Article: Tina | @tommostina
* Note/Disclaimer: The pronouns they/them/it have been used for RBB & SBB. There are also lots of great extra sources for pictures of the bears and extra branches of information linked at the bottom of the timeline.
Twitter Take Two:
On October 10, 2015, a new Twitter account was opened for the bears, @rbbsbboffical. At first, many people believed that Josh Devine, One Direction’s drummer, was behind it because he was the first to follow it. The first tweet was of a rainbow pizza in reference to a pizza parlor in Indiana that refused to cater a gay wedding. (Article linked below.)
The second tweet, also sent on October 10, 2015, was a confirmation that the account was made by the person/people behind the bears. It was a photo of RBB against a brick wall after the concert in the outfit it was wearing at the show. It would have been very difficult for a fan to have edited that photo in the short span of time between the show and tweet. An interpretation of this photo is to see the wall as a stonewall (referencing the Stonewall riots) rather than a brick wall, and that it’s there to say that whoever took the picture is “fighting”, but this is a theory and is not confirmed.
A third tweet was also sent on October 10, 2015, it was of two drag queens, Boo Sutcliffe and Amber Cadaverous, holding RBB. The picture was taken at Missing, an extremely popular gay bar in Birmingham. (There is a link about this day at the bottom.)
The show on October 10, 2015, was Birmingham night one and there was a framed photo of a person who the fandom couldn’t yet identify (remember this). After the show, Josh Devine tweeted, “Great show tonight! Also just for the record, I am NOT in control of anything to do with the bear!! Goodnight! Xx,” successfully quelling most fandom speculation of him being behind the bears.
Set-ups & Sent-outs:
On October 11, 2015, at Birmingham night two, RBB was dressed in a leather outfit while riding a motorcycle. The motorcycle was set up in a way that it was ‘popping a wheelie’, which is a bike trick, or stunt. By theory, the bear is conveying the message that stunts are happening. That same night there was a picture of RBB and SBB in front of another brick/stone wall sent from the Twitter account. A second tweet posted that same day was just a picture of RBB in a leather jacket with their usual aviators. Though, the glasses had a reflection of a hand in them… mysterious.
October 12, 2015, was Birmingham night three, where the unidentified picture appears for the second time. At this show RBB was holding an advertisement for a Railcard promotion called Two Together Railcard; this promotion gave a discount when buying certain railway tickets in pairs. The tweet that night was of SBB next to a white cement block wall. There is a similarity between the wall and the cover of the Pink Floyd album “The Wall,” so fans believed that there may have been a connection to be made. There is a theme in the album about people in power taking advantage of others and from that people fighting back. This made for a theory saying the people behind the bears were in a bad situation and were fighting back, such as Harry and Louis being in a bad situation with their management and record label and were desperately trying to fight back against the forced closeting.
The seventh tweet by @rbbsbbofficial, on October 13, 2015, was SBB in front of a door handle sign that said, “Do Not Disturb.” The purpose or significance of this was too cryptic to be found by fans.
Dublin night one was on October 16, 2015, RBB was not present at this show. The next day, on October 17, 2015, a tweet was sent before the show with a picture of the bears wearing Irish-related clothing. This show was Dublin night two and the bears didn’t appear on stage, but there was still a set up of a stuffed horse and a pink Hello Kitty chair. The significance of this is that the only other time this specific setup has appeared was when the day after rumors about Louis being a father started (Seattle, July, 15, 2015). There was also a Nokia phone sitting on the chair alongside the horse. The phone has a label that says “Nut Tree.” This is one of the only things that has collectively stumped the fandom. The most prominent theory was that the label was hinting towards the Nut Tree Inn who had been posting things on various social platforms that very easily relate to Larry, such as using the word ‘buzzing’ and naming their three pigs Harry, Barry, and Larry. Dublin night three had the same setup except for the phone having a different label (what it said was never found out to my knowledge).
