It’s Frank’s world . . . we just live in it

Sunday 21st June 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Chris Sievey’s death (21st June 2020). There is now a tremendous video tibute to Chris on the Old Courts’ YouTube channel

Anyway, the boys from Strand Records wanted to mark the anniversary with some memories of Chris’s alter ego . . .


Back in the mid-1980s, the Strand Record’s boys started to see gig reviews of an artist called Frank Sidebottom in the NME. The reviews described a rather chaotic spectacle of an entertainer still living with his mum and appearing to be incapable of growing up. That really resonated with the Strand Records’ boys . . . although I am not sure we entertained anyone!

Being based in Stoke-on-Trent, we didn’t get to hear any of Frank’s appearances on Radio Timperley and we received Central Television rather than Granada so we missed out on Frank’s appearances on Granada Reports. We did start buying the records though, both on Marc Riley’s In-Tape label and on EMI’s Regal Zonophone imprint. We also started going to Frank’s gigs during 1987-88. The below photo shows Dave Strand prior to a gig at Hull’s Adelphi Club in October 1988. It is fair to say that we were enchanted by Frank’s world. ‘That’ keyboard sound, his fear of incurring his Mum’s wrath for not tidying his room or doing her shopping, the focus on Timperley, his overall quaint nature (as we saw it and meant as a compliment), ‘that’ voice and his hilarious take on the ‘showbiz’ world. Oh, and what other contemporary performer was referencing blow football!


We were also receiving Frank’s COM updates through the post which detailed the various swag you could buy. Apart from vinyl, we ‘filled our boots’ with badges, tapes and t-shirts although we never had enough money to invest in a ‘Sidie’ – Frank’s version of an Oscar. This was because it was the 1980s and when we were not students we were on the dole and when we were not on the dole we were studying. We still dream of owning a Sidie today (despite being in our, erm, 50s) and here is a picture of a Sidie from the Bobbins! exhibition held at Manchester Public Library in 2019.

Frank Sidie

Anyway, the gigs and record releases continued and our love for Frank’s world grew and grew. We would sit in Ken Strand’s bedroom listening to Frank’s vinyl version of the Saturday afternoon football results being read out – this version was edited with a bacon slicer with genuinely hilarious results. We adored Franks fascination with Subbuteo, The Beatles and Gerry Anderson’s TV shows. At a similar time we were getting into Viz comic and Frank’s world seemed to chime with elements of Viz’s world to us. A big moment for us was when Frank covered the Fab Four’s Being for the benefit of Mr Kite on NME’s Sgt Pepper knew my father compilation album released in 1987.

Franks collection

Frank’s public profile started to heighten towards the late 1980s/early 1990s. In 1989 he introduced NME’s Carry on disarming video which we watched and watched and watached and watched. Frank even got his own TV show in 1992 called Frank Sidebottom’s Fantastic Shed Show. He also appeared on Channel 4 in Tony Wilson’s Remote Control game show as well as ITV’s Saturday morning kids show, no. 73.

By around 1994 or so, the Strand boy’s seemed to lose touch with Frank. I guess it was that age old issue of life getting in the way? As a character, Frank was not as active in the late 1990s and, for us, it seemed as if Frank’s world had come to an end.

BUT . . .

In 2006, Dave Strand happened to notice that Frank was unveiling a mural dedicated to his world on the side of Afflecks Palace in Manchester. Frank was accompanied by the artist Mark Kennedy. Dave Strand popped across town on his lunch hour to watch the unveiling and get a photo with Frank. Dave Strand was so excited and he couldn’t wait to phone Ken Strand to tell him (in all seriousness) that Frank, “had not changed a bit“. With that statement, we guess the inability to mature/’grow up’ was still there in all of us!! Of course, for the next 4 years or so the Strand Records’ boys became Frank obssessives again as can be seen by the below, erm, montage of Dave Strand and Frank from 2006-2009. The photo outside Afflecks Palace in 2006 is middle right.

Franks world

During 2006, Frank appeared on Manchester’s Channel M in his Frank Sidebottom’s Proper Telly Show in B/W. In 2007, Ken and Dave Strand took some friends who were Frank virgins along to a gig in Wolverhampton. It’s fair to say that they were very doubtful about Frank’s act and feared that the gig would be a night wasted for them. It was so rewarding for Ken and Dave to see their friends’ frowns turn upside down within the first ten minutes of the gig. At the end, they were buying as much merchandise as they could lay their hands on, getting selfies with Frank and singing Great big zoo scrapbook very loudly in the car on the way home. This photo of Ken Strand with Frank is from that ‘wonderful night in Wolverhampton’ (how often has that phrase been uttered!).

