Anorak News | The Letters of Wilf Turnbull and Derek Philpott (Best Of)

The Letters of Wilf Turnbull and Derek Philpott (Best Of)

by | 5th, September 2014

Wilf Turnbull and Derek Philpott


WILF Turnbull and Derk Philpott are two pensioners living in Bournemouth, Dorset. They “write to popstars about their song lyrics, and they often reply.”

Letter Number 1:

Dear Republica
Re: Ready To Go

As you may be aware, the house opposite have just had a loft conversion done, which was sadly undertaken by a disreputable contractor, resulting in a profoundly fissured chimney breast, haphazard joists and a shoddily grouted dormer susceptible to complete de-glazing in the face of nothing more potent than an errant shuttlecock.

Once alerted, Bournemouth Borough Council inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of the discreditable garret and, horrified by their findings, insisted upon the ignominious sky parlor being fully ameliorated prior to building approval being granted. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the defects properly, the owners opted for a much more economical ‘botch-job’, which incorporated half a tub of Polyfilla and an unmatching Dulux Tester Pot in an attempted concealment of the afore-mentioned flue crevice.

It was with some dismay, but no little surprise therefore, that my wife Jean and I were awakened this morning by both her PC tablet alarm clock (tuned, obviously, to Bournemouth’s peerless Wave 105.2 FM) and an almighty ruckus coming from across the road. Further investigation from a discreet gap in the curtains revealed that the officials had returned to the slapdash attic, and, thoroughly unimpressed by the frugal and deceptive improvements undertaken, were now teetering precariously astride the tiles and pointing at the stack, angrily and loudly protesting at its deceptive restoration.

It was at this very juncture in the confrontational governing body/extra storey owner proceedings that your “technopop punk classic” came on just after the travel, ”it’s a crack, I’m back yeah standing on the rooftops shouting out” uncannily acting as an eerie narrative to the scene that we were witnessing at that very instant. There, however, any similarity ended; far from being ”ready to go”, the furious officials seemed intent on maintaining their ‘lofty’ position until the matter could be resolved.

Notwithstanding this last incongruity, Jean and I remain extremely impressed by your local authority versus resident soundscaping abilities, although must take issue with your assertion that one week is another world; it is, inactuality not a different planet but a seven day unit ot time.

Finally, Jean has just suggested from the kitchen, where she is toasting a muffin, that in the current climate of so many establishments closing, you may be well advised to consider renaming your indie combo ‘ReWineBarLica’ or ‘ReBeersAtHomeLica’, in order to reflect current trends.


Derek Philpott


It gets a reply:

Reply from Rob Birch received 16/7/14

Hey Mr.Philpott,

Thanks for your letter and request for our dj spot.
Your extensive queries and demands left us kinda lost for words rather than “lost in music” but after reflection we figured your trying to strike a hard bargain so “I see through you” man

I’m definite we can satisfy all of your misgivings even if they are a bit deep down and dirty-we have the capacity to “move it” when your concerning yourself with a nice-up dance , but please, no vol au vents.

If it is club policy to separate djs to the left and right then you’ll have to check health and safety about me frisbeeing records across to my partner Nick when he requests them and keep well out of harms way or you could be “playing with fire” and we don’t want no trouble in said disco.

Mc five alive will deal with the party moves but I can’t vouch for they’re decency, though he’s a regular up in Cambridges Warning d n b nights so he can’t be that offensive. Just put us up in a nice b n b and put a bottle of jaegermeister on the rider and we’ll all be happy in “the end”.

We’re fine with the line dancing and the country and western providing you provide a mosh pit as the combination of that and techno is bound to send us jumping off high places and no doubt wanting to “do it again”.

As for the gaffing down of cables–no prob–and we usually travel with 2 security to “keep up the pressure” to whom we have speaker cabinets velcro-ed to their chests -safe as houses and troublemakers get a good shake up when approached. To put it short,we guarantee our gear will stay put but I can’t take liability for your building as this heady cocktail of music might play havoc with your foundations after we’ve been at it “all night long”.

If you really feel the need to take desperate measures in the event of some mash up I can always do a spot of juggling and Nick knows some Tommy Cooper jokes that I got off the internet but if you get Mr.Beck as back-up, although he’s a quality act, he might cost a few bob and does he know any jokes about your mother in law? I reckon you’ll end up the “loser”.

