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Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie

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

Jon Ronson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Product Description


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

Product 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 details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6310 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (16 Jan 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,336 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 two bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining (if short) read 3 April 2014
I should say at the beginning of this review that I am not a fan of Frank Sidebottom's and that I wouldn't ordinarily have sought out a book with Frank as the subject. I vaguely remember him being around as I grew up, an eccentric musician/comic that occasionally warranted a second glance simply on account of his unique headwear but I never did anything than glance and turn away. Until the news of the upcoming film, I'd forgotten all about him.

Earlier today, whilst browsing in a real book shop (as opposed to sitting in front of a pc and browsing Amazon's virtual shelves), something caught my eye and I bent down and picked up a hardback copy of this book. The compact, hardback design with the cartoon artwork is just beautiful, and even though I knew (after a quick skim) the content was going to be short, I happily paid the full price of 7.99 just so I could take the book out of the store and find somewhere quiet to sit and read it.

I've read a couple of Ronson's earlier books, so I sort of knew what to expect. And it was, by and large, exactly what I expected. If the content were a magazine article (which I think it was based on), it would be a fantastic article and a very satisfying introduction to Frank Sidebottom. As a book, however, it comes across as a little short on content and, sadly, something of a wasted opportunity to convert the curious (people like myself) into crossing a small chasm of indifference into checking out some of Frank's work. I would have liked to know more about Frank and not have to go out and do any research myself - it would be a reasonable thing to assume that if I were going to find out more about Frank, this book would have been the perfect opportunity to discover that information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but too short 22 April 2014
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very short 15 April 2014
By k ford
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Flimsy and very short. No real information or story, I don not think the book was good value at all.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the true story of Chris Sievey, the ruddy idiot who was better known to millions as Frank Sidebottom, the man/boy, singer/songwriter, comedian/entertainer who wore a great big cardboard head. My nephew Michael thought that he was the bee’s knees. I could take him or leave him. He was a soft so and so in my book.

To be honest, I think it is dangerous for anyone to spend long periods pretending to be someone else for the purposes of entertainment. Or for any other purpose really. I remember that episode of Colditz on the television, where one of the prisoners pretended to have gone barmy so convincingly that he eventually managed to get the Germans to send him home on compassionate grounds. The only thing was, by the time he got home he had become who he was pretended to be and had gone properly barmy. I know it was only on the television, but apparently it was based on a true story.
And what about that David Bowie when he pretended to be Ziggy Stardust eh? Aye, I know all about that. Sent him proper doollalley it did. And that Sid Vicious out of the Sexy Pistols. He ended up murdering his girlfriend on account of the fact that he couldn’t stop pretending that he was a wicked beggar who didn’t know any better. The world of showbusiness is littered with such tragic stories. Jimmy Clitheroe, the Krankies, Bungle, Zippy and George, John Shuttleworth, Ken Barlow. All of that lot went stark staring mad after a bit. Which just goes to show… You shouldn’t dabble with forces thad you don’t understand.
Look at our Michael, convinced that he is possessed by the spirit of a long dead aunt. Wearing her tights an’all and going around talking in a silly voice. There’s only one place he’s headed. The ruddy funny farm!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 days ago by miss e driscoll
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, witty, weird
Really more of a long article, but hugely entertaining like everything Jon Ronson writes , see the film too whether you were a diehard Frank fan or not
Published 8 days ago by Mrs Penelope Forrest
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
It's quite short but then easy to read in one session. Great to get an insight into the behind the scenes workings of the oh blimey big band. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Steve
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Yet another rehash of Ronson's work and at 80 pages it's more of a pamphlet than a book.
Published 21 days ago by D. Clement
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I really like Jon Ronson's books, but this one was short and not what I expected. Still a good read.
Published 22 days ago by Reader1
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
An interesting insight it frank sidebottom and the band. Not sure whether I would go and see the film on the back of it though...
Published 1 month ago by Mr. S. Calveley
5.0 out of 5 stars great copy. fast efficient service
great efficient service.
Published 1 month ago by ryan tipp
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a Rip Off
Firstly I should say that I am a big fan of Jon Ronson's writing which ultimately was the main reason I bought this book .. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ATNP
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful
I loved the film so much, and read this in one sitting, it was so beautifully written and made me want to see the film again - It has really stayed with me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. D. A. O'neil
2.0 out of 5 stars A hardback leaflet
Love Ronson's work but he's prone to recycling material to release books with nothing new in them. That's the case here, with big margins and large text beefing what should be the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. Lancaster
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