EDitorial ± 16-Feb-2004

To Be Frank

Perhaps a good place to start with this week's subject is a quote from an ebay user currently selling one of his 7-inch singles, the Sci-Fi EP from July 1986, who describes the contents of the vinyl thus:
Strange is not the word! an acquired taste maybe?!!

That about sums up the weird and wonderful world of Mr Frank Sidebottom, the man with the papier-mache head, a lippy cardboard sidekick named Little Frank, and who appeared as an alternative test card for Channel 4.

A proud possession: my timperley bigshorts fc (founded 1985) mug, bought at The Junction, Cambridge, in Feb 1993

I dimly remember reading about this bizarre character in my NME-reading flapjack-baking lecture-attending pool-playing college days. A bit later, on the weekly flick through the stack of reduced singles in Exeter town centre, I was fortunate enough to find his first two EPs. And I was hooked.

Handwritten note from the great man on the back of an envelope: sorry about the ipswich concert ed.... but the promoter got cold feet and cancelled it as he only sold 4 tickets! frank.

Bits and bobs that spring to mind:

  • in 1988, trying and failing to buy his new single, the concisely named Frank Sings The Magic Of Freddie Mercury and Queen, from a record shop in the week that it was apparently released; luckily ebay came up with the goods over a decade later
  • throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, receiving copies of Frank's "COM" newsletter at hugely irregular intervals; anyone ever get anything later than COM15?
  • around 1993, compiling the Frank discography with the assistance of Drew Radtke and Dom Robinson, still gracing Drew's "official" website; as Drew added, "Frank is almost unique for an artist as almost all of his work is totally unavailable"
  • in 1994, faxing a list of questions to Mark Radcliffe when he had the coveted 10pm slot, and Mark & Lard putting these to Frank; questions included Where's My Radio Timperley tape (paid for, never received)?

Unfortunately Frank's largely disappeared from the radar recently. There was talk that he'd done a Henry Kelly and gone bankrupt, though he did appear at an exhibition of his own unique art work at Stockport Art Gallery in 1999.

Word from the Sidebottom email list (did you doubt?) is that he's due to make a rare appearance at the up and coming Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Come back Frank, and come down south!

Be seeing you!