Franks world KEN

The gigs continued and Dave Strand went on the Magical Timperley Tour which was a total hoot. By 2009, Frank was playing a monthly residency at the LMRCA in Altrincham. These shows were truly amazing and the crowds were generally quite small which allowed Frank to really indulge himself, e.g. Dave Strand played two games of Subbuteo against Frank during LMRCA shows. Dave lost both times!! These gigs are etched in the memory. So many great people were met at these gigs, including Dave Arnold, Martin Green, Martin Unsworth, Dave Hudson, Kev Jones, Simon and Susie Zaccagni. At the final LMRCA gig in December 2009, Dave Strand tried to sing Close encounters of the third kind at Frank’s behest whilst on stage (are there any words? Nope!).

Dave Strand was at the final Frank appearance on Friday 11th June 2010 at the Salutation pub in Manchester. It may seem a funny thing to write now but, at the time, Dave had never knowingly seen a photograph of Chris Sievey. He had been a bit too young for The Freshies (Chris’s post-punk combo) and had never really wanted to know what went on under the papier mache head. On that night, Dave stepped into the Salutation’s beer garden and looked at a man having a pint and a fag. The man looked back at Dave and they gazed into eachother’s eyes for a moment in a way that only two men who have met over a Subbuteo table can! At the end of this final gig, Frank placed his gaffer tape Elvis sideburns/Freddie Mercury moustache on to Dave’s head and that was that. Dave still has the gaffer tape (see below photo).

Frank last gig

Very sadly, Chris passed away 10 days later. It was so hard coming to terms with the premature death of a perfomer so unique and so incredibly creative. Frank had been forever young and the character never changed. That seemed to make Chris’s early passing even harder to take. The Strand boys have been to Frank’s statue to pay tribute and we have continued to listen to Frank’s music and laugh at his jokes and his wonderful on-stage observations about the world as he saw it.

Franks statue

For the release of Steve Sullivan’s truly amazing Being Frank documentary film, the Strand Records’ shop was covered in posters for the film. It made us feel better. In fact, the posters stayed on the windows for a long time. We could not bear to take them down.

Franks posters

Chris Sievey AKA Frank Sidebottom, the boys of Strand records salute you. You will never be forgotten.

Love Record Stores Day – limited edition releases for 20/06/20

Hi pop fans, please find below the listing of #LRSD stock that we are able to provide from 09:00am on Saturday 20th June 2020. Due to pressing plant time constraints, there is a mixture of “pre-order” and “basket” (in stock) items.

All items are strictly ONE PER PERSON. They are available on a FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS, ONLINE ONLY.

As items are purchased through the day, we will be posting a SOLD OUT note next to those titles that become out of stock. We will also publicise the out of stock items asap on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are interested in a particular item(s), please contact us via the form at the foot of this post and we will invoice you accordingly . . . providing the item(s) you are interested in are still in stock of course. The invoice will detail postage costs too. Payment is via Paypal.

LRSD sale
Please note that the prices quoted below do not include postage.

A Certain Ratio – Friends around us White vinyl 7” £12 SOLD OUT

Alvvays – Alvvays Light Blue vinyl LP. (Pre-order release date 26/6) £22 SOLD OUT

Alvvays – Antisocialites Yellow vinyl LP. (Pre-order release date 26/6) £22 SOLD OUT

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility base hotel and casino Silver vinyl LP £22

Beach House – Teen Dream Clear vinyl LP £22 SOLD OUT

Belle & Sebastian – Tigermilk Baby Blue Vinyl LP (Pre-order release date 26/6) £20 SOLD OUT

Matt Berry – Television Themes White Vinyl LP £20 SOLD OUT

Black Pumas – Black Pumas Tri-colour vinyl Edition LP £22

Blanc Mass – Blanc Mass Green/Blue starburst colour vinyl LP. £26

Bon Iver – 22, A Million Translucent Red Vinyl LP £22 SOLD OUT

Boygenius – Boygenius Clear Red Vinyl LP £13 SOLD OUT

Richard Brown – Sweet and Kind Soul Jazz Records Black Vinyl 7” £10

Tim Burgess – Oh no I love you Green vinyl LP (Pre-order release date 03/07) £20 SOLD OUT