Having heard that your nights are fairly prestigious boasting a substantial hall of fame on its books , payment should take the form of a second hand ford escort left round the back to avoid any unnecessary paperwork, so I can “check the new ride out ” at the end of what will be a total stimulation of pure “creation” of a night.

Can we pencil this one in Derek?




Dear Rick Wakeman

As a fellow parent, I hope that you can be of assistance.

Regretfully I must confide that my grandson’s school has been lagging behind somewhat in the department of GCSE pass grades, according to the official Ofsted statistics. Upon close scrutiny of said cavillous data, a vast chasm of success between certain subjects included in the field of the humanities was unveiled. In order to rectify this situation it has been decided that the Secondary Modern should meld an area in which they excel with one that requires improvement, in order to perhaps subliminally spur the deficient pupils into favourable academia. They will therefore be staging a special event ‘going for the one’ area of the curriculum that the students are most adept at, Music, and combining it with History, where they are clearly floundering. This unique affair will be billed and promoted as ‘Pastonbury’.

As the original artists have not as yet come back to us we have implemented a contingency plan by putting down 10% refundable deposits on tribute artists Phony M (Rasputin), NO.M.D (Joan of Arc and possibly Enola Gay) and West London’s foremost piano / vocal ‘soundalike’ Feltham John, who will be performing ‘Candle In The Wind’ twice (covering off Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana for no additional fee) before travelling back in time for a pre-booked engagement at Isleworth Royal British Legion.

We wonder if you would be willing to help out by coming along in the afternoon and doing your King Arthur after the tombola. As the event is pencilled in for mid-May there is unfortunately little chance of the playground freezing over in deference to The Empire Pool recitals, so we would be having you indoors, although you should be put on notice that the parquet flooring, not unlike the aforementioned auditorium’s performance surface, can be particularly treacherous when newly waxed, especially when negotiated in socks.

One of the Heads of Year, Ms. Braithwaite, who is a keen enthusiast of ‘progressive rock’, mooted that as you would be here anyway you may as well play ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ in its entirety. However, although she was thanked for her pro-active suggestion, which was duly minuted, the Board of Governors voted to the contrary on the grounds that sadly they only had use of the Main Hall until 8pm, at which time it would have to be vacated in order to make way for the caretaker, and also that, being an instrumental piece, the children may become fidgety if sat cross-legged for such a long period. Furthermore, the organisers had not the resources to stage a slide-show or ‘power point presentation’ with the facility to depict an image of each ecclesiastical revisionist spouse in order to distinguish one set of your ‘moog stylings’ and going up and down the keyboard as fast as possible from another. It was therefore instead decided that they would ‘go with’ the remnants of Hermans Hermits, as a far less convoluted if admittedly factually inaccurate reference to said morbidly rotund tyrannical Tudor patriarch.

As they are somewhat restricted in terms of budget, it has been proposed that your fuel costs to and from Bournemouth would be fully re-imbursed upon provision of valid receipts, and in order to save your back you will not be expected to bring your ‘banks’ of synthesisers, ‘mellowtrons’, electrical harpsichords and other such
paraphernalia. You will instead be provided with two nearly new Bontempi organs temporarily borrowed by the gym mistress, Miss Mallard, from the stockroom of the local Sue Ryder shop on Wimbourne Road where she volunteers two hours of her time of a Saturday. This is an additional bonus for the co-ordinators as stage space is at a premium (although thankfully, not vertically, given that the vaulted ceiling would provide ample room for your pointy hat)

Sadly, Mr Balakrishnan, whose daughter Neeta often brings authentic homemade dishes in to school to share amongst her classmates and her tutors, will not be in attendance as he will be away visiting relatives in Tamil Nadu. He would have been delighted to have provided you with bindi bhaji, stuffed paratha and Bombay aloo (of a fashion familiar to those inadvertently ordered by yourself on the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour and consumed during a lengthy ‘percussive interlude’) , but as a compromise we will be happy to send the school captain out to go and get a 60 piece Indian platter from the Iceland on Christchurch Road, which will be balanced ‘close to the edge’ of the instruments during your recital.

