A Tale of Two Pensioners . . . Hungry like the Wolf

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Within 24 hours of this post, we made a dream come true. The project is funded with spare change.  Thanks to all who helped!

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For the uninitiated as well as those who might be looking for ways to raise money to support a pet project, crowdfunding might be the way to go,  “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”

Crowdfunding is the 21st century way to finance innovative projects, but it is not for the fainthearted. Pounding the information pavement and knocking on digital doors requires time and knowing just what to say to convince people like me to open my wallet.

It helps, of course, if you are very famous. For instance, using the Crowdfunding campaign, Kickstarter, Neil Young’s Pono music player  raised over $6 million. Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter is the place to go. According to its website, “8.4 million people have pledged more than $1.7 billion funding 83,000 creative projects that run the gamut – games, films, books, music, art projects.”

But what if you’re not Neil Young? What if you’re just an ordinary bloke, retired, living in Bournemouth, England, with a thing or two to say about the words to popular songs, many of which have been part of the soundtracks of our lives?

Let me introduce you to Mr. Derek Philpott and his neighbor Mr. Wilf Turnbull. Like me – and perhaps like many of you – they love popular music. They love it so much that when they are confounded by song lyrics, they don’t just tune out. They put on the kettle, sit down, and write letters to the lyricists, taking to task some of the most famous songwriters of the past four decades, over their grammatical errors and flawed lyrical claims. The gentle lampooning has elicited memorable replies, and in an effort to share this with all of us, Derek and Wilf decided they would compile all the letters in a book, Dear Mr. Le Bon: A Pensioner Writes.

What could a pensioner in Bournemouth have to say to the lead singer of 80’s band Duran Duran? Intrigued, I had to find out. Here is Mr. Turnbull’s letter to Simon Le Bon, in which he suggests “Peckish like a Panda” as a follow up to “Hungry Like a Wolf” :

“Dear Mr. Le Bon

Re: Hungry Like The Wolf

I am writing concerning your successful “hit” which I believe is admired by many.

I am primarily concerned with your rather selective grasp of basic biological facts. Hunger is in fact a physiological impulse experienced, perhaps, by all members of the animal kingdom i.e. not exclusively by wolves (Lupus lupus). While admittedly difficult to quantify, it can be assumed that other cognitively advanced species share this feeling or instinct. In fact I myself am considering the consumption of a few mixed nuts at present. In addition, your own rotund presence in the highly acclaimed “video” unfortunately serves to undermine your fine lyrics, which presumably represent a plea for sustenance.

May I suggest “Peckish Like the Panda” as an equally fatuous “song title” for your inevitable “follow-up”?

Incidentally, and please forgive my intrusion Simon, my friend Phyllis (widowed) has enquired whether you are romantically attached at present. She looks forward to your prompt response.

Yours

Wilf Turnbull

Or this to Pete Townshend:

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Or, on New Year’s Day, when, with a nod to U2, he posted on his Facebook wall:

 ”All is quiet on New Year’s Day”. Speak for yourself Bono. Our neighbors have invited all their kid’s friends round to have a go on their new X-Box One.

Philpott and Turnbull have been doing this kind of thing since 2008, trekking through an anthology of rock and pop favorites to ask questions that are often answered with laugh out loud letters from the musicians themselves. And, while they do not move in the same circles as Neil Young (although they have written to him), they have created something special that is resonating with people all over the world. One of their devoted fans was so inspired, that he turned their escapades into an animated film:

Buoyed by the response from faithful readers, and determined to publish the letters in a book, they turned to Kickstarter and to their army of Facebook fans, and shouted out this message:

“LADIES AND GENTS FRIENDS OLD AND NEW!! IT’S HERE!!!! PLEASE PLEASE SPREAD AND SHARE THIS LINK FAR FAR AND WIDE…AFTER 7 YEARS AND 1,000S OF HOURS OF WORK THE BOOK CROWD-FUND PROJECT IS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED AS OF 5 MINUTES AGO!! PLEASE HELP GET US INTO PRINT…WE LOVE YOU ALL”

Now, we are down to the wire, with the May 3rd deadline fast approaching. They are awfully close to reaching their goal with – as of this writing 538 backers on Kickstarter, and $22,313 pledged to help them reach their goal of $24,596. I’m not the only one who likes it – Kickstarter highlighted it just this week as one of the projects ‘to watch.”

Perhaps it will be Christmas in May for two “old age pensioners” and their pop culture gem.

To pledge, please visit the Kickstarter page here,

derekwilf

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