Saturday, November 11, 2023
Dear Catherine Wheel - another winner from Team Philpott!
One of the most endearing and enduring pop journeys of the last few years has been the epistolary odyssey undertaken by the redoubtable members of Team Philpott, who have been firing off missives to some of the most famous and infamous musicians of the last forty years, feigning confusion and asking for clarification on the lyrical content of their most memorable hits.
The enquiries are amusing in and of themselves and they are complemented perfectly by the replies from the actual popstars. This latest volume is a collection of correspondence between the Philpotts and the luminaries of the C86 generation, so readers are treated to the likes of Bis, Fuzzbox, Helen Love, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Utah Saints and many more explaining their songs to a slightly bemused older gentleman who appears to be slightly out of step with the youth of today....and yesterday.
One of the great things about Smash Hits was that the magazine took music very seriously and usually didn't take musicians seriously at all. Something similar happens in these books: the Philpotts take a comically earnest approach to the songs, whilst the musicians are great sports about deflating their own egos.
It's delightful, of course, and will remind some readers of some great bands they might have forgotten, as well as introducing other readers to some great music they haven't heard before - no finer legacy for any book. There's some talk that this will be the last in the series: a shame, if true, but a finale every bit as entertaining as all the previous volumes.
It's nearly Christmas: don't just tell your friends and family that you love them - demonstrate how much you love them by popping a copy of Dear Catherine Wheel in their stockings. As before, a donation from the sale of each book will be made to charities helping people experiencing homelessness - a cause which is even more laudable now than ever before - so Dear Catherine Wheel will ease your conscience whilst tickling your funny bone.
Get your copy of Dear Catherine Wheel here or here!