My wife, Jean, is something of a wizard seamstress and, as a token of thanks for your time, has acquiesced to run up a cape to add to your probably already varied and vast wardrobe, free of charge. The kaleidoscopic dolman would be adapted from last term’s Year 10 production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’s backdrop, and she has asked me to enquire after your collar and chest measurements, as well as your height, so that she can ensure a perfect fit

We anxiously await your response Sir and sincerely hope that it is one of acceptance, in order that we may not be forced to resort to Dick Fakeman .


Derek Philpott

Reply from Rick Wakeman, Received 26/3/2014

Dear Mr Philpott,

I am writing in regard to your kind invitation of the 18th March 2014, whereby you enquire of the possibility of my performing a mixed repertoire at your grandson’s educational establishment. I was immediately drawn to the notion of the pupils’ favouring both music and history and could not help but draw the conclusion that they must surely represent my next tier of fandom. One must therefore take such requests with due sincerity and dignity.

I fear however, that perhaps you are underestimating the workload therein, so feel duly obliged to appraise you of the undertaking.

Firstly, to the matter of King Arthur. Whilst I do note your scheduling and the likely, but not impossible, lack of ice, I should draw your attention to our backup plan of having the performers wear roller skates in lieu of ice skates. Surely the newly waxed auditorium would not fare well with the oft performed braking maneuvers of the skaters, all performed of course, in perfect synchronicity with the music? I fear I must insist on a disclaimer totally freeing the performers from any requirement to “make good” the surface after the event.

And the horses? Perhaps the school has a gardening patch that could be used for the disposal of, well let’s just say any aftermath of the horse’s excitement at the Moog solos?

Moving on to the Six Wives, I do note your time reservations, but I perhaps should draw your attention to one of my lesser known works which was in fact the 4 Wives of Rick Wakeman, a recording in four movements but the first three of these are rarely played due to the expense necessary to relive these pieces of my history. The 4th movement is playable but is still ongoing and we have yet to reach the ending.

As to your kind reimbursement of petrol offer, I really think that given the somewhat charitable nature of this event, I could see my way to waiving those charges, especially now that modern orchestras are more than familiar with public transport – most bus doors these days being more than wide enough to accommodate the double bass and timpani that alas were ruled out by Routemasters and most of the musicians I work with have bus passes.

And I fear you haven’t read my riders of late. Whilst Mr Balakrishnan’s cuisine would indeed have more than accommodated my needs in times gone by, you’ll find me much slimmer these days. Perhaps the school captain could be persuaded to pick some choice salad greens, with perhaps a small request for radish? I certainly like to replace the curry effects where possible. These days most of my cuisine is in fact pureed.

Finally, the tipping point of the request must surely be the temptation of yet another cape for my collection, you just cannot have too many and they do tend to get somewhat tarnished and torn on the aforementioned public transport and also during my moonlighting exploits by helping out Batman when he’s a bit busy.. And to have it fashioned out of none other than a Technicolour Dreamcoat? Well, you obviously know my connections to dear Sir Tim Rice – a more fitting repurposing I cannot possibly imagine! I shall have my tailor forward current measurements forthwith (as previously noted, they’re shrinking by the week!)

So in conclusion Mr Philpott, I’m sure we can come to some arrangement for this performance, whilst noting your standby of Mr Fakeman, I really don’t want to leave you with a replacement Dick on the night. Replacements Dicks are so often a letdown.

I look forward to hearing more from you in due course…

With deep anticipation I await your reply,
Rick Wakeman




Dear Mr. Kershaw

“Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes,” you suggest, in your catchy offering.

However, I suspect that such a “Footwear Exchange” would be less than successful, in that we probably take different sizes. I fear that my size 8 (European Size 42) Hush Puppies may chafe your feet after a short while on stage or at home, causing discomfort and blisters. Therefore, I feel that we should both remain in our own choice of footwear for the foreseeable future.

Yours sincerely,

Wilf Turnbull


Reply from Mr. Kershaw

Dear Mr Turnbull

Thank you for your letter of the 3rd of October.

Whilst I am grateful for your concern regarding my podiatric well being, I feel it necessary to avail you of the following fact:

It may interest you to learn that I take a size 7 (European size 40) shoe and, therefore, chafing would not be an issue.

Indeed, during the winter months, I find the space available in my shoes insufficient whilst wearing both woollen tights and and a thick sock. On these occasions, I respectfully suggest, it would be good to be in your shoes (even if it was for just one day).


Nik Kershaw


Read on.

Posted: 5th, September 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music Comment | TrackBack | Permalink