NEAR POST – FRANK’S FANTASTIC STATUE

A life-sized bronze statue of comedy character Frank Sidebottom has been unveiled in his hometown of Timperley in Greater Manchester.

The money for the statue, around £60,000, was raised by fan donations.

Timperley councillor Neil Taylor, who helped raise money for the statue, said:

“Frank Sidebottom created a whole world, he was just magical. He just made a very modest living entertaining people and that’s what he’s enjoying doing.”

Frank Sidebottom was the creation and alter-ego of musician and comedian Chris Sievey, who died in 2010.

Sievey set his character’s life in Timperley and, as Frank, hosted tours of the area’s sites for fans.

He often referenced Timperley in his TV and music work, including ‘I Was Born in Timperley’, ‘Anarchy in Timperley’ and ‘Timperley Sunset’, as well as celebrating the music of Queen, The Fall, The Smiths and Kylie Minogue.

Frank was a fan of three football teams, including non-league Altrincham F.C., Timperley Big Shorts F.C. (the team he founded himself), and Manchester City.

He celebrated Altrincham F.C. in his song, ‘The Robins Aren’t Bobbins’ and appeared on MOTD (in his big shorts). This gave rise to his ever-popular call-and-response football fan anthem ‘Guess Who’s Been on Match of the Day’. Other football-themed songs include ‘Three Shirts on the Line’ (his re-write of Baddiel and Skinner’s ‘Three Lions on the Shirt’), ‘Mexico 90’, ‘Estudiantes (Striped Shirts/Black Panties)’ (referencing Club Estudiantes de La Plata, usually shortened to Estudiantes, an Argentine professional football club based in La Plata), and ‘Football is Really Fantastic’.

I was lucky enough to see Frank a couple of times in the late 80s/early 90s, notably at the Reading Festival in the Comedy Tent (where he was on in place of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow who had been banned by Reading Council); and used to watch Frank’s Fantastic Shed Show on ITV as well as seeing him on Remote Control with Tony Wilson and Phil Cornwall on Ch4.

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