Monday, June 21, 2010
Frank Sidebottom creator Chris Sievey dies
The term "unique comic genius" is often used automatically whenever a comedian passes away but in the case of Chris Sievey, who died this morning, it's a suitable description indeed. Chris, aged 54, was the creator of his showbiz persona Frank Sidebottom.
You may remember Frank Sidebottom from his tv series Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show in the 1990s, or even the comic strip that ran in Oink! in the 1980s, written and drawn by Chris himself (as Frank of course), or from his live performances over the years. I saw his act twice about 25 years ago and the audience were in hysterics throughout. You see, Frank had a distinctive appearance; he had a papier-mache head. And in case that wasn't funny enough, he was accompanied by his puppet, Little Frank, who had an identical little papier-mache head. You're right; you had to be there. And his fans were there, enjoying every minute of it, right up to recent years by following him on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.
His act was a deliberately disjointed mixture of his own songs (Zoo Scrapbook, Space is Ace, etc), tributes to Queen, Paul McCartney, and medleys of Sci Fi themes, punk, and anything else that crossed his mind all performed to a jolly tempo and sang with a nasal pitch. The "Frank" persona was a big kid, an aspiring songwriter from Timperly, permanently living with his Mum, still surrounded by his favourite things of childhood where the world was either extremes of "fantastic" or "bobbins". (Bobbins of cotton = rotten.)
Rather than me describing any more of this individualistic genius let's take a look at some of his work. Firstly, a couple of the strips he contributed to Oink! in 1987 which perfectly convey the humour of Frank Sidebottom's world...
There are several clips on You Tube of Frank Sidebottom performing his act and whether you're already one of his many "Fantastic Frank Fans" or a newcomer to his mad world of mirth they're well worth looking at...
Frank Sidebottom never became the huge tv star he deserved to be. Television couldn't pigeonhole someone so unique and he was a performer you either "got" or you didn't. For those of us who did "get" his comedy he'll always remain forever fantastic.
BBC News reports on his death: