Real name Chris Sievey, Frank Sidebottom was an intentionally shoddy light entertainer who hung around in the fringes of British popular culture over the last twenty-five years. He even wrote and drew his own comic series, in the pages of the much loved and in need of a revival, Oink!, the British anthology comic that was kind of like Viz! for children. He would also appear in a number of comic books including Sleaze Castle and Fred The Clown.
Visually, he was striking, a large paper mache head, from which he performed his stand up act and songs. Speaking in a stretched nasal voice and keeping in character with other performers even when not actually performing, his music would be performed on a poor synthesiser keyboard, ending most songs on the confirmatory “You know it is, it really is!” Frank was meant to be an innocent, still living with his mum, belieing stardom beckoned, but not willing to travel far from his home town of Timperly to acheive it.
He had his own local TV comedy series and would appear on the biggest shows in a kind of, look-at-the-madman-we’ve-got-here, but the quality of his work, the infectiousness of his images – even having his own mini-me puppet, Little Frank, transcended that. He was and remains an absolute original.
Suffering from cancer, he died in hospital today after collapsing at home, aged 54.
Frank Sidebottom will live on in the minds of those who loved him, and enjoyed this strange, eccentric, quite wonderful singer songwriter.
He must be buried in his paper mache head. Anything else would be a betrayal of the all encompassing character he created.
You know it would, it really would.
A few memories.