Wednesday, 23 June 2010


The distressing news came out this morning that Chris Sievey/Frank Sidebottom would have a pauper's funeral.
 His financial affairs when he died mean that his family were struggling to do him and his memory the justice it deserves.
Jon Ronson, journalist, ex-member of the Oh Blimey Big Band and long time collaborator of Chris Sievey's asked the family if an appeal could be set up to help them in this hour of need. Graciously Paula, Chris's ex wife and his eldest son Stirling have given their permission to allow the appeal to begin .
Paypal Donations should be sent to:
All Donations will be acknowledged
a  FRANKS FANTASTIC FUNERAL  facebook page has been set up earlier today where you can keep up to date with the funds progress and any relevant news.........

Monday, 21 June 2010

Frank Tribute

Just sat online trying to come to terms with the death of Frank/Chris. I was trying to put into words how I am feeling....when I found this on John Robb's Blogsite..It's well informed and well written and puts across a lot of points I believe to be true......

Frank Sidebottom
There can have been few funnier sites that a middle aged man with a bulbous papier mache head arguing with a small puppet version of himself and treading on a microbe version of himself. Not only hilarious but also skewed and weirdly surreal. Frank Sidebottom was one of the last of a breed- operating outside the rules and with a mind so brilliant that its restless genius was never appreciated he put most modern comedians to shame.

And now he is no more.

It’s hard to believe that Frank Sidebottom is dead.

He seemed too surreal, too childlike, too cartoon strip to be bothered with tedious, boring stuff like dying. But its true, Frank is no more because his creator Chris Sievey died of complications cause by cancer on June 21st.

Of course we must not mix the two of them up. There is no truth in the scurrilous rumour that Chris Sievey was Frank Sidebottom. I interviewed the pair of them on the phone for my ‘North Will Rise Again’ oral history of Manchester book and after about an hour of brilliant stuff from Chris I asked him about Frank figuring he must know something about the nasally comic genius.

The phone went click.


A few minutes later the phone rang and oddly it was Frank on the phone coincidentally ringing to sort out an interview. Where Chris was full of funny stories from the fringes of the music scene, Frank was plain weird and hilarious- like a psychotic child running amok in showbiz and through his humour tearing apart the stupidity of that showbiz world that had snubbed him for so long.

His tales of Timperley- the Manchester suburb where Ian brown and John Squire had lived in their youth- were brilliantly skewed pisstakes of the mundanity of the rainy day. I was once in a TV studio and watched him do this utterly mental but utterly brilliant musical set in Timperley with a pick up band of lunatics in cheap suits- it was like the ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ bus trip.

The bizarre tension when you confused the pair of them was something that unwitting journalists had often mentioned and I wasn’t the only one with this experience.

Sievey hated talking about Frank.

There seemed to be some sort of rivalry between the two of them. Altrincham obviously wasn’t big enough for the pair of them or maybe they were the same person.

Now we will never know.

Chris Sievey had been on the Manchester scene for years. In 1969, as a 14 year old , after playing in teenage bands he had travelled to London and wandered into Apple records busking his songs to the later day Beatles. The George Formby loving George Harrison loved the songs but nothing happened as the Beatles were in meltdown at the time.

He was referred to Tony Visconti who would have done something but was too busy producing ‘Ride A White Swan’. Not disappointed, Sievey returned to Manchester, where he set up his own indie label way before anyone else had thought about doing that indie of thing.

He released loads of cassettes of his songs with half of Manchester’s musicians passed through his ranks- including a very youthful Billy Duffy from before his Cult days and future Simply Red members.

Sievey did the publicity for Rabid records in Manchester, was produced by Martin Hannet very early on and did some artwork for John Cooper Clarke. He was already a key figure on the fringes of the scene with his wild imagination and brilliant pop mind just too far ahead of everyone else plodding along in his wake. In pop, though, there are no awards for being great or first and Sievey was eternally frustrated.

His band, the Freshies, were perfect pop punk whose sole semi hit ‘”I’m In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk”’ Got to number 54 in the charts in February 1981 and was lined up for a Top Of the Pops appearance. Sievey was denied his dream opportunity when there was BBC technician’s strike- the story of his life.

The single, is nowhere near their best song. His cassettes which I have a bunch of, were stuffed full of great songs. Classic melodic pop-punk- the kind of stuff that sells millions these days but was too pop for punk and too punk for pop in those stuffy, regimented days.

