Jon Ronson flew into Belfast to talk about his new book Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie. His book is a memoir that details his time in Frank Sidebottom’s Oh Blimey Big Band.
For three years in the late 1980s, Ronson was the keyboard player, falling into the role by chance after volunteering to play the notorious string of chords C, F and G, that made up much of Sidebottom’s music. The group rose and fell and eventually Ronson returned to London. He was prompted to put pen to paper when Frank got back in touch with Ronson after a fifteen-year hiatus. It was summer and Ronson was in the park with his son Joel, when his phone rang. It was Frank, he wanted bring himself out of retirement and he wanted Ronson’s help. The comeback was short lived, Frank aka Chris Sievey died of throat cancer in June 2010.
Ronson’s show tells of his time in the bizarre and extraordinary musical group fronted by Frank, as well as his work on other projects like The Men Who Stare At Goats and The Psychopath Test. He also spoke about his personal life, such as the conversation every parent dreads to have with their children; Dad, is there a swear word worse than the F-word?
His memoir is now being adapted for screen as a fictionalised story based on Frank’s band. Co-written by Ronson and soon to be released, it starrs Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and is directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
We caught up with Ronson before he took the stage and talked about his life, his writing and where Frank’s head is now…
If you missed it or you just want to re-live it, here’s the whole event: