In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong.
Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream. It tells the true story behind the fictionalized movie.
Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of four best sellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London and New York City.
©2014 Jon Ronson (P)2014 Audible Ltd
A real story
The story was far fetched and only marginally interesting
Focus on another story
This might have made an interesting 30 minute or 1 hour story. It was appropriate as an anecdote not a full-length story.
Even Ronson fans (as I am) should avoid this one.
Jon Ronson narrates this as well, and it is excellent, mostly because of his own insights as he reads his own words. This is my 4th Audible purchase of his books here. I would also have purchased The Men Who Stare at Goats, but the narrator is not Jon Ronson, and lacks the quality of his readings.
"Interesting little tale"
Yes, great fun and interesting.
Frank . . . . .
Laid back? Dead pan? Some i am sure will find his delivery boring. Myself, after i have got over the first five minutes, i find his delivery to be a major part of my enjoyment. In large part i think his lack of "colour" enhances his non-judgemental narrative of events. Strange also how his love and fascination of people shines through this dead pan delivery.
Just a short little tale , but full of lotd of interesting people
I really enjoy Jon Ronsons work and narration my only criticism of this eotk is that it just too short. Certainly left me wanting more
"The the really interesting part of the 80s"
Listening to Jon Ronson tell a story is like being lucky enough to sit next to the most charismatic guest at a wedding. Don't kid yourself that this is a one trick pony. In a very short time he covers a wide range of anecdotal stories about the outsiders of the music scene. Some are funny, some are sad and some are simply astonishing. I can't wait to see the film.
I defy anybody listening to this not to want to investigate further into The Shaggs.
This short piece appears to be ultimately a good way to promote an upcoming film. This works for me, it was cheap and told me a potted history of the subject.
I knew nothing about Frank Sidebottom other than seeing the big head on tv a bit as a kid, iassumed it was a flash in the pan show ( i actually had it in my head he was a short lived gimmick from the word)
Very interesting to hear a bit about the potentially split personality behind the mask and in fact the whole band dynamic could have made for a longer book. Tasty bit of gossip regarding Mrs Merton( Caroline Aherne) which true or otherwise helps to place the story in an era for the reader/listener.
Id never heard of Jon Ronson, i was immediatelly at ease with his unique style. The fact he played a significant part in the story gave me confidence that i was getting mostly fact.
Overall im happy with this audiobook, mainly because its filled in a little gap i didnt even know i was missing. I now look forward to seeing the film!
"Ronson fans may be dissapointed"
While this audiobook has most of what we want from a John Ronson audiobook, I'm left disappointed, wanting more - and not in a good way.
John Ronson narrates is hown book with his usual superb humour and nuance. This book expands on his Guardian article about Frank (the original one, from England), and also discusses some of the outsider musician influences that fed into his excellent film. And just when it gets going by shining a bleak light onto some of America's weirdest performers the book ends.
I feel that this is the sort of territory that Ronson could have done so much more with. This barely even counts as a Novella. File it under short non-fiction story but don't waste a whole credit for something this short.
More information about Frank Sidebottom. This audio books is more about the author than Frank Sidebottom.
I learn very little about Frank Sidebottom. The side stories about the author are interesting, but not my main interest.
The reading felt rather dull.
The information about other singers in America that had similar problems to Frank Sidebottom.
This isn't an audiobook. It`s more like an extended news article. I learn next to nothing about Frank/Chris and the goings on at that period of time.
"Transit van trip down the backstreets of music"
Short book, but entertaining and interesting - possibly like the legendary Frank Sidebottom - a love or hate thing.
"I loved that book!"
Despite that I've never heard about Frank Sidebottom, I really enjoyed listening to that book and I will definetly watch the movie.
"Great story, but iffy 'facts' and largly recycled"
Yes. Jon Ronson is a brilliant story teller and whilst any one who keeps up with his journalism or listened to his Radio 4 show will be a bit over familiar with the content here it will all be new to a casual listener.
I would rather it had been longer and featured more original material as what we have here is mostly recycled (see above). Also Ronson's time line of events is extremely weak. He tells us about bad feelings towards Caroline Aherne in the Sidebottom camp circa 1987-90 due to her phenomenal success with the Mrs Merton show and the Royal Family - utter tosh! Those shows came years after Ronson's time in the band. Also he makes out that Frank was all washed up by 1990 which fails to allow for his regular appearances on Chanel 4's Remote Control and Radio 1's Mark Radcliffe show in the early 90's, probably the biggest national exposure he ever had.
I've listen to all his work on Audible and really enjoy his reading style. This is just as engrossing as his longer works.
I didn't laugh or cry, but Ronson's writing isn't really geared towards big emotional responses. It does however stay in my mind for a long time after listening and cause me to reflect on my own life experience. In his own subtle way I find him to be a very powerful writer. But I wouldn't expect to do a lot of laughing and crying during any of his books.
This book is a fun little oddity for established fans and a great introduction for new listeners.
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