The Countdown Part 1:
October 20, 2015, was when the next tweet was sent. The tweet was a picture of an open, rainbow hand. This was interpreted as representing the number five but its meaning was unknown. This was the same night as the Belfast show, which was the first and only show One Direction ever canceled. The music video for “Perfect ” was also released that night, later followed by a brand-new track, “Home.”
Belfast night two was also on October 21, 2015, but the bears weren’t at the show. The bears’ Twitter account, though, tweeted what looks like a screenshot of a digital calculator with the number ‘-4’ as the result of the equation ‘21-10-15=’. With this tweet fans believed that a countdown was happening, since the bears weren’t at shows and the numbers were decreasing and consecutive. The next day was Dublin night three, on October 22, 2015, where the bears also didn’t show up. On this day @rbbsbbofficial tweeted a picture of three bowls of porridge, one green, one blue, and one red, which each said “Too Hot!”, “Too Cold!”, and “THA…Just Right”, respectively. When searched for the photo brings up a blog called “Dorien Grey and Me”, which is run by a gay man named Roger. At the time, the most recent post was titled “Growing up Gay” and the author wrote about how for most of his life he couldn’t speak about his homosexuality because he feared the possible consequences. (Below is a link to a short analysis of this.)
Presenting: A New Profile Picture
The official Twitter account also changed its profile picture for the first time, on October 22, 2015. The new image was of RBB in an Irish step dancing outfit with a green, sparkly fedora holding a violin and a flute by its side. SBB was close to the edge of the photo, mostly covered by the autobiography of Danny La Rue called From Drag to Riches. There are a couple theories about the violin and flute. The most prominent one is that the violin represents a fiddle and the flute is a pipe and these relate to the phrases “pay the fiddler” and “pay the piper.” The phrases both have the same meaning of owning up to or facing the consequence of one’s actions, usually from self-indulgence.
It has also been suggested that RBB is meant to represent the Pied Piper who is the main character of a German fairy tale who is hired by the townspeople to get rid of rats. The piper uses his magical pipe to lure the rats to a river where they drowned. Then the citizens refused to pay the Pied Piper, so he played his flute to lure all the children away from home. In some versions the parents pay the fee and the children are returned, in others the children never go back home. (Source used and for more info is below.) A third theory relates to a gay violinist that boycotted a Russian-Irish music festivel because of Russia’s laws on homosexuality. (Link below.)
The book in front of SBB, as previously mentioned, is Danny La Rue’s autobiography Drag to Riches. Danny La Rue was an Irish singer and entertainer who was known for his feminine and drag on stage persona. Later it was discovered that La Rue had also previously been a baker and had connections to Larry Grayson. He was also openly a homosexual and once toured for five years before getting a break (sound familiar??). Danny was also quoted saying that his life was his job and that he had never missed a performance (also sound familiar?).
The Countdown Part 2:
On October 23, 2015, a tweet with a screenshot was sent from the Twitter account. The screenshot was of the fifth page of an iPhone 5 with the background being a photo of a rainbow number two, there were also various apps on the screen. This night was the makeup date for the original Belfast night one, and the bears still weren’t present at the show.
The next day on October 24, 2015, the bears’ account tweeted a cropped screenshot; the zoom-in was centered on the messages app that had one notification. The app on top of the messages was the iTunes app and the app under the messages app is one called “Mini Gay Boyfriend” (the same developer also has an app called “One Date Direction”). The main theory for this was quite literally that the person/people behind the bears were just trying to say that they are gay.
October 25, 2015, was the last day of the countdown. On this day, before the show scheduled for that night, the bears tweeted a picture of a sign that the Chicago Cubs use at the beginning of every season. The sign says, “DANGER BEARS COMING OUT OF HIBERNATION.” At this point, nobody knows what the countdown is for and/or what is going to happen when it ends, the fans only had the knowledge that the bears hadn’t been at any shows since the countdown began.
