On the boundless worship of a bloke in a suit with a huge papier mache head
Quite a few years ago, I blagged my way into Reading Festival, essentially so I could see the likes of the mighty New Order and a slightly pre-fame Blur in concert.
With a few hours to burn before the main event, I sidled over to the Comedy Tent, where we were led to expect some bloke who was marginally famous on Channel Four who once ate a whole car, though, truth be told, not all at one sitting.
Alas, we were told that he'd had an accident in rehearsals in which a lightbulb had gone down the wrong way, and that we were to get the emergency back-up act instead. A bloke from Manchester with a huge papier mache head.
It was the first time that I'd ever clapped me eyes on the living legend that is Frank Sidebottom.
Oh. My. God.
It was just him, a puppet version of himself (Little Frank) and a kids' Casio keyboard, which he used to belt out versions of Queen, Smiths and Sex Pistols songs in a dreadful nasal twang.
It was the Best Thing Ever, and I have sought out the genius that is Frank wherever he may be ever since. You have not lived, dear reader, until you have witnessed his epic "Tribute to the genius of Freddie Mercury and Queen and also Kylie". It's up there with the greats. Mozart. Beethoven. Presley. Brotherhood of Man. Sidebottom. Read 'em and weep.
How do you describe Frank Sidebottom? He's some bloke from Timperley with a big papier mache head who says the word "bobbins" a lot, sings truly awful cover versions and harbours the delusion that he will, one day, become a world famous footballer when the Timperley Bigshorts go all the way to the Champions League final. He is, in short, a complete and utter genius.
But then, you cannot adequately describe him without actually experiencing him in his true, lo-fi glory. I urge you, then, to see his spectacular comeback on the Manchester-based local TV station Channel M (Sky 203) where he and his trusty Casio keyboard has his own show. In black and white. He also does the Test Card. Don't ask.
In summary, and you're still going "HUH?!" here (I can tell), a bit of a Frank Sidebottom link dump:
* Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show on Channel M and Channel M Test Cards
* Frank on MySpace, with not-bobbins-at-all bloggy goodness
* Number Ten petition to knight Frank Sidebottom. And while they're at it, they can do Les Battersby and Zak Dingle
* The best newspaper article on the Frank phenomenon, ever. Franknomenon, even.
* The Official and utterly fantastic F. Sidebottom on the internet website
"You know you did, you really did."
"I am not mad."
Meanwhile, back at the lab
In case you were asking, the brand new, updated version of the Scaryduckworth-Lewis Method of Rating Things for Excellence can be found in all its manky glory HERE.