Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Dear Mr. Le Bon

There's a new Kickstarter campaign in town called "Dear Mr. Le Bon - A Pensioner Writes."  Who is this Mr. Le Bon?  Well gather round children, let me tell you a story.  Many years ago, three decades ago, we had a couple of kayaks to sell.  No Ebay or Gumtree back then so we put an advert in the window of Hedge End Post Office.  I had a phone call from a chap named Skip, a sailing man, who wanted the kayaks for the crew of his yacht to play on.  

Well that's not strictly true.  It wasn't his yacht.  He was skipper but he was a hired hand.  The owners were a bona fide Pop Star from the New Romantic band Duran Duran named Simon le Bon and his managers, the Berrows Brothers.  Simon said - so Skip bought the boats.  Fifty quid each.

During that summer Drum was based at Moody's on the Hamble River.  One fine, sunny Wednesday I had canoed up the Upper Hamble with a bunch of people and had stopped to have lunch on the river bank.  The way you do (the way I did thirty years ago anyway).  As we were sitting there we saw a couple of kayaks coming upstream. Oh look, says I, there's those two kayaks we sold.  As they got closer we realised that it was none other than Simon le Bon himself (and his brother Jonny).  In our scabby old kayaks.  Not something you see everyday.

In August 1985 Drum took part in the Fastnet Race.  During the race the boat's keel fell off, causing Drum to capsize resulting in much chuckling from the old sea dogs in The Old Ship at Lower Swanwick, not to mention a fair amount of "OiToldYerSo" from the salty dogs in the Bugle, Victory, King & Queen and Rising Sun.

None of which has anything to do with "Dear Mr Le Bon".

"Dear Mr Le Bon" is the title of a book being kickstarted down the coast from Hamble, in Bournemouth.  It is the work of one Derek Philpott and his good friend Wilf Turnbull.  Neither of these gentlemen have ever sold a kayak to Simon Le Bon.  What Messrs Philpott and Turnbull have done is to spend seven years taking Pop Stars to task for their questionable lyrics.  You can read the best of them here: www.wilfturnbull.co.uk

Over to Derek:

Wilf Turnbull & Derek Philpott

Correcting Pop Stars Since 2008 ™

In 2008 a wedding DJ played Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like a Wolf’. That DJ had no idea his choice of song would lead to the birth of a pop culture phenomenon…  

On hearing the chorus of the lupine-themed eighties hit, septuagenarian Wilf Turnbull turned to his friend Derek Philpott and asked

“Derek, old chum - why are the New Romantics only interested in wolves’ appetite pangs? Don’t they know that penguins can get peckish?” Derek agreed, declaring that “ravens get ravenous and ferrets famished!” The next choice of song from the DJ was even more troubling to the pair. As ‘'Living in a Box’' filled the room, and between visits to the buffet, Wilf and Derek wondered why a pop star would possibly choose to ‘live in a box’ rather than a house or a flat, given they were probably quite well paid. The friends decided there was only one course of action available to them; they would take these pop stars to task, by letter.

As the Bournemouth based gentlemen’s journey through decades of pop and rock began, they discovered more and more dubious lyrical claims and declarations that they felt needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Polite yet firm letters were written to The Eurythmics, Paul Heaton, The Christians, Marillion, Billy Bragg, The Stranglers, Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. And then something quite unexpected happened. The pop stars began to reply. With the help of younger family members, a website was built and links to the hilarious letters and their sporting replies were shared on social networks. As a consequence, Wilf and Derek have become very popular on Facebook where they enjoy making friends of all ages, all over the world. Their 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.

That was written a while ago.  Things have moved on since then.  Now Derek is working on getting the book published, featuring some of the best letters and their replies.  You can help Derek's Kickstarter campaign by clicking here.  You really should.  It's your chance to be a part of literary history.

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