Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Frank Sidebottom, ladies and gentlemen, has passed away with his creator Chris Sievey. I say this only because the world will surely be a poorer place without a cheery chappy in a giant papier-mache head urging us all to singalong to his cockeyed nasal mancunian casio anthems, all of which ended exactly the same: “You know it has, it really has. Thankyou!”
Here’s R2-D2 Dance Like a Horse, in which Frank really is twirling an R2-D2 collectable figure on a piece of string:
And here’s Frank covering The Fall, with David Soul on keyboards and what looks like Nicolas Sarkozy on bass:
Frank’s alternate universe was a uniquely absurdist domestic Northern throwback that pre-dated Graham Fellows’ John Shuttleworth by several years. Both were singer-songwriters with minor indie/punk hits in the late 70′s, and both later segued into deliberately half-arsed synth accompaniments, although John preferred Yamaha to Casio. Irrespective of instrument, both men were hilarious, but Frank was the trailblazer. Here’s a Jon Ronson article from the end of last month, celebrating his spell in Frank’s ‘Oh Blimey Big Band’ as a prelude to one of Frank’s last shows at the Tate Britain, and here’s a heartfelt obituary from Rohdri Marsden. Both paint a picture of a comic genius in his own crazy world, a man we need to remember and celebrate.
To this end, in another startlingly hypocritical twist on my part after my previous slagging of the RATM vs Joe McElderry Twitterfight, I’m urging you to get behind a Facebook push to make Frank’s World Cup song a posthumous No.1. It’s called ‘Three Shirts on my Line’ and will be available from iTunes from Monday. Here’s a taster
Come on! The least this man deserves after his decades of surreal effort is to beat bloody James Corden in the charts. Join the Facebook Group and Twitter Page and wait till the call – it might not be Monday, they might want to save it till the World Cup Final if we get there (ha!) – then buy! buy! buy! to say bye-bye to the wonderful man that was Chris Sievey, aka Frank Sidebottom.
+++UPDATE: 24.06.10 It turns out that Chris was a bit of a ‘spend it while you’ve got it’ man, and died without a penny. Consequently he was facing a pauper’s grave until Twitter stepped in with a campaign to raise funds for a decent send-off. Check out the official Facebook page here for details on how to donate. They’re over fourteen grand already+++
+++UPDATE: 28.06.10 The funeral appeal has closed having raised £21,000. All extra funds will go to cancer charities. Well done everybody+++