And They’re Back!:
At Newcastle night one, on October 25, 2015, the bears are finally back on stage. At this show, RBB was sitting on top of a revolving salon chair, reading Danny La Rue’s autobiography. There are a few theories about what the chair being able to spin meant including: relation to a laundry spin cycle and Harry’s tweet from October 23, 2014, that said, “It all comes out in the wash,” with the people behind the bears trying to say that they see everything, and that the bears want all the attention because they have an important message to send.
The next show, Newcastle night two, was on October 26, 2015. RBB was wearing a full football uniform. At the time there were articles talking about two Premier League players coming out as gay. That same night, after the show, the bears’ account tweeted a photo of someone holding the RBB. It was later found out that the person was one of Harry’s childhood friends, and the photo was taken at Sunset Boulevard, which is a gay bar in the ‘Gay Village’ or ‘Pink Triangle’ of Newcastle. Louis was also spotted near by at Digital, a club also in the gay distric of Newcastle. It was also reported that Louis stood outside the bar and took pictures with a ton of fans, which ensured that everyone knew exactly where he had been that night.
On October 27, 2015, the bears’ account tweeted a picture of the bears in front of Newcastle United. That night at the show, RBB was positioned reading a book by Joan Rivers called I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me. Joan Rivers was a long time LGBTQIA+ ally and got ordained to officiate gay marriages. On one of her late night TV shows she coined the phrase “Can we talk?” Also on stage was the unidentified photograph from Birmingham nights one and three (October 10 and 12, 2015). At this point it was evident that figuring out who the person was would be important, since the people behind the bears kept putting them on stage. The fandom then figured out that it was Steve Phillips (aka Stella Artois) and got confirmation from Steve himself. The exact picture on stage was part of a flyer for an event that hosted Stella and other recognizable contestants of Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. One of the most notable was Stacey Solomon who was sued by Modest for breach of contract because she spoke about how her contract was constricting her.
Riddle Me This, Text Me That:
On October 28, 2015, the bears’ account tweeted a screenshot of a “‘Being fabulous all day, every day makes me exhausted’ RBB 28/10/15,” typed on a phone. The next day, October 29, 2015, a riddle was sent from the bears’ Twitter account right around when the doors were set to open for the show. The riddle is the first one that pops up if “hotel room riddle” is searched. At the time there were articles circling about Louis having trashed a hotel room and then getting kicked out of that hotel. The fandom completely agreed that the riddle was referencing this and that, since there was money involved in the riddle, things don’t add up.
At Sheffield night one, on October 29, 2015, there was a framed certificate of excellence written out to RBB for “BEING FABULOUS” signed by SBB. The writing on the certificate matches up extremely well with Harry’s handwriting. This was also the night where the bears had two intense spotlights on them, one colored blue, the other being green.
October 30, 2015, was Sheffield night two. At this show RBB was holding a phone that had the number ‘07492 817894’ taped onto it. This was and still is a working number. Fans texted the number and they popped up on the lock screen of the phone. The theory for this was the people behind the bears saying that the fans are speaking for them. ‘Coincidentally’, many of the texts said “Larry is real.” Also on stage was tour opener Jamie Lawson’s mascot which was a teddy bear named Furry Styles holding SBB’s hand. After the concert, the bears’ account tweeted a screenshot of the messages app that had 11,480 notifications.
Sheffield night three, on October 31, 2015, was One Direction’s last concert as a band. Dressed up for Halloween, RBB was wearing a vampire costume. Vampires are notorious for hating sunlight. The fan theory is that RBB was meant to hint at the media source The Sun and their recent articles. The fandoms also took to referring to RBB as ‘Drag-ula’ that day because of the outfit. After the show, the bears tweeted a picture that said, “KEEP CALM I’LL BE BACK,” with the words, “Keep in touch. Back very soon./ Much love & affection./Stay safe./ Thanks to you all /RBB & SBB. xxxxx.”
- A MASSIVE, MASSIVE thank you to @beccaisafan and their website again!
- All the photos of the bears with dates from @rbbsbboffical on Twitter
- Article about the Indiana pizza place
- Did Harry & Louis take RBB to a drag show?
- Porridge bowl analysis
- Pied Piper
- Boycotting the music festival