Recommended Read: Frank Sidebottom-Out Of His Head by Mick Middles

Art, Chris Sievey, comedy, comics, David Nolan, Frank Sidebottom, Jon Ronson, Manchester, Mick Middles, Music, Paul D Brazill, Post Punk, Punk, recommended reads, The Fall, The Freshies

The mind of Chris Sievey was clearly a treasure trove – indeed, a veritable Aladdin’s Cave – of bright and shiny ideas, many of which, thankfully, came to fruition. Most notably in the effervescent forms of The Freshies and Frank Sidebottom.

The Freshies were a brilliantly eccentric power pop/ new wave band who cheekily surfed the Manchester pre-punk, punk, and post-punk scenes, and came painfully close to success with a bouquet of great singles such as ‘I’m In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk’ and ‘I Can’t Get ‘Bouncing Babies’ By The Teardrop Explodes.’

Sievey’s later creation, Frank Sidebottom, was a surreal half-man/ half-puppet version of George Formby whose anarchic performances enlivened kids television shows and late night TV alike in the ‘90s, and whose live shows seemed to have garnered an strangely obsessive fan base. When Chris Sievey died in 2010, however, he left behind a hell of a musical legacy that showed the he was more than just a novelty act.

Out Of His Head was written by Sievey’s friend the journalist Mick Middles and is as intoxicating and sobering as Sievey’s life seems to have been. The book’s timeline spans more than a quarter of a century and includes cameos from Sievey’s family and friends as well as the likes of Mark E Smith, Steve Coogan, Jon Ronson, Caroline Aherne, Chris Evans, Mark Radcliffe, and, er, Bros.

Frank Sidebottom – Out Of His Head is a fascinating and bittersweet read, and is very highly recommended.

out of his head

Recommended Read: I Swear I Was There by David Nolan

BRIT GRIT, Buzzcocks, David Nolan, Granada, magazine, Manchester, Paul D Brazill, Post Punk, Punk, punk fiction, sex pistols, Tony Wilson

i swear I was there.David Nolan’s  I Swear I Was There – Sex Pistols, Manchester and the Gig that Changed the World is a hell of a yarn that ostensibly tells the story of the Sex Pistols’ impact on the Manchester music scene in the mid-1970s. 

It focuses on three events – the Sex Pistols‘ first gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4 June 1976, their second showing at the same venue one month later, and their first televison appearance on Granada TV‘s So It Goes.

I Swear I was There is a cracking read for anyone interested in the music and culture of the time and like all cracking yarns it’s choc a block full of great chatacters- Tony Wilson, Jordan Mooney, Howard Trafford, John The Postman, Slaughter and The Dogs and many more. Great stuff! 

Short, Sharp Interview: David Nolan

BRIT GRIT, David Nolan, Fahrenheit Press, Manchester, Paul D Brazill, Post Punk, Punk, short sharp interviews

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PDB: What’s going on?

I’m just recovering from the shock of my first novel being published. I still struggle saying the N Word… novel. It sounds so weird. Author is quite utilitarian but novelist still sounds suspect to me. This is the bit where I plug the book, right? It’s called Black Moss and it’s set in Manchester in 1990 during the Strangeways prison riot. It’s very sweary and unpleasant. It’s not knowing, there are no winks to the audience. It’s just unpleasant.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Yes. I like noise. I spent most of my working life in newsrooms with clattering typewriters, three TVs on and people screaming at each other. So yes, always music helps fill the silence: bit of punk, bit of electronica, bit of power pop, bit of reggae. Nearly all my previous books are music-related (I Swear I Was There, Tony Wilson, Damon Albarn) so I have an endless capacity for music.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

My daughter is 15 and she’s very funny. She calls me chief. Or Dave. Neither of which I like. Actually, she’s not funny, she’s annoying.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Being teetotal. Like me. And then being very smug about it. Like me.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The far north of Scotland. Which is where I’m planning to move in a couple of years. I’d prefer to live on an island on a loch on an island that is impossible to get to, but I suspect I won’t manage to sell that idea to my wife (who’s Scottish). So a nice seaside village is more likely.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Nope. I’ve led a charmed life. Honestly, if I died tomorrow I’d be happy with what I’ve done.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m doing quite a few radio interviews this week about the book. It’s set in a radio station, so that’ll be a bit weird. They’ll ask me if the characters are based on real people. I’ll say no. Which will be a lie.

PDB: Anything else?

Yes. Buy my book and I promise I’ll write another one.

nolanBio: David Nolan is a multi award-winning author, television producer and crime reporter. He has written a dozen books including Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, the true story of the largest historic abuse case ever mounted by Greater Manchester Police.

He presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary based on the book called The Abuse Trial. It won both the Rose D’Or and the New York International radio awards in 2016.

Officers involved in the case helped David with the police procedures featured in Black Moss, particularly the way the system deals with missing children.