Author Topic: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)  (Read 4188 times)

Twed

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2019, 08:56:27 PM »
Slightly-related anecdote: Today I directed a man looking for another business in the building I work in to the front desk, and then heard him say "Hi, I'm Steve Sulllivan looking for...". Long story short, I believe in The Lord now.

phes

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2019, 09:17:33 PM »
Well that was fucking great. Almost everything else seems asinine, superficial and insignificant by comparison. A masterclass in finding your own voice.  Good work Chris

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2019, 09:54:58 PM »
aye, he kept turning up on whatever ITV had on Saturdays from the mid 80s to the early 90s, it seemed.

I have very strong memory of a cut from a gloriously weird Frank section to a totally baffled Neil Buchanan, who seemed to be temporarily unable to present the next item.
Probably on Number 73, but maybe a bit later.

kalowski

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2019, 10:29:58 PM »
Claim to fame: I once saw the Magical Timperley Tour open top bus drive past me, with Frank on top, microphone in hand.

phes

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2019, 06:05:30 AM »
Here's some photos from Bobbins the Sievey exhibition:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5qye25nttp70inv/AABVB9UQ3AoB7m6FQUBy8QA8a?dl=0

Flouncer

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2019, 01:56:13 PM »


I’m on my way to the exhibition now. Me and my ladyfriend have just been on a pilgrimage to Timperley. It’s quite a lovely place actually.

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2019, 08:05:58 PM »
Here's some photos from Bobbins the Sievey exhibition:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5qye25nttp70inv/AABVB9UQ3AoB7m6FQUBy8QA8a?dl=0

Thanks for those phes. I haven’t been to the exhibition yet but when I do I won’t necessarily get time to examine the detail, so it’s great to see some of it here.

I finally saw the film on Friday night. I feel like I need to write about it at length at some point, but for now - it’s fantastic. After waiting seven years for it I almost feel relieved that Chris and Frank’s stories have been done justice. My non-Frank loving other half thought it was brilliant too.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 08:17:17 PM by Wayman C. McCreery »

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2019, 08:43:58 PM »
Saw it in Chapter Cardiff on Friday w/ Steve Sullivan Q&A afterwards. Was very glad I opted for showing with Q&A. The additional info he gave us ...especially on thing at the end......really made that worthwhile.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2019, 09:18:07 AM »
Saw this last night and loved it, although It’s really quite sad. Sievey was an outsider artist who deserved to be an insider one. The sheer scale and quality of his output was incredible. He was genuinely a genius.

What really stuck out to me was how, despite him never cracking the big time the way that he ought, his life still followed the trajectory of the doomed rock star anyway - years of struggle followed by success sending him completely off the rails followed by burnout and problems with the tax-man.

The first half really succeeds in putting across how loveable and wildly imaginative Sievey was. I thought it was interesting that the young Sievey had a sweetness and innocence about him, which he channeled into Frank even after relative success unleashed his coke-fiend, drunk and debauched side. One interviewee describes it as almost schizophrenic and I agree. It was quite the jolt to see Sidebottom’s head on naked women dancing in seedy backstage areas, like a surreal out-take from The Sopranos Bada-Bing club.

The film has also solved what was long a mystery to me, in that how he saw through the head: it had eye holes covered in black gauze. I always though he was peeping through the mouth.

Jockice

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2019, 07:23:54 AM »
I haven’t heard that before but I hope it’s true.

As for overstating his popularity, I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m always surprised by just how many people (in the north-west at least) know who Frank is. It’s remarkable that a surreal, outsider artist ended up being a regular on evening TV.

I went to see him live at Sheffield University in the late 80s/early 90s. The place was absolutely packed out. He was very popular with that sort of audience, most of whom will be approaching or even in their 50s now. Gulp!

c

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2019, 07:37:22 AM »
Saw this last night at the pictures and I thought it was beautifully done. Unlike some others, I haven't come to the film as a Frank fan particularly and so, for me, it played out like the sad story of a man whose talent simply couldn't match his vast ambition. For all the talking heads saying his band were absolutely amazing and the only reason they weren't megastars was because The Man at the record company is just a fool, yeah? there was mediocre song after mediocre song that suggested that The Man at the record company is actually quite good at his job.

But Sievey's tenacity and energy were extraordinary. A true artist and a fascinating man. I enjoyed every moment of this. Superb film-making from Sullivan. 

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2019, 10:20:01 AM »
Saw this last night at the pictures and I thought it was beautifully done. Unlike some others, I haven't come to the film as a Frank fan particularly and so, for me, it played out like the sad story of a man whose talent simply couldn't match his vast ambition. For all the talking heads saying his band were absolutely amazing and the only reason they weren't megastars was because The Man at the record company is just a fool, yeah? there was mediocre song after mediocre song that suggested that The Man at the record company is actually quite good at his job.


