A tragi-comedy entitled “The Man Who Didn’t Exist” (a.k.a. The True Story Of “The Bear”)
“If ever a story could shock, bemuse and baffle the innocent watchers of T.V’s top-rated show, “Grizzly Bear” (first aired in October 1976), then it is the story of “The Bear” himself, Robin Cheese, for nobody until now has known that Robin and The Bear are one and the same”, writes Peter Turd of The Sun.
The story begins in leafy Jocksville in the early 1970’s, in a converted shed next to a reputable solicitors. There lay Zodiac Studios, named after the famous Ford car and comprising four rehearsal rooms. The studio did good business and updated its recording facilities to include an eight-track tape machine in June 1971. The most momentous events in the history of the studio, however, and the ones that would shape Cheese’s future, happened in a crazy weekend in December of that year and involved Robin’s dubious wife of 7 years, Loretta. The third party involved was Steve Simmons, the moody, boozy, dishevelled, musically illiterate, rancid, turd-like, insane singer-guitarist of rock band Jif, as well as part-time roadie for Cheese. Robin and Loretta had been working late one night when Steve appeared and announced that he’d just emptied an industrial-sized tin of Rando (early Viagra) into his mouth, washed down with half a bottle of Scotch and a dash of brake fluid. Robin ignored him and went upstairs. While Loretta was bent over, sorting out a paper jam on the studio photocopier, Steve, filled with boozy lust, ripped her jeans down and did the dirty deed, tradesman-style, in a few wayward strokes, but not before Robin had unexpectedly reappeared. A fight erupted and ornaments were broken (and inexplicably, a plectrum!) but no serious damage was done. Later that night, after they’d driven Steve home, Loretta sounded the death-knell for their relationship when she confessed to Robin what he had suspected all along. Yes, she was a bloke….
These events were momentous in the long-term because out of the ashes of his screwed relationship sprang a single-minded determination to succeed that turned adversity into startling success. Cheese changed his name and “created” the glitzy Marco Starbound. He used his own capital and sizeable credit to start his own management business and immediately signed up aspiring band, “Lemon Fresh”. Their first single, “You Can Be The One (My Son)”, was a combination of 12 songs that the band members had been working on individually, with their producer Don Docker contributing the immortal first line, “If I Had A Spare Chisel, I Could Rule The World”. The use of a triangle struck with said chisel broke rock barriers and with a driving flute and harmonising geese, it was so strange that even David Bowie’s cousin, who dropped into the session, muttered, “too weird, man”, and went into town to buy a new skirt. Starbound saw their potential, if all purely novelty, and also found a way of boosting their shaky finances by not bothering with B-sides. Instead, by filling the flip side entirely with white noise (a sound resembling a strong gale), he turned a simple way of being a lazy, tight c*** and conning the public into a band trademark and an apparent artistic statement. A master stroke.
Starbound’s next move was to fire Don Docker after only a month (“too straight”) and produce the second single, “Scum Of The Day” himself, as well as providing the backing vocal, da-dum-da-dum etc….with its unique effect produced by singing with his mouth full of eggs. Lemon Fresh’s 15 minutes of fame surprisingly turned into an hour but in the end inevitably the constant gimmicks started to piss the public off. Starbound began to make strange decisions and slowly lost his marbles. He decided to shorten his surname to something sounding more dynamic but unfortunately shortened the wrong part. He contacted Steve Simmons, still with “Jif”, and together they sat in the Cheese loft for an entire night thinking of band names based on washing-up liquids and household appliances. Some of the names they came up with are too crazy to mention here but suffice it to say that Simmons and Bound were barking from that point on. Lemon Fresh had another top 10 record in April 1979, albeit only in the Indian charts, with a song aimed directly at that market, called “Whoops Mrs Khan, There’s A Hair In My Bargee”, but without the gimmicky title, the follow-up, “Old McDonald Meant No Harm” flopped and the rest, as they say, was crap. With his baby miscarried, he quit pop management.
Simmons’ story from then on is already well-documented in various biographies but what happened to Cheese/Bound is more of a mystery. He dropped his pseudonym and became paranoid about his slightly overweight figure. He became a fitness fanatic and part-time fitness instructor but unfortunately made the classic mistakes of:
- a) Losing weight too quickly thus causing a burn-out followed by said weight returning with equal rapidity.
- b) Allowing Marco to “disappear” without reason, meaning that the man he’d created and destroyed was in his face every day for months via the newspapers as they tried to uncvoer the mystery of his present location.
- c) Eating and eating and eating until all the old weight had been joined by multiple more kilos of it and his appetite could not be sated and he became simply….a fat bastard.
The man who had fairly recently been completing a marathon a week now devoured Snickers with the same determination and clarity of purpose. He also became an obsessive fan of the obese-era Elvis and read with gusto about the King’s world-famous eating habits. The phrases “gallon of ice-cream”, “hamper of cheeseburgers” and “vat of coca cola” were like poetry to this overly chunky former star. As if to live up to his name entirely, he also developed a party piece which involved your average block of Sainsbury’s mature cheddar. In the same way as he had built up to the marathon distance by steadily increasing his exercise intake, now he little-by-little mastered the art of stuffing a whole block of cheese into his fat gob and scoffing the lot. WHAT A PORKER!!, they cried.
He did get a partner around this time who was even less attractive and less mobile than him. Her name was Bertha and this girl blocked out the light. During sex, she could only manage a few pelvic thrusts before being too unfit and puffed out to continue. Robin, under her influence, indulged himself more and more. They began to look like twins and got more and more massive. Embarrassment in public was never far away, and although the two were thick-skinned (and thick everywhere else, and thick), sometimes it was just too blatant. When Robin sat on a wooden-armed chair, the arms flew off as soon as his rear hit the chair. He would often sit up in bed until 3am, while his lady kept the windows rattling with her snoring, with a bottle of whisky for company, reading about Marco in the extensive journals that he had kept during his relatively brief but memorable period of fame as if he was reading someone else’s autobiography.
At the most poignant moments, he would put the book down, wobble across to the bedroom mirror and examine the face that had changed so much. The eyes looked black and lifeless, the cheekbones had relaxed to the point of acutely sagging and his teeth had got so rotten from all the junk that he ate that when he bit into something hard he could feel them eroding away. He would stare continuously into the mirror until his face started to distort, and if he’d drunk enough and tried hard, he could see staring back at him the face of Marco Starbound, the man who didn’t exist….