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By Jon Ronson

"First released within the uk by means of Picador, 2014"--Title web page verso.

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The voice acknowledged. “. . . Ents? ” I stated. “Oh,” the fellow stated. “I proposal you acknowledged, ‘Ants. ’ Jesus! ok. So Frank’s taking part in at your bar this night and our keyboard participant can’t make it and so we’re going to need to cancel except you recognize any keyboard gamers. ” I cleared my throat. “I play keyboards,” I acknowledged. “Well, you’re in! ” the fellow shouted. i peeked on the receiver. “But I don’t be aware of any of your songs,” I acknowledged. “Wait a minute,” the fellow stated. I heard muffled voices. He got here again to the telephone. “Can you play C, F, and G? ” he acknowledged. “Yes,” I acknowledged. “Well, you’re in! ” he stated. the guy at the mobilephone acknowledged I should still meet them on the sound payment at 5 p. m. He further that his identify used to be Mike, and Frank’s actual identify used to be Chris. Then he hung up. I checked out the receiver. • • • I arrived on the bar at precisely 5 p. m. where used to be dingy even in daylight—we have been deep in a basement—and empty aside from a number of males twiddling with apparatus far away around the sticky carpet close to the degree. “Hello? ” I referred to as. the lads grew to become. I scrutinized their faces. within the 3 hours because the mobilephone name I’d realized a bit approximately Frank. Frank Sidebottom—how he wore an incredible pretend head on level and there has been a lot hypothesis approximately his actual id. a few concept he could be the adjust ego of a star, in all likelihood Midge Ure, the lead singer of the band Ultravox who had simply had a big hit with the hot Romantic tune “Vienna” and was once recognized to be an enormous Frank Sidebottom fan. Which of those males me will be Frank? and the way may i do know? If I regarded heavily, could there be a few form of facial indication? I took a step nearer. after which I turned conscious of one other determine kneeling within the shadows, his again to me. He started to flip. I let loose a pant. large eyes have been staring closely at me, painted onto an excellent, enforcing pretend head, lips a little bit parted as though mildly stunned. Why used to be he donning the pretend head whilst there has been not anyone there to determine it apart from his personal band? Did he put on all of it the time? Did he by no means take it off? “Hello, Chris,” I acknowledged. “I’m Jon. ” Silence. “Hello . . . Chris? ” I stated back. He acknowledged not anything. “Hello . . . Frank? ” i attempted. “HELLO! ” he yelled. • • • Another of the lads got here bounding over to me. “You’re Jon,” he acknowledged. I well-known his voice from the phone. “I’m Mike Doherty. thanks for status in at such brief become aware of. ” “So,” I stated. “Maybe shall we run during the songs? Or . . . ? ” Frank’s face stared at me. “Frank? ” Mike acknowledged. “OH convinced? ” “Can you train Jon the songs? ” he acknowledged. At this Frank raised his palms to his head and commenced to pry it off, turning a little clear of me, virtually as an act of modesty, like he was once shyly undressing. i presumed I observed a flash of anything less than there, a few contraption hooked up to his face that he looked as if it would speedy get rid of, yet I wasn’t yes that had occurred in any respect. It used to be all so quickly and discreetly performed. “Hello, Jon,” acknowledged the guy beneath. He had a pleasant, traditional face. “Hello . . . Chris? ” I acknowledged. Chris gave me a sheepish smile, as though to claim he used to be sorry that I needed to suffer all of the weirdness of the previous jiffy yet that it used to be out of his palms.

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