Monday, 13 January 2014
Things are moving swiftly in the posthumous world of Frank Sidebottom, with several big things all happening at once.
This Friday sees the premiere at Sundance Film Festival, Utah of FRANK, a big budget, fictional 'fable' starring Michael Fassbender in the title role.Filmed in New Mexico and Dublin, it's been totally kept under wraps and has made TIME OUT's list of 'Top five most anticipated films for 2014'.
In preparation of this, the films screen writer and Ex Oh-Blimey's band member Jon Ronson wrote an article for The Guardian. Read that Here
The documentary I am involved with Steve Sullivan's BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY, which gives an amazingly surreal but factual account of Chris's life and exploits, is now in the final week of shooting.
Jon Ronson is also releasing an E-Book "Frank: The true story that inspired the movie" on January 16th.
Add to this a biography 'Out of his head' written by long-time Manchester rock journalist Mick Middles, is well under way and shouldn't be too far off being published.
Let's look at these occurrences in a little more detail:
Firstly, the Fassbender movie. We interviewed Jon Ronson for the documentary last Thursday and he urgently wanted to get the point across that it is little more than a 'fable' based on the concept of Frank. It's not set in Timperley, there is no crap keyboards etc. This is why the 'Hollywood' head is purposely different from the original. I see a LOT of Frank fans criticizing the couple of stills that have been released. If Frank disciples can't come to terms with this loosely based story....then there is gonna be a lot of bitter disappointment.
This is where Steve Sullivan's documentary comes into it's own. It's officially sanctioned by the Sievey family and tells the whole story, first hand, by the people that saw it unfold. Family members, close associates, band members and loved ones have given untold insights, some hilarious, some emotional and dark, into what made Chris tick. Supplementary to this is the mind-blowing archive we have had access to.Valiantly rescued from an imminent journey to the tip by Chris's brother, Martin Sievey, I'd estimate 700 plus hours of virtually unseen video and cine film alongside unheard reel to reels, cassettes and CD's. Not to mention the boxes full of photos, newsletters, fan correspondence and artwork.
It's worked in two ways. Firstly, as a top notch cache of material to actually put in the film but almost more importantly, it has served as a 'detective' paper trail...giving us a thousand leads worthy of pursuit.
As the shooting process comes to a close, the editing will begin. For sure a mammoth task but once completed, I have no doubt we are sitting on THE definitive life story of Chris Sievey/Frank Sidebottom.
I wish the Fassbender FRANK movie every possible success on it's release this week and I have no problem with it not being factual. Before his death, Chris gave his approval and was instrumental in the development of the project. He both understood and accepted it was never going to be factual. He preferred it that way, actually. He excitedly talked to me about his own film that would follow on from it's success and that was going to be a true account. Happily, even after his death, it turns out that film is still being made in the form of BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY.
If the big budget film is even moderately successful. then perhaps worldwide interest in the underlying true story will be stimulated? Imagine if just one percent of that potential audience want to know more about Sidebottom and come looking for Steve's film?
To summarize, FRANK is scheduled for general release May 2014 with a UK spoken word tour FRANK: MY STORY by Jon Ronson in March. The Steve Sullivan BEING FRANK documentary is set for a summer release to hopefully tie in very nicely with all the other activities leading up to it.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
I'm currently helping out with the production of a documentary about the unbelievable life and times of Chris Sievey, the man behind Frank Sidebottom.
The project is headed up by film maker Steve Sullivan. No stranger to Sidebottom, he worked with Chris on the short film MAGICAL TIMPERLEY TOUR.
Steve was granted permission from the Sievey family to produce the project and also given full access to Chris's extensive archive of reel to reel audio master tapes, vhs tapes, cassettes, photographs, artwork, cine films and cereal boxes!
Filming commenced mid December 2012 on location at Timperley community centre. I spent 3 days with Chris's elder brother Martin, sifting through a seemingly endless number of boxes pulling out anything of interest that triggered our memories and then filming it. It was set in perfect surroundings, a melancholy, slightly delapidated attic space in an old Victorian building
It was both sad and great fun. In a very short period of time we started to put together a string of interesting stories and the bigger picture was already starting to unfold. I believe we came away with over 10 hours of footage from these sessions
As we went along, items were categorised and all the various' master' tapes were then sent to the Manchester film archive to be digitized and properly stored so that they don't deteriorate any further.
Filming concluded at the Statue Fundraiser in Manchester where performances were recorded and interviews with fans took place in 'Vinyl Revival' record shop.
The film is being produced by Rondo Media and is looking for further funding...I have 100% conviction, just from the five or so years I worked for Chris/Frank, that there is a truly outstanding story to be told. I sincerely hope Steve Sullivan is given the opportunity to complete this film
This project is not to be confused with the Hollywood film loosly based on Sievey, written by Jon Ronson that is currently in production.
No matter how much these guys embellish or distort the concept with some artistic licence....I don't think it could be anymore incredulous than the true story!
Monday, 9 July 2012
Ricky is an outstanding photographer, completely in tune with the subject matter. He's made a name for himself shooting BMX and has an art book DESTROYING EVERYTHING that has just about sold out it's first edition. If you fancy a copy.....happy hunting....he's also thinking about printing a second run.
Friday, 29 June 2012
Next weekend we are putting our new (old) UK Hardcore band into action. With various members residing at opposite ends of the country, it's both costly and difficult to get together on a regular basis...any get-together needs to be exploited to the hilt!
We organised a weekend of activity:
Saturday afternoon/evening... rehearsing and band photoshoot.
Sunday afternoon...a low-key basement gig with a small 'invite-only' crowd at a secret location.
We plan to videotape this performance and use the footage to help promote the band.
Date is Sunday 8th July from 2pm-5.30pm. ALL AGES
If you dig Hardcore and you fancy attending, get in touch and I will forward the info you will need. Super limited capacity (30 peeps max)
Band is comprised of former members of JAILCELL RECIPES, SLEEP, KNOW NOTHING, BURN ALL FLAGS, LIE CYCLE and MASS OF BASTARDS.
UPDATE: Just confirmed..... S.S.S. added to the bill
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Monday, 18 June 2012
Round 3 of the UK flat track GNC took place at Oxford on Friday night. It was a very eventful race. It was raining everywhere else but we had dust and sunshine. Wilky #99 went down in the first turn of the first heat and hurt his wrist. Drogo #27 also had a big crash early on but managed to walk away relatively unscathed. I had fuel problems in my first heat (just happened to be my front row start) and after a strong start limped home in next to last place...not that I'm complaining in view of what was to come in the short track final....a horrible 6 bike accident on the back straight resulting in young Tim Neave #14 getting badly hurt. The fence was destroyed and bikes and bodies were everywhere. the final was cancelled as there was no chance of a restart. It was very sobering to witness and really drives home how much risk is involved with such high speed, close racing.
Anyway despite the crashes and mechanical problems, both me and Wilky scraped into the THUNDERBIKES final....personally I was just happy to not be hurt seeing I was due to have hernia surgery on Monday morning!
Thanks to Matt Davis and Anthony Brown for the pics........