inzwischen dürfte er allen einsamen popherzen bekannt sein: der kleine bbc-pechvogel misery bear. anläßlich der veröffentlichung seines buches in deutschland beantwortete er uns alle fragen, die wir ihm schon immer stellen wollten:
you just released your book "misery bear's guide to love and heartbreak" in germany. what could a desperate german soul possibly learn from a british bear?
i think sadness is the same no matter where you are in the world. the language of despair and loneliness is universal. if i meet a cute girl bear, ask for her number, arrange a date, and then sit alone in a candelit restaurant as she stands me up, there won't be a person in the world who doesn't know how i feel. i'm hoping that by bringing my sad little world to germany, i can help those of you who are going through tough lives realise that you're not alone. no matter how bad things get, there'll always be a little bear doing worse than you.
what do you think: who is buying your book? mostly groupies? and who did you write it for?
i wrote it because i was contractually forced to. the people who make my films agreed to it without my knowledge, and then forced me to spend six months writing it, drawing pictures, posing for photographs, making poems, recipes, relationship advice, diary entries... and yes, now all this very personal stuff is out there for people to read, i'm very concerned that groupies and stalkers will know far too much about me, and possibly target me. there are some very strange people out there, and even though i'm lonely, i don't want to be friends with the kind of person who you find at the foot of your bed at 3am wearing night vision goggles.
is the book going to be released in other countries as well?
well, so far it's the uk, canada, australia, france and germany, i believe. my publishers are exploring other places. i'd very much like to go to japan. and maybe hawaii. do a lot of books come out in hawaii?
what do you think about germany? any life-changing experiences? nice bear-fräuleins?
as much as i hate to sound upbeat, i've had a really good time on my visits to germany. so far i've been to hamburg, cologne, berlin, düsseldorf, hannover and osterholz-scharmbeck, and the people have been a lot nicer to me than they are in london. i did meet a couple of bear-fräuleins on my travels, but i was actually a lot more interested in the human-fräuleins. there are a few who work at my publisher's that i like, but i blew my chance with them when i accidentally asked them all on a date in a group email. after that, none of them wanted to go on a date with me.
what is your dream partner like anyway? is she human? or a bear? how should she be like? do you get many offers via facebook for example?
i'm very easy - human or bear (stuffed, not wild). i think it's sometimes frowned upon for a human to marry a stuffed toy, but i think people who have a problem with that should get their heads into the 21st century and accept it. some of my favourite human ladies include kylie minogue, scarlett johannson, naomi watts, katy perry and nicki minaj, but i'm not fussy. i do get offers on facebook and twitter, and some of those are too graphic to mention here. when i'm feeling very lonely (most oft he time) i do get tempted, but then i have to remind myself that the person writing the message to me might want to lock me up in a dungeon, which i wouldn't like at all.
most british bears visiting our country would go to berlin or munich. you went to hannover and osterholz-scharmbeck. are you a danger seeker?
i did spend a very wild night in berlin a few years ago, and ended up in some clubs that were quite eye-opening for a little british bear like me, so this time i thought i would see the hidden scerets your wonderful country has to offer. in osterholz-scharmbeck i found one bar in the whole place that served beer, while in hannover i saw lots of shops.
your handlers chris and nat seem to be nice guys but, honestly, don't you sometimes want to get rid of them?
all the time. they "seem" like nice guys when they know people are watching, but behind the scenes they're monsters. you should see the out-takes of the films they force me to make – they're always shouting at me, pushing me around, saying mean things, calling me an idiot, it's unbearable. i'm hoping that one day someone will secretly film the abuse those two give me and there will be a scandal and they'll have to go to prison and i'll be free. in fact, i have that dream most nights. oh, and in prison they both get murdered.
from your perspective as a bear and a brit - do germans have a sense of humour?
yes! for a country that doesn't have standup comedy or any sitcoms or sketch shows that i could see, the people are actually very funny. maybe that's because you're not all forced to watch terrible standup comedians, sketch shows and sitcoms like we are in the uk. you're actually happy, funny people because you're not surrounded by bad comedy every day.
you released so many films and a book. so: are you rich?
no, not at all. i have to have a day job to make ends meet. the percentage of revenue i receive from book sales or selling the films to the bbc is tiny, due to a contract i signed when i wasn't wearing my contact lenses. as a result, i don't think i can ever be rich. typical, really.
you are a handsome and popular bear. why is it so hard for you to find friends?
i'm not sure, though thank you for calling me handsome and popular. do you want to be my friend? no? see, that's the problem right there - i think i might come across as quite needy and desperate. when someone shows me the slightest bit of attention i blow my cool and act like an idiot. god, i hate myself. no wonder no-one else likes me either.
what about your family? what are you doing for your living?
i don't have any family. i never knew my mum or my dad. i was abandoned and found in a second-hand shop. sometimes i wish i knew who my parents were, but most of the time i try not to think about it. having said that, a big hairy man who claimed to be my uncle once sent me a very rude message on facebook. i'm pretty sure he wasn't my uncle though.
how did you spend christmas (after last year's disaster) and what were your plans for new year's eve?
well, this year i thought i might go away for the christmas break, but my credit cards got cloned and someone stole my identity, so i wasn't able to leave the country. iknstead i drank a lot of brandy, watched tv and fell asleep at 2pm on christmas day only to wake up at 5pm on boxing day. so i missed most of it. i did make a christmas pop video though, with a bunch of very pretty classical musician ladies called bond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYSPC8P9o1M. as for new year's eve, i tried to get invited to some parties but no-one wanted me, so i sat in the corner of a noisy pub on my own and drank beer until i couldn't see straight, and then i woke at five in the morning on a city bus. a pretty good night out, as it happens.
we are a music site. so we are interested in what a popstar-bear like you listens to? on your homepage you mentioned the "red house painters". any other bands? other music?
i listen to a lot of music. my favourite bands when i was growing up were red house painters, radiohead, american music club, hüsker dü, joy division, kraftwerk, nine inch nails and kylie. these days I listen to a lot of bon iver, burial, grizzly bear, deerhunter and kylie minogue.
at the moment there are a lot of bear-related bands and musicians lumbering around. which one is doing best: grizzly bear, panda bear or bear in heaven?
i like all three. i saw grizzly bear in concert last year and was very proud they chose my race to name themselves after. and as for bear in heaven, "i love you it's cool" was one of my favourite albums this year. i don't like actual panda bears in real life as they're a bit stupid, but the band panda bear are very good, so i forgive them for using their name.
how would you explain this bear-affinity amongst male indie musicians?
i'm not sure why it's happening, but i'd like to see more bands with pretty ladies in get drawn to bear words and imagery. i'd happily be the mascot for a indie band of nice ladies who'd like to take me on tour with them please.
in germany we have a very popular musician called "cro". he's always disguised as a panda. do you think this kind of inter-speciesistic crossdressing is unbearable?
i'm very open-minded, so i really don't have an issue with it as long
as there is a reasonable level of respect. as i said before, i'm no
fan of stupid pandas, but if a man wants to dress up as an ursine creature,
i don't mind as long as he doesn't go too far. i've heard of people
called "plushies" who dress up as teddy bears and then have sex. i think
this is strange and dangerous, and i think these people should be put
in prisons. but, like i said, i'm very open-minded.
(interview: volker kindt/andrea ritter, 12/12)