Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We Hardly Knew Ye

Just like Oz or Barsoom, there is a parallel world out there. In some ways it is like our own, but in others it is a nightmarish surreal parody of it. For example, this guy.

What the hell is that, you are asking if you're an American. Well, my love of British television has lead me to subscribe to the Twitter feed of one Graham Linehan, creator of The IT Crowd and Father Ted and Black's Books, eccentric little gems of sitcom goodness. And no, Graham is not the guy with the papier mache head depicted above. However, one of his little side themes this last week was about that guy.  His name? Frank Sidebottom.

Sidebottom, from what I'm reading, was a cult comedy figure in the eighties. He had recently made the news again with a song about the World Cup Matches called Three Shirts On My Line. However, this good news was eclipsed when, in the last week, he died of complications from an operation to remove a tumor from his chest. To be more specific Chris Sievey, the creative genius inside the head, died and took Sidebottom with him.

So I'm reading this outpouring of appreciation and grief for Frank Sidebottom, a character that has absolutely no resonance for me because up until 4 days ago I had absolutely no knowledge of him. It's like the famous actor's nightmare, where you're on stage but you don't know the lines or the blocking. Except, of course, no one is expecting me to speak. Still, it is very odd to process nostalgia without any context. Sure you used to do it with your parents; but this is a guy who might have been MY cultural touchstone had I only been aware.

You know what? I bet the Brits would feel the same way about Larry the Cable Guy.

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