Monday, 21 June 2010
Sodden nights in Berkshire fields. Sticky donut sugar fingers. Stench of burning polystyrene. Watching a man with an over-sized papier-mâché head sing to a hand puppet with a matching papier-mâché head. “Guess who’s been on Match of the Day.” The raucous crowd chants back: “You have! In your big shorts!” These are some of my fondest memories of the Reading Festival in the late-1980s.
Frank Sidebottom defines ‘one-of-a-kind’. Unless you count little Frank. Which we should. So, ok … ‘two-of-a-kind’. His annual Reading Festival appearances in the comedy tent made me and my friend Chris huge fans. And when he began popping up on Saturday morning telly shows such as ‘Number 73’, I could finally share his genius wonky-voiced comedy nonsense and hatstand bobbins pop covers with my younger sister. ‘Bemused’ would probably be the kindest way to describe her reaction.
It’s been over a decade since I last saw Timperley’s finest on stage, but I always hoped one day I’d share another sugary sweet donut and rainy Reading night with him. Sadly, that’s not to be as Frank Sidebottom (real name, Chris Sievey) collapsed and died at home in Greater Manchester today, after recently recovering from treatment to a tumour on his chest.
Frank, we dearly miss you. “You know we do. We really do.”
Spotify has yet to recognise the mighty Frank, so we turn to YouTube for two tip-top live clips:
‘Hit The North’