Caribou – Swim Orange and red marbled vinyl 2LP £26

Cherry Ghost – Beneath this burning shoreline Black vinyl LP £22

Serge Gainsbourg – A la maison de la radio Blk vinyl LP £14 SOLD OUT

Gang of Four – Anti hero/Gil music Coloured vinyl. (Pre Order August release) £14

John Grant – Queen of Denmark Pink vinyl LP £22 SOLD OUT

Jungle – Jungle Gold vinyl LP £19 SOLD OUT

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Flying notional banana Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Gumboot soup Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Head on/pill Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22 SOLD OUT

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – I’m in your mind fuzz Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the universe Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon infinity Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Paper mache dream balloon Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22 SOLD OUT

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Quarters Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) £22

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Sketches of Brunswick east Recycled vinyl LP. (Carbon offset product) (pre order release date 26/6) £22

The Libertines – Up the Bracket Orange vinyl LP £19 SOLD OUT

Mogwai – Mr Beast Yellow vinyl. 2LP. £26 SOLD OUT

My Life story – World citizen CD EP signed by the band. £7

New Order – Music complete Orange vinyl 2LP £24 SOLD OUT

Nirvana – Bleach Yellow vinyl LP. £20 SOLD OUT

Oasis – Definitely maybe Picture disc 2LP £32 SOLD OUT

Iggy Pop & the Stooges – Russia melodia translucent red vinyl 7” £12

Radiohead – A moon shaped pool White vinyl LP £23 SOLD OUT

Sleeper – At the BBC Translucent blue vinyl LP £19 SOLD OUT

We are scientists – With love and squalor live in woodstock 1969 Pink, blue and green tri-colour vinyl. £24 SOLD OUT

Ryley Walker – The Lilywhite sessions Brown vinyl LP £20

Whitney – Light above the lake Picture disc LP £22 SOLD OUT

Inell Young – The next ball game Soul Jazz Records 7” vinyl £10

Various artists – The ladies of too slow to disco Volume 2. Green vinyl LP £25 SOLD OUT

Various artists – Warm leatherette (re covered) black vinyl 12” £18



Vinyl ‘Lockdown’ Reductions

Hi pop fans!  . . . we’re not exactly sure where the nation is regarding the concept of ‘lockdown’ but we are able to offer another opportunity to virtually fill some of those gaps in your record collections with these bargains.  £16 with free local delivery or £3 postage for up to 3 albums . . . get your orders by Monday 22nd June please . . . limited stock availability at this price.

Flash sale June

Babyshambles – Down in Albion

Badly Drawn Boy – Hour of the Bewilderbeast

Basement Jaxx – The Singles

Bauhaus – The Crackle (Best of)

Biffy Clyro – Vertigo of bliss

Belle and Sebastian – Dear catastrophe waitress

Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit

Dead can Dance – Garden of arcane delights & peel sessions

Gary Numan – Premier Hits

Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m going down

Kurt Vile – Walking on a pretty daze

Lush – Ciao! Best of

Parquet courts – Human performance

Pixies – Wave of mutilation (best of)

Prodigy – Music for the gifted generation

Prodigy – The Fat of the land

Prodigy – Their Law (The singles)

The Avalanches – Since I left you

The Avalanches – Wildflower

The Charlatans – Melting pot

The Charlatans – Tellin’ Stories

The Cult – Electric Peace

The Cult – Pure cult (the singles)

The Cult – Sonic Temple (3Oth Anniversary)

The Moldy Peaches – The Moldy Peaches

Yo la Tengo – There’s a riot going down




Love Record Stores Day (20th June)

LRSD 20th June

As you may know, the #loverecordstores campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the challenges faced by record stores during the current pandemic, and to encourage music fans to continue shopping online with their favourite stores. The 24 hour event ,including the world’s biggest online instore, takes place on Saturday 20th June.

The event will see dozens of new and re-issued vinyl releases being made available to music fans. The full list of releases and record stores participating is now available to view at and stores will make the releases available to buy online from 9:00am on the 20th of June and will be shipping on various dates soon after the event.

In addition to the vinyl sales, the world’s biggest online instore event is also planned with 24-hours of live performances, DJ sets, interviews, readings and more from a wide range of artists and influential music industry figures. Full details of the programme will be made available at

Viewing will be free of charge via but donations can be made during the performances and all monies raised will go to the #saveourvenues campaign as will profits from the sales of a range of specially commissioned Record Label T-shirts, which will be available through a merch area of There will also be donation buttons for the Black Lives Matter campaign and the Covid-19 relief fund.

Instagram @LoveRecordStores

Twitter @LoveRecsStores

Facebook @LoveRecordStores