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Frank Sidebottom - 1955-2010

  by Spencer Robertshaw

published: 25 / 6 / 2010

Frank Sidebottom - 1955-2010


Spencer Robertshaw was at one of the last shows of comedian/musician Frank Sidebottom in Leeds in May. He pays tribute to him and his alter ego, Chris Sievey, who died on the 21st June after complications arising from his treatment for cancer

Goodbye, Frank. In May I went to see and interview John Cooper Clarke at a gig in Leeds. He was supported by the global-headed Frank Sidebottom,a battle hardened comedian who had done it all, TV, radio, records and films and videos. His act was a surreal portrayal of himself in which you were taken along with his stories and songs which parodied better known classics. On this evening he told the tale of how he was the fifth Beatle. He used a tiny Yamaha keyboard which produced tiny kiddie pop versions of the tunes he parodied and it all just fitted together perfectly. I sat right at the front of the stage a few feet from the performer's main spot on a nicely arranged table. While I had come to see John Cooper Clarke, it was an added bonus that Frank Sidebottom was there to perform first. He was brilliant. His show went down a storm and everyone in the audience loved it. I made my way backstage and during my meeting with Johnny I got a fleeting glimpse of the man behind the Frank Sidebottom mask, Chris Sievey. He was going home and Johnny said goodbye to him. The next day I wrote to ‘Frank’ saying that I would love to meet up and have a chat with him for an interview. I then forgot about it until about a week later when an email from him arrived. "Hello spencer,... yes I will do an interview sometime.... best regards frank sidebottom" I replied telling him that I looked forward to it in the near future. The next thing I read and heard was that Frank Sidebottom (Chris Sievey from now on) had cancer and was undergoing treatment – He had had it for a while, but now it was to be operated on (a tumour which was somehow affecting his throat and ability to swallow). He was keeping performing and things very much to himself as far as the press was concerned. I wrote to him wishing him all the best in the best way you can (to someone who has cancer). A few days later and upon the day after his death on the 21st June I heard that Chris Sievey had sadly collapsed and passed away at home from complications following an operation and treatment for the cancer. I think I must of seen his last show and also been the closest to him when he performed that night. It sends a shiver down my spine, but also makes me so very ,very proud of the performer as I know he must have been in terrible pain. He put on a fantastic performance and no one would ever have known that night. The strength and heart he must of summoned up to perform would have been more than Olympian. A mark of a true professional who held the old adage "The show must go on" right until the very last. Chris Sievey was a very special person. Rest in Peace. 'Frank Sidebottom' Round headed chap with his own world Always got a clap as his act unfurled An intellect as crisp as Egyptian cotton 'The name's Bottom, Frank Sidebottom' 007 you’d better watch out Sidee’s here and he don’t mess about Timberley to Timbuktu the head is here Any imposters pack their survival gear Now he’s gone to a different place There were ‘bobbins’ there so they needed the face Sidee’s gone to sort it out It will be ‘fantastic’ and everyone will shout With little Frank and his global head Frank’s always here he could never be dead Sidee we love you We always will You're just ‘super’ With your ‘fantastic’ skill Sidee we love you Every way that we can You're just ‘super’ You're ‘fantastic’ man Spencer Robertshaw

Picture Gallery:-
Frank Sidebottom - 1955-2010

Frank Sidebottom - 1955-2010

Visitor Comments:-
328 Posted By: Wally, Ottawa, Canada on 14 Jul 2010
It was quite sad news to hear about Chris & Frank passing away and he certainly was a real gentleman and a true music fan with an unmatched sense of humour whether it was with the Freshies and he was falling in love with the girl at Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk or he was searching for The Bouncing Babies 7 inch single by The Teardrop Explodes his excitement about music always shone through. He did so many great parody covers of everyone from The Beatles to Punk and his wonderful ode to the Kinks with Timperley Sunset and he was even going to do a TVP cover, which sadly now we will never get to hear. He also tried to promote many bands on his radio show Radio Timperley. Chris also released a brilliant album which I think was called Big Record and single Red Indian Music which is worth searching out.

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