“I am from Manchester…, where to be negative is to be real.” (John Cooper-Clarke) 
In the next three months you will have a chance to see three giants of the Greater Manchester punk/post-punk scene, and three grumpy old men to boot.

Mark E Smith (Prestwich) and The Fall are playing Manchester Academy on Saturday 18th July, John Cooper Clarke (Salford, originally) is at The Lowry on Saturday 1st August and Frank Sidebottom (forever Timperley) will be performing at The Frog & Bucket on Tuesday 29th September.

The Fall have been going (and have kept going) long enough for me to have fallen in and out of love with them on a number of occasions. Mark E Smith is what Mrs Bradshaw (Billy’s Mum) would call a “cantankerosity” and she would be right. A relationship with Mark is hard work, even if it only amounts to thinking about whether or not to buy his records. I have stopped buying them, but I will probably check out the gig.

John Cooper-Clarke’s manic-Manc performance poetry is mesmerising. You listen to it again and think, why don’t I have this on all the time, but then forget about it for another year. His poetry and wit remain as biting today as they were 30 years ago, as part of the punk scene – when his Snap, Crackle and Bop LP was an absolute classic.
The Lowry is more post-modernist, than post-punk and I am not sure what John Cooper-Clarke would make of his home-city, rebuilt in glass and shiny tin. Actually, I have a good idea what he might think and I would like to be there to hear it!  
I found an interview with John Cooper-Clarke in which he said, “I’d hate to be one of those people who’s famous for being famous. Besides, it’s important for a poet to have an ordinary life ….to know what a pint of milk costs.”
"I'm also an excellent ventriloquist, actually"

"I'm also an excellent ventriloquist, actually"

I assume that Frank Sidebottom knows how much a pint of milk costs because he is often complaining about having to do the shopping for his Mum. If John Cooper-Clarke is the bard of Salford, then Frank is the bard of Timperley – the centre of the showbiz world (according to Frank).

Frank made an early claim to punk roots with the release of “Anarchy in Timperley”, which is still one of his best songs. He also claims to often be mistaken in the street for Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks…?

In an earlier guise (as the man behind the mask) he was also responsible for the wonderful “I’m In Love With a Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk” (The Freshies), and set-up the Razz record label..

I know that some people just don’t get what all the fuss is about with Frank and his big fibre glass head and his nasal drawl. Response was mixed, for example, to the Channel M testcard. For me, I like the fact that he is there, giving a different take on the Manchester “scene” and biggin’ it up for his beloved Timperley and Altrincham FC.

Frank has become a solid supporter of Forever Manchester and the Community Foundation.  All the proceeds from Frank’s one-night-only show will go to the Forever Manchester campaign, helping to make Greater Manchester a better place. What more incentive do you need to go and see Frank in the flesh? Ahem! 

“I Thank You.” (Frank Sidebottom)


Tickets for Frank Sidebottom’s Frog & Bucket gig in September are available via the Forever Manchester website.