Can’t agree with that at all, sorry. Love the Freshies, brilliant songs. And their work was every bit as eccentric and avant- garde as Frank, just in a far subtler way. They might look like a mediocre mans Buzzcocks on the basis of some excerpts in a doc to you (and I can understand coming away thinking that on that evidence) but there was far more going on there, believe me. I think they were a hard sell to record companies precisely because their subtle absurdity was baffling. Frank was successful where the Freshies weren’t because his (literally) cartoonish persona could more comprehendably be filtered/smuggled onto children’s TV etc which is of course where he first achieved mass exposure.

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2019, 10:59:56 AM »
I've revisited The Freshies because of this.
Only got a compilation (not sure what else is out there), but it's great stuff in a catchy Buzzcocks sort of way.

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2019, 11:08:57 AM »
I've revisited The Freshies because of this.
Only got a compilation (not sure what else is out there), but it's great stuff in a catchy Buzzcocks sort of way.

Unfortunately there is pretty much nothing else* (unless you can track down the original vinyl). Another part of the problem with spreading Freshies appreciation is that there is only that one CD comp available digitally, and the sound quality/mastering is terrible, not helped by Sievey mislaying many of the master tapes, which means the last third of it is compiled from hissy needle drops of vinyl! It also misses out many of their A sides. Despite that their song craft and tunefulness still shines through, and it was my intro to the group too of course.

(*Tbf there is some rare Freshies stuff on the new Being Frank soundtrack album too, but it’s just a portion of its contents and misses key stuff.)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 11:24:24 AM by ajsmith2 »

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2019, 11:19:24 AM »
For all the talking heads saying his band were absolutely amazing and the only reason they weren't megastars was because The Man at the record company is just a fool, yeah? there was mediocre song after mediocre song that suggested that The Man at the record company is actually quite good at his job.

Sievey was a pop obsessive and in thrall to The Beatles, and clearly loves that brightness and use of melody. I'm not so inclined, so a lot of The Freshies stuff is a hard sell to me too, but I can tell that there's some subtle subversion and (as ajsmith2 says) absurdity going on under the surface. I think Yellow Spot could confidently sit alongside stuff like Turning Japanese in the gallery of power pop.


Speaking of absurdity, the thing at the Bobbins exhibition that threw me is the hilarity of this tribute to Dali:

     

Not only is it a fucking hilarious image, but there's clearly a healthy bit of disdain and pisstakery towards surrealism there too.

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2019, 08:57:11 PM »
This was a really absorbing film. I was a north west teenager in the late 80s and I knew and liked Frank but knew very little about Sievey. While I was moved and impressed by Chris's imagination and the effort he put into his creative works (even when they had only a tiny audience, or none at all in the case of the football memorabilia),  I'm afraid my strongest feeling about him, having watched this, is that he behaved like a right twat to Paula.

Twed

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2019, 10:26:19 PM »
I got the vinyl album for the movie (really well packaged and made a transatlantic intact) and it has the most beautiful picture disk I've ever seen.

I'll have to take a picture later, because this page does not do it justice: https://www.keymailrecords.com/being-frank-the-chris-sievey-story-picture-disc-frank-sidebottom-and-chris-sievey-7a020

Rolf Lundgren

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2019, 10:36:25 PM »
Discovering the Freshies was an absolute pleasure. Some of the songs like "Wrap up the Rockets" and "If You Really Love Me" are fantastic pop records and I'm not going to claim they should have been on Smash Hits every week but they didn't receive the acclaim their talent deserved. There is definitely a hint of the absurdity of things to come in them, their output being like an Easter Egg for any Sidebottom fans.

Twed

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #48 on: April 04, 2019, 03:31:20 AM »
I got the vinyl album for the movie (really well packaged and made a transatlantic intact) and it has the most beautiful picture disk I've ever seen.

I'll have to take a picture later, because this page does not do it justice: https://www.keymailrecords.com/being-frank-the-chris-sievey-story-picture-disc-frank-sidebottom-and-chris-sievey-7a020




Blue Jam

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2019, 12:48:09 PM »
This was a really absorbing film. I was a north west teenager in the late 80s and I knew and liked Frank but knew very little about Sievey. While I was moved and impressed by Chris's imagination and the effort he put into his creative works (even when they had only a tiny audience, or none at all in the case of the football memorabilia),  I'm afraid my strongest feeling about him, having watched this, is that he behaved like a right twat to Paula.

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the film. I really enjoyed it but I kept thinking "Paula must have really loved him to have put up with all that". Pushing her into the canal seemed particularly sociopathic but it made her fall in love with him somehow. He must have had some incredible charm and magnetism that I just couldn't see myself, though with a limited amount of footage of Sievey being himself (as opposed to being Frank) and no chance of interviewing the man it was never going to come across in the film. Perhaps you just had to meet him...

I also felt really sorry for his kids (the story about the bailiffs taking the telly was particularly bleak, as was the one about his oldest son finding him legless in town and having to carry him home), especially as it seemed he was actually really good with kids when he made the effort.

