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Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong.

Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream. It tells the true story behind the fictionalized movie.

About the Author

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of four bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London and New York City.


Product Description

Review

Frank works as satire, as memoir, as comedy bromance, but it works mostly because it is just so weird (Guardian)

Book Description

A funny, sad and true story about Jon Ronson, Frank Sidebottom and other outsider musicians.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6311 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (16 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HNOUNOY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,081 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender. He lives in London and New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can I be Frank with you? 20 May 2014
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Frank Sidebottom was a novelty act from the Manchester music scene of the late 80s/early 90s. Sporting a fibreglass cartoon head, Frank (played by Chris Sievey) would perform strange Beatles/Queen/Bruce Springsteen covers with his Oh Blimey Big Band, of which Jon Ronson was the keyboardist.

Ronson’s brief memoir comes out just as a movie version of Frank Sidebottom, starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is released and recounts the barmy days he was in the band. There isn’t much to this book – Frank was a character Sievey played who revelled in chaotic stage shows and whose success was relatively low (his biggest gig was opening for Bros at Wembley to an audience of 50,000 who booed him as he came out and played terrible renditions of Bros songs).

It’s kinda funny and tragic that there was this Jekyll/Hyde nature to Sievey and that he actually seemed to prefer being Frank to the person he was in real life, and that professionalism was the death of the band – Frank’s improv/freestyle showmanship was what made him stand out, and bringing in actual musicians and rehearsing made him less appealing to audiences. Ronson clearly liked Sievey a lot and his book casts him as crazy and George Bernard Shaw’s Unreasonable Man, but that these were admirable qualities in this unique individual and made him stand out.

Ironically, nearly everyone else in Frank’s periphery became hugely successful – but not Frank. Caroline Aherne, then a secretary at the BBC, played a character in a skit during Frank’s radio show: Mrs Merton. Aherne took the character and developed it into The Mrs Merton Show and the enormously successful follow-up, The Royle Family, making millions and winning numerous awards.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but too short 22 April 2014
By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I remember hearing Frank Sidebottom on the radio late at night when I was at school and thought he was great. Most of my friends didn't like him but to me he was hilarious. Jon Ronson played in Frank's band, and as a fan of Ronson's journalism I was looking forward to reading this.

It's an enjoyable read but very, very short. As nice as the hardback edition is (about the size of a Ladybird book and with a lovely matt cover) I'm glad I went for the Kindle version because the hardback is very overpriced. I read the book in bed last night while my girlfriend was cleaning her teeth - it's that short, especially when you realise there are also a few pictures in the text too.

The book is more about Ronson than Frank. The early part explains Ronson's student days, squatting in London, then being called upon to play keyboards for Frank one night. A few tales are told of bizarre gigs and rehearsals before Frank's fortunes take a downward turn and the band breaks up. Years later Ronson and Frank are reunited, sadly only a short time before the man beneath the papier mache head succumbed to throat cancer.

It's a short, entertaining read if you were a fan of Frank Sidebottom, but it doesn't really reveal much about Frank or his creator, and instead it is more the story of Jon Ronson's time in Frank's band, an expanded magazine article rather than a book. Enjoyable, but not essential. If you want to know more about Frank Sidebottom the forthcoming Mick Middles book will be a better purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity 29 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being a fan of Jon Ronson, I was looking forward to Frank despite only having a passing interest in Frank Sidebottom.

I think this is the only "book" that i've read from cover to cover in under 40 minutes.

The typeface can be read from the moon, there's scant information in the book, and it's basically a long article. There's next to no "on the road" anecdotes, and Ronson manages to make his time in the band sound like the worlds most boring experience.

The book could of benefited from some editing too. That said, doing so would of made this book the length of a menu.

It's worth a read for 50p on the kindle, sure. Don't buy the book though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big fan but a little book 23 May 2014
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Jon Ronson. In fact I even read his books from before the time he decided to use the 'Men Who Stare at Goats' font on everything. Obviously the film has done him no harm. In the older books his bio states he 'Lives in London' now he 'Lives in London and New York'. Fancy. It's only a matter of time before he adds 'Paris and Milan'.

This latest book is about Frank Sidebottom. A wonderfully eccentric part of the British music scene of the late 80s. I own Frank's first ever EP although admittedly it's not something you'd play everyday. Frank however was more than his music and this book captures that time perfectly in Ronson's traditional honest and humorous style.

One thing I would say however is that the book is little more than an extended article. At 60 or so pages with nice big letters and wide spacing you can easily read the book within an hour. At a full retail of £7.99 this is a bit steep..unless you've got your eye on a place in Paris or Milan that is:)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down, Frankly. 2 Jun. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A few interesting insights but overall this felt like a book written purely as something for Jon Ronson to sign at his talks about the film 'Frank' which is a film that's not really got much in common with the story of Frank Sidebottom. Short at under 70 pages many of which are photo pages, many of which are stills from the film. An brief introduction to Frank Sidebottom at best. Did I mention a film's been made...?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting view on coping with mental health
An intriguing easy read
A plausible take on coping strategies and mental health
Watch the film too
Published 16 days ago by Dr L Buchan
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously short rip off
Ridiculously short book. Not worth buying at all. Put me off the film now too. 71 pages! Laughable and not in a good way.
Published 26 days ago by waaal877
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't call me Ron Jonson
Amazing story by Jon Ronson. He really was in Frank's Big Band.
Published 1 month ago by Bernard
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but very very short
What's there is brilliantly written, but the truth is its only twenty minutes worth of text at best. More of a lengthy magazine article than a book
Published 1 month ago by Mr. B. J. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars A study of delightfully nuanced obliquity
A funny yet moving memoir from one of the world's best writers of non-fiction working today. Although depressingly brief, it's another JR classic of interwoven anecdote and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Hodson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item quick delivery
Published 2 months ago by tracy welsh
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
My husband preferred his other stories not this one so much
Published 3 months ago by S J.
1.0 out of 5 stars Short and unsatisfying
I'm a huge Frank Sidebottom fan. I was excited to find how we get from the real Frank to the Film Frank. Unfortunately I'm still none the wiser. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Julian Church
1.0 out of 5 stars Please someone do Frank justice and do a proper book on this Manc...
Terribly disappointingly short at only 70 pages or so and massive typeface. As someone else said here, it is an article really - you get more about Frank Sidebottom on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bernard Marsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book showed how frank made a journey through his life the loo ugh Jon Ronsons experiences and words. I would recommend this book to anyone who has watched the frank movie.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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