Where in the world are you?
I'm located in the heart of the Midlands, Northamptonshire, UK!
Are there any other BTB collectors in your area?
There's definitely a few, I remember when I worked as an electrical apprentice, we were fitting some new lighting in a house in Wellingborough. I wandered into somebody’s 'Bear Room' and couldn't contain my excitement, that was a good day at work. If you're reading this ‘Man from Wellingborough’, it was good to meet you that day!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm 26, I've been a collector of Bad Taste Bears since I was 13, which technically means at this point half my life has bear witness to Pete's creation. How scary is that?! Before that I used to collect Corgi James Bond Cars, a little more suited to a 13 year old perhaps. I work as a refrigeration engineer which is exactly what it sounds like. Other than that I'm quite boring really. Oh, and I support Everton Football Club.
What was your first Bad Taste Bear, and when and why did you get it?
It was J.Edgar. My Mother had dragged me along to Milton Keynes shopping centre on the pre-agreed preposition that I'd be allowed to get something from The Gadget Shop. It must've took me all of 60 seconds to choose what I wanted, and that night I signed up to the collectors club. Little did I know, eh?!
How many Bad Taste Bears do you have in your collection?
Roughly about 450, but with currently only half of that figure on display. Room has become an issue, which is good news for my spending habits, not that it REALLY stops me though.
Do you have any BTB related anecdotes/stories you want to share?
There's a few, but one that stands out for me is receiving a bear that really pushed me from being a casual collector into an absolute mad for it nutter, and that bear was Kongo.
It was May 4th 2009, and a bank holiday sale was happening over on the BTB site, if you spent £10, you got 10% off your final order, £20 for 20%, £30 for £30% and finally £40 for 40%.
I remember thinking that since I had just come back into the fold of buying them again, it would give me a good opportunity to get £40 worth of bears for near half the price. I chose Marco, Sinclair and Kongo, along with a few BTB stands to make up the extra few quid. The box arrived and I opened Marco, a great bear. Next I opened Sinclair, it was sealed with a sticker which I tore back carefully to reveal the standard male version, not the rarer female version, still, I was happy with my purchase. Lastly came Kongo, as I picked it up I saw the box shrink wrapped in cellophane and remembered that it was part of the 'Buy-Back' scheme at the time. Having tried my luck with The King many years before I knew that the odds of finding one of the variants were slim to none, so I just tore through the cellophane wanting to get a look at the actual figurine.
I pried the polystyrene from the box and felt a sturdy piece of card fall on to my lap. I put the two blocks of polystyrene to one side still providing the foamy cocoon for the figure, and picked up the card. This, this was the moment. I read the words over and over again until I finally plucked up the courage to lift off one half of the aforementioned cocoon and there it was, Albino Kongo. I was absolutely over the moon and there'll be few things in life that will give me that sense of enjoyment ever again. I know, how sad?!
Do you have a favourite character in the BTB range?
I've got rather a few, and the top spot often changes from one week to the next, however one that has been pretty consistent since the day of launch has been Squaddie.
I have no affiliation with The Forces whatsoever, so I don't really know why I like this bear so much. I think it's got something to do with the triumphant nature about it and the not giving up aspect. Or I just really like the design and feel it's got multiple elements to its core of why it's Bad Taste.
Are there any BTB's you'd have to hide if a family member came over?
Most of my family are more crude than I am, I mean, my Mother bought me J.Edgar when I was 13! That should tell you exactly all you need to know.
Which would you rescue (after your children, pets etc.) from a house fire?
That's a toughie. My first thought would be my Giant Arctic Squaddie, BUT it weighs a tonne and so it would probably be more beneficial to just grab a few of the smaller ones. Kongo, Squaddie and George & Mildred perhaps, with a few others stuffed in my pockets.
Are there any specific pieces you’d like to add to your collection?
Arctic Squaddie, Antique Gold Alf, and a Gunmetal Wayne. $$$$$$$
What’s the best/worst thing about collecting naughty teddy bears?
The best is the thrill of opening the box of something new. The worst is the space it takes up, not only in displaying but on storage of the boxes! Also the addiction of having to have something new haha.
How do you display your collection?
I've currently got a set up of 3 glass display cabinets, I'm hoping to replace those within the next year however, with some higher quality display cabinets, so watch this space for upgraded photos at some point.
Have you had any disasters or breakages?
One, back when I first started collecting, Alec, the muff diving bear, decided to actually dive from the shelf when I was cleaning and ended up with a broken arm. Nothing a bit of superglue didn't fix though.
Do you collect anything else?
Yes and no. Nothing as religiously as the bears, but I do have a few bits n bobs from the Funko Pop! line and some game console memorabilia
What was the last concert you went to?
I went to see Deadmau5 in Ireland, he's not for everyone, but he's for me. It was an incredible evening, but very, very sweaty. Eurgh.
What’s the worst haircut you ever had?
Blonde fringe, which is how I attended my first signing I believe, I probably fitted in quite well as the name of the store was 'Clowns N Things'.
If a Bad Taste Bear was created to show the darker side of your character – what would it be like? Can you draw it?
I created one not so long ago to enter into a competition, I think it captures my dark sense of humour quite well, and I actually got it commissioned by the main man himself, which was excellent and is now one of my most prized possessions.
Has being a BTB collector introduced you to any like-minded people?
Lots. And they've all been fantastic. I've made some real friends along the way, which has been a bloody joy. Weddings, birthdays and general get-togethers have been a delightful off-shoot from these 4 inch polystone figures. And hopefully there'll be many more to come along with some great memories.
What’s your favourite sandwich?
A firm favourite that takes me back to when I was a kid is; a Ham, Cheese and Tomato Ketchup club sandwich. With the crusts cut off. I feel 8 and giddy again just thinking of it.
If you were to create a Bad Taste Bears themed day, what would it involve?
Ooh, I'd make sure there were loads of giveaways and games to start, Bad Taste Bear Bingo would go down a storm I'm sure.
Is there a Bad Taste Bear that you’d absolutely not want in your collection, and why?
Stumped on this one, I genuinely can't think of anything I'd not have in my collection. Each design has been chosen for a reason, and that reason is to try and resonate with as many people as possible, perhaps I'm just the perfect demographic for these things. Anyway, no I can't think of any. Hah.
If you were to buy a Bad Taste Bear product for these people – which would it be and why?
List of celeb/personalities:
Justin Bieber- Mike Hunt. It just makes sense somehow?
The Queen- I feel like she'd enjoy Vic with the UK t-shirt. Very patriotic!
The Pope- there aren't many infant bears, are there?!
Donald Trump- I'd be tempted with Mike Hunt again, if not, it'd be Fitz after it's been used.
Kanye West- Marco. He be trippin' as hard as Kanye and I think he'd relate to him quite well!