Septuagenarian Wilf Turnbull and his friend Derek Philpott are taking the music world by storm with their letters to pop stars, challenging them over the lyrical content of their compositions. The Bournemouth based OAP's journey through decades of pop and rock has led them to discover more and more dubious lyrical claims and declarations they felt needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency, though it should be noted they do sometimes get the wrong end of the stick!
Polite yet firm letters written to The Eurythmics, Paul Heaton, The Christians, Marillion, Billy Bragg, The Stranglers, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw and countless others are published on the gentleman's website together the pop stars' priceless replies. Completely unconnected to the music world, Wilf and Derek's army of fans have been instrumental in putting them in touch with an ever-growing number of musicians, and their letter writing is nothing short of prolific with over one hundred and fifty written so far.
The latest pop stars to reply have taken Wilf and Derek's story to an even bigger audience. Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy hasn't given a press interview for a number of years, but given that his sometime guitarist Tosh Flood is such a fan of their pair, he was delighted to receive a letter and was more than happy to provide a lengthy reply, in which he assured Wilf and Derek that "Our state-of-the-art facilities in Hemel Hempstead have been designed to be the perfect environment for the production of unnecessarily orchestrated pseudo-intellectual post Brit-pop music, and have won many prestigious awards."
Greg Douglass from The Steve Miller Band had this to say when contacted by Derek and Wilf, "I am not Steve Miller. Let us get that much clear immediately. I am much poorer, have far less talent, and am immensely better-looking than the mysterious Mr. Miller. I did, however, work with Steve as a part of his band for several years, having co-written and played guitar on his hit "Jungle Love", the song that answers the burning question, "What would happen if Dr. Seuss took an enormous dose of LSD?" The fact that I see Steve once a year gives me, to my sociopathic manner of thinking, complete permission to handle all his musical and personal affairs." Greg then went on to give a full account of the meanings behind some of the band's most famous lyrics in a letter that is as surreal as it is hilarious.
A letter to Toto Coelo prompted an almost confessional reply from Anita Chellamah as she thanked Wilf and Derek for highlighting her plight. "I was a vegetarian and suffered greatly with "I Eat Cannibals ". The fact that I succumbed to an illegal act which was celebrated all over the world had me awake for many a night (that and the rustling sound of the plastic bin bags we wore). Roasting vitamins took me back to a vegetarian state of mind! But the power of 'Eating Cannibals' was so great that sadly I returned to being a carnivore and life has never been the same since."
So charmed was Saffron from Republica by her letter that she replied very promptly to say "Thank you so much for your tip regarding the 'Pub' in our name. From now on we will be billed as 'The Pubs' to reflect current trends as it is in fact our natural habitat. When we next do a show in Bournemouth it would be wonderful to meet you. I will bring cake."
Wilf and Derek’s story has touched people all over the world, with their letters providing much needed laughter. One fan was so inspired by the pair he has turned their adventures into a short animated series, which can be found on YouTube: http://youtu.be/MGsUXyPvqRA
Derek and Wilf were recently featured on the Dangerous Minds website which led to a surge of traffic to their own, amounting to 40,000 unique visitors in three days. It is a testamant to the pair's touching naivety that they viewed this as the opportunity to make lots of new friends as they put as much effort into replyling to their ever increasing amount of fanmail as they do to writing to pop stars.
Should you wish to feature Bournemouth’s most celebrated OAP pop crusaders, Wilf and Derek are available for interviews, but unfortunately they are unable to travel as one gentleman has some mobility issues.