So, what exactly did you do during lockdown? Did you use all that time to get yourself fit, or maybe you finally took up that hobby you’ve never previously had the time to dedicate to it? Whatever it was you did, I bet you didn’t start writing letters to punk rock musicians pointing out the lyrical inaccuracies and ambiguities they’ve made over the years, and then look to compile the acerbic replies into one jumbo sized 160-page book? Well, not unless your name is Derek or Dave Philpott.
For those of you who are maybe unaware of Derek Philpott and his son Dave’s services to the rock community, they are simply two regular folk who have been on something a crusade to set the record straight regarding song lyrics that simply don’t ring true (well maybe not in their minds anyway), and as such have been writing letters to pop stars since around 2008 asking them to explain just what the hell they were thinking when writing said song/songs. With the likes of Suzi Quatro, Saxon, Noddy Holder, Rick Wakeman and Toyah featuring in their two hilarious books to date, namely ‘Dear Mr. Kershaw: A Pensioner Writes’ and ‘Dear Mr Pop Star’. These earlier books only contained subtle nods towards the U. K’s hugely influential punk/new wave scene via the likes of Stiff Little Fingers and Squeeze. Here, with ‘Grammar Free in the U.K’ though, the Philpott’s are about to set that record straight with a book so steeped in punk rock history, that flipping the cover over I half expect to see the normally quite sombre looking duo sneering back at me flicking me the Vs. Thankfully, for all our sakes, they’re not!
What you do get though is page after page of punk rock craziness via sixty six of the most surreal letters you are ever going to read, all of course complete with the hilarious replies from the Philpott’s targets. From Sham 69 to Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies via Duncan Reid and The Big Heads and Mr Bruce off of Chumbawamba, the 160 pages play out in my head like some virtual version of the UK’s annual Rebellion Festival, albeit one viewed through the eyes of festival magician and unofficial mascot, Ratboy. Alas, with said mighty event once again postponed for another twelve months I can think of nothing better than donning the ole knotted Union Jack hankie rolling up my camouflage shorts and cracking open a few Dark Fruits in the summer rain and getting stuck into some ‘Grammar Free’ nonsense.
To actually preview any of the letters here would simply be wrong, but if I tell you that the opening mirth missile, which is directed towards Darryl from Cock Sparrer, features a mix up with a certain breed of dog, before ploughing headlong into a certain bequiffed singer from Manchester, that’ll hopefully give you an idea of the madness that lies herein. Whilst ‘Grammar Free in the U.K’ is perhaps best summed up by Rebellion’s resident mad man and bingo caller Max Splodge, who refers to the tome as “a magnificent pot pourri of questions you always wanted to ask but were too sensible to ask.” All this from a man I once witnessed offer his hotel room trouser press (which he had actually brought with him) as a bingo prize to one lucky festival attendee, and it had only just gone midday…on the Friday.
Released on June 13th 2021 there are just 1,000 of these bad boys being printed, with around 800 having already sold on presale to Derek and Dave’s hardcore following, so hit the link below and let everyone know that…you wanna be ‘Grammar Free’.