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The “Frank Sidebottom meets Mensa” debacle.

October 15, 2016

frank sidebottom letter 2

Dear Phil,
Thanks for your letter and the invitation to your meeting at the Wheatsheaf on the 15th October (1987). Please let me know the time and I will be happy to come along and meet you all.
If you would like the super-intelligent, fantastic Frank Sidebottom to do an interview with MENSA for Radio Timperley, (networked on Radio 2 and Piccadilly Radio) I can also arrange this for the evening.
To answer your question yes, we do have a brand new Executive Lounge, with a bar, that can be used for private meetings.
Look forward to meeting you.

8pm arrived, and then 8.15. Somebody came up the stairs. “There’s a guy in a papier-mâché head in the bar, he’s bothering the customers”. As I went downstairs to placate the bar manager, I passed Frank. The bar manager gave me a telling-off, I should have warned him, or something. By the time he’d finished, and I returned to the upstairs room I’d hired, Frank had gone.

A couple of the members present tried listening out for the programme on Radio 2. There was a late night quiz on, and true to one stereotype, they rang in to take part. The presenter denied any knowledge of Frank’s programme though.

I felt sad that nobody seemed to get what they wanted. I was surprised the staff at the Wheatsheaf didn’t know who Frank Sidebottom was. Apparently his fame hadn’t spread from Timperley, a few hundred yards across Navigation Road, to Broadheath. I felt guilty too. It seemed one of those occasions when people say “oh, the intelligent people” with more than a hint of sarcasm.

I could imagine Steve Rodent (not his real name but close enough), Principal Systems Analyst, the guy who said I lacked the oral communication skills to be a systems analyst in his team (“it is clearly beyond his capabilities”) crowing with satisfaction, if he found out. It’s only later that I realised most things to do with Frank Sidebottom did involve chaos.

That nexus of ineffectuality on the Wheatsheaf stairs occurred 29 years ago today.

 

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