As Timperley salutes its local hero with a statue, Listened In this week tunes into Frank Sidebottom. Oh yes it does. It really does.

Listened In is 2ZY’s weekly air-check blog. Every week we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

Pic: BBC

Pic: BBC

WHO  Frank Sidebottom

WHAT  Radio Timperley

WHEN  On demand radiotimperley.com

ID: Radio Timperley, it goes all around the world. Radio Timperley. And I am a material girl .. boy. Eh? Thank You.

Let’s start with a bit of punk rock.

Anarchy in Timperley/Frank Sidebottom (“I use the NME” becomes “I read the Manchester Evening News Classified advertisements ‘cos I’m saving up to buy my Mum a washing machine.”)

“I’m here to bring you a fantastic Radio Timperley show .. with all sorts of music … and here’s some from my mates the Smiths.”

Panic/Frank Sidebottom (rails against the council for cutting a tree down outside Timperley’s Nat West Bank “and the jukebox that constantly plays ..played absolutely nothing ‘cos its bust.”

“From the Eastway shops to Baguely Brook, you’ll never see a poster of our favourite discy jock. Anne the DJ, Oh Anne Nightingale, what’s your blinking game? I waited for your roadshow, but your roadshow never came.”

“If you’ve not heard of me before”, says Frank, “I’ve got a fantastic gimmick that I wear all the time, you might recognise me when I walk down the street. I have a great big fantastic pink tie. When I take that off nobody recognises me!”

A competition next. “How many of the Smiths live in Timperely? It’s a proper question. None, cos they’ve all moved out now. But Andy Rourke used to live just round the corner from me. And Johnny Marr.”

Timperley Sunset/Frank Sidebottom

“Their Mums are still there”, he says, returning to the Smiths. “Morissey lives in Barcelona, Los Angeles, anywhere he can throw his arms round, basically as long as it’s not Stretford.”

Hey You Riot Policeman/Frank Sidebottom “I need to to get a bus, to Wythenshawe Hospital.”

Chats with Little Frank about cutting out a picture of a rhino for his scrapbook.

Great Big Zoo Scrapbook/Frank Sidebottom

“Don’t think it’s all gonna be about me me me me me”, reassures Frank, “‘cos it won’t be …” before going on to tell us a long story about how many times he’s been on Match of the Day, “you know on the telly, where you press the top button.”

Guess Who’s Been on Match of the Day/Frank Sidebottom

“Brilliant. Who fancies some Beatles?”

It Was Twenty Years Today/Frank Sidebottom

“Yes, it’s time for adverts, take it away.”

ADS: (a song in which Frank sings all the jingles) Frankfurters, Do It All, Shake n Vac “Stale smells from here come from down there, in your house and your dog or something.”

SUMMARY

If Frank Sidebottom is little more than a passing reference in pop culture to you, you might like to read this to understand creator Chris Sievey’s byzantine route to fame. Chris was a one-off, and his alter-ego was “family friendly, if a little bizarre for some.” But like The Wire, or coriander, the more you consume, the better it gets. And his radio work, popularised by the then-mighty Piccadilly is a good primer.

Radio people love creative people, and Frank/Chris had lots of fans in radio. He died in 2010, and his statue – funded by fans – has just been unveiled in his home town.

The Radio Academy NW is working on a Frank Sidebottom event, live in Timperley. Dates will be announced soon. You can follow Radio Academy NW here.

You can also read 2ZY Listened In as part of Radio Today’s eRADIO newsletter every Wednesday. To subscribe, just go to radiotoday.co.uk/eradio

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