He even invented a very early computer game but no-one know what he was going on about- yet again too far ahead. His fervent pop mind was a good decade ahead of everyone else also inventing board games, songs, musical ideas, schemes and scams before eventually he invented Frank Sidebottom- his curious alter ego whose papier mache head, shabby suit and nasally twang were a perfect vehicle for a series of bizarre weird gags that were dark, strange and utterly hilarious.

Sidebottom was always around, one of those off the wall characters that fitted in perfectly on TV shows, at gigs and in recent years touring with John Cooper Clarke in one of those double bills of genius weirdness that are increasingly rare to find in world were fake comic ‘oooh I’m a bit mad’ replaces genuine genius eccentricity.

We heard about his cancer a couple of months ago which was shock and were cheered buy his never-ending gigs that continued and his Tweets that dared to take the piss out of the mean disease- joking about his papier mache head losing its hair!

Two weeks ago Frank Sidebottom popped up at Bruce Mitchell’s (Durutti Column genius drummer and real Manchester legend) 70th birthday party at the Manchester town hall- looking as fresh faced as ever with those big round eyes showing little sign of the cruel disease. To be honest Frank had remained unchanged since he burst onto the showbiz scene a quarter of centaury ago.

He even did a gig in my local pub the Salutation about a week ago. Funny as fuck to the end.

Manchester mourns another legend.

R.I.P. Frank Sidebottom

Sorry to have to tell you that Frank Sidebottom/Chris Sievey has died today. He was diagnosed with cancer last month and died due to complications after the operation to remove a tumour in his chest.

I'm stunned right now and can't really write about it .......

Speak again soon........Dave Arnold

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"I dont give a damn about my bad reputation......!"

My mate Jamie went to see JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS in London on Monday night.
She played the 100 club, which is a small intimate venue......and he told me she was really great!!
Bad reputation, Crimson and clover, I love rock 'n' roll along with Cherry bomb and other Runaways songs.
Tonight she is playing Manchester supporting GREEN DAY at a stadium gig at Old Trafford Cricket ground....Wilky #99 was going and told me there was still cheap tickets available....I declined his offer...I reckon the Monday night small show woulda been a better bet and anyways I seen Green Day before..Ha Ha!!
Here is something on my shopping's a Joan Jett official Barbie doll....
Here is a couple of promo vids for "Bad reputation" and a cover of Gary Glitters "Do ya wanna touch me"

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

New Glen E. Friedman skate shots

New skate photography from Glen over at his blog what the fuck have you done? Pictures shot on Kodachrome just last week at Pier 62 Skatepark, NYC.
Above shot is Steve "Bulky" Olson, double axle grind on an over vert bowl corner.
Also a cool shot..... of Glen taking the shot!
For those who aren't familiar with Glen, he took the best skate shots in the late 70's, as a 12 year old, regularly submitting his work to SKATEBOARDER magazine. He also documented the early L.A. Hardcore punk scene and also somehow put himself on the frontline of the embryonic Hip Hop scenes in both L.A. and NYC.
His blog is always worth a gander..........

Monday, 14 June 2010


Amazing clip from 1974 about the Austrailian sub culture of Sharpies

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Whats not to like.....?

At about the age of six or seven, I remember playing my mums old 45's on her Dansette.....Elvis, The Beatles and The Kinks to name a few. To be honest though, I was perhaps more interested in "the mechanics" of putting the records on the turntable, 6 at a time and letting it run through its cycle. Although I could make myself look very cool by stating that, even as a small child, I knew the importance of those artists....I can't say for sure at that age, that the actual content on the vinyl made any difference at all to the overall experience.
However, by about 1973 I definitely started to form my own opinions about the different bands I was seeing and hearing.
Here are 4 clips from  around '73-'74 that kinda summarise my early interest in music. I wasn't aware of any classifications for bands...Glam, Soul, Heavy etc.....I just liked these bands.

Great clip of Mud doing DYNAMITE in 1973. This was written by ChinniChap for THE SWEET but they rejected it! I love the Biker-Sweaty dance moves. Mud used a bunch of their roadies doing this dance in the Top of the Pops appearance for TIGER FEET the following year.

A really great clip of the band actually playing live. Almost all performances are them 'lip-synching' along to a track. This footage shows what an awesome live band they could be. This track is from the 2nd album PLAY IT LOUD and is actually from 1970 during their "Skinhead" phase, however I reckon this clip is a couple of years after that.

