Timperley Sunset
June 21, 2010 9:38 AM   Subscribe

This is terrible news.

Despite being mostly known for his papier mache head his radio stuff was absolutely hilarious and incredibly inventive.

A great loss.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 9:42 AM on June 21, 2010

I hope Mrs Merton doesn't take it too badly.
posted by shinybaum at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, bobbins.
posted by hydatius at 9:49 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Arse, that's a downer. I have many Frank memories but my favourite was seeing him at the Reading festival at some point on the early / mid nineties. He was the penultimate act on the comedy stage and Dennis Leary was headlining. Frank rocked, and Leary may well have done had he been given the chance. The entire marquee was chanting forhim to come back on, only to walk out en masse when it became clear Leary wasn't going away.
posted by vbfg at 9:54 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Very sad.
posted by Fiery Jack at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2010

posted by Jofus at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2010

When I was at uni I know a couple of people and went to see him, making their own Little Franks... They got Frank to sign them 'This is bobbins! (No they are great, really!), Frank'

They also managed to steal one of the real Little Frank's jackets during a stage invasion. They later tried to blackmail Frank for it's return. They subsequently got a threatening letter from the 'Fairly Serious Crime Squad'....
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:07 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Reading the obits, it's amazing how many people passed through the Sidebottom universe: Jon Ronson, Mark Radcliffe, Caroline Aherne, Chris Evans... like Tony Wilson, except with a big round papier mache head, he'll be missed, and remembered with great fondness.
posted by holgate at 10:08 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jon Ronson on Twitter:

Last few times I spoke to him he was very happy and excited about the future. His last few years were really upbeat.

Once someone threw a calender onto stage. Frank stopped the show and spent ages going through it until he whooped: "It's here! My birthday!"

Frank's first meeting with EMI. The A&R man said "I hear you haven't been in showbusiness for long." Frank looked at his watch: "10 seconds"

Frank supported Bros at Wembley. Got up onto the stage and did a whole set of Bros covers. Bottled off. went straight up to Harvey Goldsmith and said, "I'm thinking of putting on a gig at the Timperley Labour Club. Do you have any tips?"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on June 21, 2010

Genuinely upset by this. Have been following him on twitter, and he seemed to be on the mend. Will play a few of his tunes and raise a glass to his memory tonight.

There are the beginnings of a campaign to get 'Three Shirts on a Line' to number 1 as a tribute to the great man. Right now though, I can't find it on iTunes.
posted by MrMustard at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2010

Same as MrMustard, thought things had taken a turn for the better. Thanks for many, many laughs Chris.
posted by Abiezer at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2010

posted by vbfg at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2010

Oh no!
posted by HandfulOfDust at 11:06 AM on June 21, 2010

( o . o )

posted by tapeguy at 11:08 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is indeed sad.

You know it is. It really is.
posted by chicobangs at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

This one is personal to me. I'm lost right now.
posted by Webbster at 11:15 AM on June 21, 2010

The history of the Beatles
posted by vbfg at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2010


Born in Timperley

I was just thinking of Frank yesterday while gardening and his lyrics to "Material Boy". Something like:

Some boys like to play football
And I like football too.
I like it when I score the goals,
but not when I hurt my toe.

'Cause we are living... etc

Oh. And who can forget his Breville the Sandwich Toaster puppet.
posted by NailsTheCat at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2010

I only knew of Frank Sidebottom from his Queen medley, which circulated among Queen fans (beyond the UK, that is) in the late 1980s. At a Queen fan club convention in the US there was an attendee who was only there because his wife (a Queen fan) had dragged him along with her. Poor guy, he had a roundish head and bore a striking resemblance to Frank Sidebottom, which many people pointed out, and he had no clue what they were talking about (his wife hadn't heard of Frank either). How do you explain to an already cranky guy that he is a doppelganger for a comedian with a large papier mache head without further upsetting him?

RIP Mr. Sievey. Your version of "Flash's Theme" still makes me laugh.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2010

I saw Frank at Reading, vbfg --might it have been '90, when it was raining cats and dogs? I remember him wowing the gently steaming crowd. It really cheered me up after a day standing around in sloshing boots.

Off home to dig out my Freshies singles. RIP, Frank.
posted by vickyverky at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh noooooooooooooo

I saw Frank at Glastonbury in the late '80s. I was tripping on acid and had lost my friends when I stumbled into a marquee and encountered the great man for the first time. I had to leave after twenty minutes however because he was 'fiddling with my head' (man).

My friend is from Oldham and he told me that one time they had Frank on the pitch at 'The Athletic' at half time kicking a ball around. He had no skill whatsoever, but delighted in toe punting the ball with great force into the open goal, to huge cheers from the crowd.

I was an avid watcher of his TV series. I remember he used to feature the same joke every week - he would invite a female member of the audience up onto the stage and introduce her as 'the bearded woman who shaves'. He would also pass a bucket round the audience on the pretext that he was 'raising money to send eskimos to Eurodisney.'

RIP Frank! A unique character.
posted by Monkeymoo at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

So sad.

My sister's long ago boyfriend once spotted Frank in the wild - flipping casually through vinyl in a tiny record shop. His papier mache head was on, but there was no camera or microphone. He was shopping.

Moving from The Police to Dexy's Midnight Runners, announcing to himself in that brilliant voice, narrating to occasional record buyers how rubbish Sting was.

posted by columninches at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by davemee at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by Grangousier at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2010

Frank Sidebottom's version of the Beatles, Flying with lyrics

posted by jonp72 at 3:25 PM on June 21, 2010

very sad. I have had the pleasure of seeing Frank several times - always funny.

posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2010

Frank Sidebottom!? I can't believe it.. I'm shocked. A few years ago, one of my British friends introduced me to him, and for a while, he was my brilliant papier mached secret.

I never got to see him in person (although, as a follower on MySpace, I was aware that he made it to to the US), but his songs always brought me a special childlike joy.. Just a wonderfully unique combination of cheekiness and pop culture medleys.

Thank you, Frank. RIP.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:42 PM on June 21, 2010

Living outside the UK, my only exposure to the Frank Sidebottom character was on the pages of Oink! magazine about 20 years ago. Can't forget that name! Thanks for the laughs.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:12 AM on June 22, 2010

Chris Sievey, the early years.

And here's his early hit.... I actually remember this (or more likely heard it after the fact), had no idea it was proto-Frank
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:21 AM on June 22, 2010

Just saw this linked in the comments on another obituary: Radio Timperley -- "I’ve been a huge fan of his since the age of fourteen – that’s over twenty years, and so when he asked me to put his entire 25 year back catalogue on the web at Radio Timperley, I took it as a great honour."
posted by Abiezer at 4:38 AM on June 22, 2010

Chris Sievey obituary
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:24 AM on June 23, 2010

Frank Sidebottom comic faces pauper's funeral

Jon Ronson has organised (via Sievey's ex manager) a fund to pay for a funeral. See here and #franksfund
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:28 AM on June 23, 2010

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