An Interview With The Guy Who Interviews Cardboard Cutouts Of Lana Del Rey


Written by Jack Blocker
12 Monday 12th October 2015

Last week I wrote about a man called Bob, a YouTuber whose channel is dedicated to him interviewing cardboard cutouts of Lana Del Rey. Given Bob's slightly unorthodox hobby, I made some pretty juvenile assumptions about his character in the article. In fact, they were downright unpleasant and it wasn't on.

Now I sometimes forget that Don't Panic is actually a moderately popular website (thanks readers!), because when I emailed Bob asking if he'd be game for an interview, he had already seen the piece. And, understandably, he was a bit offended.

It's a bad habit of online journalists to criticise others without ever acknowledging their own flaws, and it's something I was guilty of with regard to Bob. I guess it's the security provided by hiding behind a screen. Whatever I may have thought of Bob at first, at least he wasn't the one cussing out strangers online. And for that, I apologise.

Plus the fact he took the time to answer my questions, despite all I said about him, really proves he's one of the good guys.

On that note, here's what Bob had to say to me.

Hi Bob, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm 58 years old and live in Massachusetts. Aside from Lana I like to ski and golf! I am not married but blessed with wonderful family and friends.

I've got to ask - why did you start interviewing cardboard cutouts of Lana Del Rey?

I was inspired by YouTuber CaliforniaLuv84. She made a great video called 'I Survived Lana Del Rey Concert'. It is from a concert in San Francisco in 2014. You should definitely watch it. A real document in time of how hardcore Lana's fans are. She also has a very popular YouTube channel so I communicated with her and I got inspired I guess. I had an idea of me talking to Lana but I didn't know how it would really look. But when I had my first 'Lana' printed I was so pleased with how it came out that I knew I was on to something. I saw David Bowie in 1973 as Ziggy at Radio City in New York and I became a hardcore Bowie fan for many years. That fandom has been reborn in Lana I guess.

CaliforniaLuv84's video.

When did you first discover Lana?

I think I had read a little about her before Saturday Night Live, but my real awareness came right after SNL. I didn't see it live but read all the backlash. When I listened to 'Video Games' and then 'Blue Jeans' there was this addictive quality that kept me listening over and over. In fact back then it was quite common for people to use the word addicting in YouTube comments. There is something about her voice. I also have always been someone who wants to help the underdog, so I kind of jumped in her camp. I knew she had talent and would be vindicated one day. There are lots of people who still have no idea who she is but she really has become an international star. 

What do you like about her music?

I guess it starts with her voice - something about it touches me. I never associated Born to Die with depression or suicide. I read that that's what a lot of other people felt, younger people mostly I guess. So I love her music but I was also caught up in the ever-growing Lana saga.

Bob's latest video.

Do your friends, family, or co-workers know about your channel? If yes, what do they think of it?

Excellent question!

Truthfully no. My good friend that I grew up with has a daughter who goes to college in Boston near me, she is 18 and I told her but I haven't told her Dad. She laughed at the one I showed her. But friends, family and co-workers don't know. I posted on Facebook when I was going to see her in concert but that's about it. You may say it's strange that someone would put something on YouTube but not want anyone to know!

My friends all know my sense of humour and the people I grew up with know I was Bowie obsessed. I know they would get a good laugh. I think it comes down to the fact that Lana has so much internet baggage that I don't have the emotional energy to follow all the stuff they might google about her - without ever listening to her sing. That's why I was floored when I saw your web page. People may find out eventually and I am sure they will love me just the same!

Bob's first video.

What do you think Lana would make of your channel?

I think she would laugh. Some are very silly and some are more straight forward, like the one's I did about seeing her in LA and Boston. Unfortunately, every famous or near famous person has to deal with some people who are mentally ill, or who have some illusion that they have a 'connection' to the person. I would be sad if she got that idea about me. Some people have written some sick things in the comments about me but hey, it's the internet! She has nothing to fear from me - nobody does actually. I had one video that talked about the upcoming Boston show and someone wrote, "He is going to the Boston show and I live in Massachusetts, I'm scared." I was laughing about that one.

What would you ask the real Lana if you met her?

If I ever met her it would probably be in the same circumstance as other fans, after a show or at a signing. Probably good for a hug, a selfie and a memory. I don't think we will ever have lunch together. I actually almost met her when I saw her at the El Rey in Los Angeles around three years ago. I waited outside with everyone and saw her signing things but I didn't have a camera or smartphone so I just watched. There is footage on YouTube of that and I can see myself!

Thanks for speaking to us, Bob!

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