bugging them for years and the latter pleased to respond via a friendly and light-hearted public platform to answer questions that have been asked of them for years.
I have had many approaches over the years to compile my collective letters into a book and having investigated all routes available decided that by far the best method of doing so was to do it myself, via the Crowd Funding route. Some publishers in the distant past have insisted that some letters should be ''toned down'', tweaked or a certain long or flowery word omitted as ''no-one knows what that means''. By ''going it alone'', not only do I retain full creative control, but, just as crucially this wonderful organic process neutered by those, i.e. my social networking internet friends and other international friends that made it happen, continues.......
For those of you who missed the Crowd Funding "window of opportunity" the book is now being made available through the (fiercely independent) vinyl-only record label Plane Groovy.
So friends old and new, thank you, thank you all for this wonderful and completely unexpected journey at this juncture of my life. It's been, and continues to be, emotional.
Now let's get this book out and get the whole world involved shall we? ;)
I have to go now. Bargain Hunt's on...