TOUCH TOO MUCH from 1974...The Arrows had their own weekly TV show on childrens ITV!
They also wrote the original I LOVE ROCK 'N' ROLL made popular by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Earliest known footage in existance from 1974. The band was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of two groups, CHOISE and THE GOLDEN HAMMERS. This led to an eight member band, with the unusual feature of having two vocalists, a couple of drummers and two bassists! This was the first single, "Hey Rock and Roll" One of the only songs written by the band, it was released in April 1974.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


On my recent trip to Finland I saw a lot of bicycle choppers being built. This made me think back to a project that me and Capt. Highside did between us back in the summer of 1995.
The Captain was actually recovering from a broken foot that was the result of his first and only vintage motocross race and to fill his downtime he began playing around with some old cycle parts.
When I saw what he was doing, I got involved and like most things I seem to do, the project "snowballed".
The Captain did all the engineering and I took care of sourcing parts, paint, cosmetics and graphics.
This bike was christened "Subversion" and I came up with the name SKOOTER FARM CYCLE CONCEPTS...little did I know this name would stick and that over a decade later would be the moniker for our fledgling dirt track team.

People ask me a lot what the name means..... so I'll try to explain:

"SKOOTER" is an outlaw biker term for a stripped down, purposeful motorcycle. Originally spelled "scooter" I decided to change the spelling to disassociate the word from Lambrettas and Vespas.

"FARM" is a word that suggests homegrown productivity, dirt, agriculture and hillbillies.
So I guess the jist of it is..... motocycles built in outhouses and then ridden around in fields by inbreds!! ha ha!
Anyway, back to the bike, the frame and forks are a heavily modified, stretched Raleigh Burner.
The front wheel was from a unicycle and the rear is from some old moped. Other trick parts are a Mongoose Supergoose stem, one-off custom seat, faux-springer forks and the bullet head light and tail light.
The little guy sat on the bike is the Captains nephew, Tom, aged 9, up at Sunday biker hangout Rivington Barn when the bike was first finished.

Friday, 11 June 2010


I just did another guest spot on Johnny Alphas KILLER DILLER radio show. We decided to do a "Strictly European" themed set.....not including Britain......just to see if we could keep a show interesting without relying on all our usual "Big Hitters".
It turns out the shows content is probably almost 3/4's music of French origin......but that's OK!!
Click on the link below to listen to the show.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


You couldn't make this shit up!! Fantastic rambling anecdote from a mad Chorley woman.....anybody know her?


This is a piece of art that Frank did. It's called "Me as me after chemotherapy" and just sold for £480 on EBAY. The money is going to Christies Hospital charity.
Here is the message that went with the auction:

hello fantastic fans,... frank sidebottom here,...
and after finding out that i've got bobbins cancer,... the world has gone potty !!!
(see my "oh blimey" blog on )
I've had loads of press,.. offered loads of interviews and telly,...
and they are playing me loads on the radio !!
which is just what i had in mind for the month of may,.. as I celebrate 25 years in fantastic
semi-professional showbizness this month,.... but maybe not quite the way I planned !!!!
Anyway,... what you are bidding on here is a ace drawing I've done in the "me as,.." series.

*** it's "me as me after chemotherapy" (ha, ha !)***

it's signed dated and stamped and comes with a copy of the "metro news"
which I will also sign to the winning bidder.
I've started the bidding at 109p,...
(as you can get a 109 bus to wythenshawe hospital)
and postage is 11p worldwide
(as you can also get a number 11 bus !!!)
happy bidding,... and bid as much as you like,..
as I'm giving all the money to cancer research,... (that's good !)
best regards

frank sidebottom


We spent a couple of hours over at the HOMEGROWN CHOPPERS clubhouse in Helsinki. This is a relatively new club with mainly younger guys.....many with a skateboarding background. The club currently has 30 paid up members who share the rent on the clubhouse. It's a great way to do things, there is a real communal spirit and different guys specialize in different aspects of bike building. The clubhouse also had a pretty cool, well stocked Tiki bar.
An impromtu photo shoot for DAVIDA HELMETS took place when a professional photographer, some pretty girls, Fiddy with some helmets and a cool chopper all happened to be at the same place at the same time!
The girl in the last shot, who was very clearly "with her boyfriend".... propositioned me later on in the evening....whilst her psychotic-looking "fella" was prowling around the party with his arms folded and a frowned expression on his face, watching her every left me a little uneasy and on edge.