In a week or so, we'll have some sub-pub singer at the top of the pop charts, courtesy of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas No. 1, pop impresario and freak-wrangler Simon Cowell.
But it doesn't have to be like that. Next Sunday, 12th December, Cherry Red Records are releasing Frank Sidebottom's "Christmas Is Really Fantastic" on download via iTunes and Amazon, in the hope that his fans will end the year we said goodbye to Frank, by giving him the chart hit he never had during his life, and a cheeky bid to keep Cowell and his circus off the top of the pile. The final chart of 2010 will be released on 19th, and they (and his fans) hope he'll be on it.
This song was my first-ever Frank vinyl acquisition. The 12" EP version was picked up for me by a Manchester mate on a trip home, the title song being two-and-a-bit minutes of cracking Christmas happiness that reminds you of the days when we had proper Christmas songs, when you'd watch Top Of The Pops after dinner on Christmas Day and there'd be Slade or Paul McCartney or Mud rounding off the show with the Christmas Number 1. The whole EP gives off a slightly off-balance Christmas Party feel, with Frank's trademark riffs surfacing in both his own songs and his excellent cover versions of Mull Of Kintyre, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and his Christmas Medley, and banter between him and his nemesis/conscience/bobbins puppet little frank. I still have it.
Cherry Red will be donating some of the proceeds to charity in memory of Chris Sievey, Frank's creator and doppelganger, and if you're still looking for that special gift, the box set of all Frank's In Tape releases, his albums, some previously-banned tracks (the Beastie Puppets songs which the Beastie Boys' record company injuncted) and a DVD featuring his video version of Panic, is out on Monday 13th, just in time for the big day.
It has been said that, if you want a proper Christmas song doing, then Frank is your man. If you hark back to the Yule of Yore (and Mine), if you resent the Cowell machine using the top slot to feed his empire, then buy this song next Sunday. Let's take Number 1 back and make sure Christmas really is fantastic! Thank you.