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

3.8 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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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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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: 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
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 Verified Purchase
A month or so after checking out the movie and being delighted that after a few years I had finally watched something modern that was a bit different, I started watching some of Frank Sidebottom’s old footage on You Tube.

I wasn’t overly impressed straight away, I must admit. This was until I found his ‘Proper telly show’, from channel M. Suddenly I got it - as strange of a phenomenon as he is – I got it. I was in stitches at some of the child-like whimsical humour, which strangely appeals to older audiences. He somehow borders the outrageous, without being dirty or offensive. It is a real talent.

This does not mean that comedians that push the boundaries of taboos do not have their place and people can get easily offended especially when irony is involved. But Frank is something refreshing, different, odd and off-beat – but in a good way.

My curiosity peaked and I decided to read more on him. As this book was more of a first-hand account of ‘the true story that inspired the movie’ I thought it may have given a few more insights into his life from someone who knew him well and also shed light on what parts of the screenplay were fictionalised and which were true to real life.

Although the book is well written in terms of being concise and even non-sensationalist, I think it attempts to be too objective / matter of fact and therefore some of the emotional and funny stories are not squeezed of all their potential juiciness.

A couple of the anecdotes brought a smile to my face and a couple of the sadder aspects tugged at the heart strings a little. There is also an apt analogy of frank attempting to adapt the world to himself rather than vice versa in there, which really hits the nail on the (paper-mached) head.
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