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Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie Audio Download – Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 May 2014
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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By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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Format: Kindle Edition
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.

It's just so very very short (about 30 minutes reading time), and what it does say isn't all that illuminating or exciting.
It feels like a preamble from the longer book. But then you find you've got all the way to the end.
A very unsatisfying 30-minute read.

I'm baffled by the positive reviews others have given this.
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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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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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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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