Friday, December 31, 2010

It's the New Year. You know it is, it really is.

As I write this, preparations are underway to go and visit our friends Neil and Lisa for a New Years Party at their local - a fancy dress party at that, the theme being Rock Stars from the 70s and 80s.  Tara is going as Peter Kriss Paul Stanley from Kiss, albeit a Paul Stanley with tits, and I'd originally intended to go as the ever-awesome Noddy Holder from Slade.  However, inspiration struck on Monday morning and I decided (as there was adequate time to prepare) to go as one of the single greatest rock stars of the 1980s.  I would pay tribute to the great man who sadly passed away this year from cancer.  Yes, tonight Matthew, for you I shall be.. Frank Sidebottom.

Purchasing a tin effect helium balloon from Hobbycraft (the only balloon of a decent size), we padded out the sides to make it an oval by sticking carrier bags on the side filled with wrapping paper, to make the basic shape.  After several layers of PVA glue soaked newspaper followed by A4 paper followed by newspaper followed by A4 paper, etc, I bravely cut open the bottom and was surprised when it didn't simply deflate.  Having removed the innards, I had a reasonable oval shape.  I then proceded to paint it with several coats of ready mixed kids peach paint and left it to try.

Once it had dried, I painted in Franks hair (again with some ready mixed kids black paint) and left to try again.  I experimented with ears (as per this photograph) but just couldn't get them looking right, so abandoned the idea.  I'd simply draw them on instead.  The occasional tidy up of where the black paint had faded showing patches of peachy flesh and..

It was ready to try on to figure out where the eye holes should go.  Some messing around with the mirror and nearly poking myself in my actual eyes with a pencil and they were correctly positioned.  The whole mask is quite heavy and too large, even for my own overly sized cranium, so will need padding out so it stays in place.  I enlarged the eye holes to the right size to match some adhesive eyes I'd drawn earlier.  I took some old 3D glasses from when I'd been to see Avatar and cut out the lenses and stuck them inside the mask, thus ensuring the eye holes were dark and not obvious - I.e. you couldn't see my eyes inside them.  Eyes I'm lucky to still have after the random pencil poking incident.  Don't try this at home, kids.  Or if you insist on doing at home, try to be patient and wait for somebody elses assistance to locate your eyes and mark them accordingly. 

Ta-daaaa!  Properly stuck on eyes and a drawn on nose later, and it's almost complete.  Frank is nearly complete - now he just needs his parting (painted on a seperate piece of adhesive paper so I can simply stick it over the hair) and a mouth capable of taking a straw (so I can at least have a drink New Years eve, even if not a cigarette).  Hell, I'm giving up smoking for my New Years resolution anyway, so this will be a good start.  I had to enlarge the hole for me to feed my head through - it wasn't quite large enough for me to able to fit my noggin in if I had glasses on at the same time - and with visibility obscured when inside this damn thing, It'll be nice to have my glasses on so I at least stand a fighting chance of navigating about.  Top tip: A peg (or food clip) pinned over your nose makes an excellent Frank Sidebottom voice simulator.  And is also a textbook example on how to suffocate on PVA glue fumes in a poorly ventilated mask. 

One completed Frank later.  Mouth cut out and painted around, and ready for venturing into the big wide outdoors.  Not too keen I had to move the eyes closer together than Frank would normally have them, but I needed to match the position of my own eyes or else I'd be moving around like some kind of drunk cyclopean idiot.

Now, you only need a show biz suit (or just a suit), white shirt and tie and your transformation is complete!

So, Frank gets an outing tonight - and I've made a Little Frank as well to keep him company.  Photos will undoubtedly follow - any excuse for a new blog post these days.  But to serious matters - I hope you all have an excellent New Year, and that the best of 2010 is the worst of 2011.  Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.  Here's hoping the New Year will be a phonomenal one for all of us.

Also, last but not least - congratulations to my great friends Tom and Fran for getting engaged on Christmas Day.  Regular readers of this blog will know Tom as the semi-regular contributor Druid - responsible for recent whinges about Fallout: New Vegas and the man solely responsible for the only celebrity comment on this blog; Namely Scott Sigler on Toms piece about his new book.  Tara and I wish them all the very best - they're a fantastic couple and I'm genuinely made up for them.

Disclaimer: does not accept responsibility for any injuries sustained during the potential manufacture of your own Frank Sidebottom Papier Mache head.  FoldsFive is a trained professional with years of Papier Mache practice and blindly poking in the direction of his eyes with pointed Ikea pencils and does not recommend that you attempt the same.

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