I hadn't been very aware of his artwork until now- seeing that, and how much there was, was incredible. If only he'd had a bit more focus or some staff to help him pull it all together and got a few books out or a proper fanclub on a larger scale. It was sad seeing someone that talented being so chaotic, for the effects on both his family and his artistic output.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2019, 02:03:24 PM »
It was sad seeing someone that talented being so chaotic, for the effects on both his family and his artistic output.

I think this is often the case with genuine artists, and I don't know if it's just the chip on my own shoulder but I felt there was a subtext of his not being fully appreciated on account of being a working class Manc with ambition rather than a smarty pants art-school grad. I think he makes for an interesting comparison with Bill Drummond in this respect, another eccentric who follows through on insane ideas, but had the good-school, middle-class, art-school background and contacts to justify it.

I think 'sociopathic' is a bit of a strong word for the canal tale, which Paula obviously looked back fondly on. I don't think he threw her off a bridge or something, I thought it was more in the pulling pigtails arena of flirtation. They would only have been 19 or 20 at this point.

Not that he wasn't a bastard for playing away, being a drunk and irresponsible with money etc., although you could also tell that he was fun to be around too. Everyone's reminisces seemed much more rueful that he was such a compulsive character, rather than hating him for his behaviour.

phes

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2019, 02:54:34 PM »
I really enjoyed it but I kept thinking "Paula must have really loved him to have put up with all that". Pushing her into the canal seemed particularly sociopathic

Ricky Gervais takes notes for season 2 of AfterLife etc

Blue Jam

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2019, 03:28:23 PM »
I think this is often the case with genuine artists


Maybe, but I can't help feeling angry when there are kids involved. Parenthood is the point where you pull your finger out...

Quote
and I don't know if it's just the chip on my own shoulder but I felt there was a subtext of his not being fully appreciated on account of being a working class Manc with ambition rather than a smarty pants art-school grad. I think he makes for an interesting comparison with Bill Drummond in this respect, another eccentric who follows through on insane ideas, but had the good-school, middle-class, art-school background and contacts to justify it.


That's a really good point- being chaotic might have held him back but that wasn't the only thing, with an art school background and the right connections he could have scaled up the comics and other publishing endeavours, the art shows etc and made them profitable.
Then again, I saw Bill Drummond's Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared and while he looked healthy and happy in the Q&A afterwards (very sprightly for a man in his 60s, certainly) his life did look a bit more chaotic in the documentary, judging by the scenes filmed in his house.

Quote
They would only have been 19 or 20 at this point.


Ah right, fair enough, and yes, people did seem to remember him very fondly so there must have been something I couldn't see- again, it was never going to come through in a documentary made after his death.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2019, 03:57:41 PM »
Will hopefully be watching this on Prime tonight. Was gonna wait for my DVD, but now too excited.

kalowski

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2019, 09:37:56 PM »
I also felt really sorry for his kids (the story about the bailiffs taking the telly was particularly bleak, as was the one about his oldest son finding him legless in town and having to carry him home), especially as it seemed he was actually really good with kids when he made the effort.

I've not seen the film yet, but there's such a sad coda with his kids, as his son Harry was killed a few years ago, getting hit by a car whilst cycling.

Captain Crunch

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #55 on: April 06, 2019, 10:25:16 PM »
Really hoping there will be a load of deleted scenes on the DVD like this one:

I Could Be So Good For You At Christmas

And

Frank goes to the chippy chippy

And not from the film but just because

Ad break

Can anyone locate the website song please?  It goes something like ‘I’ve got to get online, I need my own website, if not by this afternoon then definitely by tonight’?  Ta.

kalowski

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2019, 10:54:54 PM »
Really hoping there will be a load of deleted scenes on the DVD like this one:

I Could Be So Good For You At Christmas

And

Frank goes to the chippy chippy

And not from the film but just because

Ad break

Can anyone locate the website song please?  It goes something like ‘I’ve got to get online, I need my own website, if not by this afternoon then definitely by tonight’?  Ta.
Ooh, I know that chippy!

kalowski

  • Sooner or later
Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2019, 11:35:14 AM »
I loved it, but it was a tragic story. The Freshies do deserve to be bigger. I remember "I'm in love..." playing when I was a kid, one of those songs I assumed everyone knows. I guess I just listened to Mike Sweeney on Piccadilly Radio a lot.
It was sweet to see his son Harry, who I'd met a couple of times before he died. I didn't realise the connection when I first met him, just wondered who this kid was with a Gibson Les Paul signed by John Squire.

kalowski

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Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2019, 03:00:44 PM »
BTW. I think my favourite anecdote was when he opened for Bros.

"Hands up who likes Matt?" *Cheers*
"Hands up who likes Luke?" *Cheers*
"Hands up who got a Betamax?" *Silience*

Re: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Frank Sidebottom documentary)
« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2019, 05:44:10 PM »
Just to add to the Sievey musical talent discussion above, this song from the end of the brilliant 5:9:88 LP is a fucking masterpiece, dreamy almost Beatles pastiche, and it's all about Norweb, being skint, paying bill and diving out of your bedroom window and down a grid to fly to a mates house to watch telly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOwF-6F8670