Co-Editor In Chief
The Catherine Wheel message board has everything a fan could possibly want. Riveting conversation! Radical points of view! Revolutionary topics! Reckless attitude!
And Rob Dickinson?
Not exactly. But that is what a handful of fans recently believed. The good name of Rob Dickinson was allegedly damaged recently when an anonymous individual posted to the message board under the name RPDickinson, posing as the band’s lead singer.
Suspicions immediately arose after astute fans noticed the impeccable spelling and grammar of the posts. Despite these observations, which were publicly expressed several times, RPDickinson was showered with praise, adulation, and email.
Also receiving an unusual amount of email was Catherine Wheel manager and walking PR machine, Merck Mercuriadis.
“I thought the prank was humorous at first, and the accompanying emails made me feel popular and well-liked,” Mercuriadis said. “But after the hundredth ‘Is it really Rob?’ email, I wasn’t amused anymore. I am a very busy man and don’t have time for such nonsense. What do people think I do all day, nothing?”
Despite several attempts, Mercuriadis was unable to take matters into his own hands and post a statement denouncing the authenticity of RPDickinson.
“I tried sending a message to the board but a message reading ‘You have encountered a problem’ kept appearing on my screen,” Mercuriadis recalled. “At first I thought, ‘No shit I have a problem, that’s why I’m trying to ban this moron.’ Then I realized I needed a login name that would allow me to post to the board.”
Confused and overwhelmed, it was at that time when Mercuriadis called upon the Sanctuary Intimidation Crew, widely known in the music industry as SIC, to derail the relentless imposter.
SIC is the organization responsible for “taking care” of such bands as Poison and “making sure” that Catherine Wheel was the only early 1990’s British shoegazer band left standing by the end of the decade.
Surprisingly, RPDickinson’s antics proved too advanced for even SIC to dissolve. However, with the help of an earnest fan, it seemed SIC was about to get the lead they desperately needed to apprehend the culprit. Through the fan’s extensive search on America Online’s reliable member directory, results revealed a Tyne and Wear, UK, resident by the name of Rob Dickinson. Intent on bringing the prank to a halt, SIC immediately raided the suspect’s home, where officials used interrogation and physical force against the accused man.
“We had the guy, had ‘im bleedin’ an’ shit,” one burly SIC official recounted. “He kept claimin’ his innocence, sayin’ his name really was Rob Dickinson. So, I smashed his computer.”
Two hours into the operation, SIC received a call from Mercuriadis ordering the crew to cease its brutality.
“It seemed that we had made a rather embarrassing mistake,” Mercuriadis reported. “While SIC was in Tyne and Wear, the real imposter revealed himself. At first I thought, ‘Impossible, we have our man.’ Then I realized that there could possibly be more than one Rob Dickinson in the world.”
SIC retreated back to London, leaving behind a broken man and a broken computer.
The Tyne and Wear resident, unable to fully comment in a recent interview, wearily mustered from his hospital bed, “Who the fuck is Catherine Wheel?”
“Where the fuck is Tyne and Wear?” the musician Dickinson mused in a statement issued to the press.
The impersonator, now identified as erstwhile Catherine Wheel bassist Dave Hawes, claimed he was only trying to help Dickinson’s reputation by making him appear more interested in issues beyond a 10-foot radius of his body.
“Rob and I are such good friends! So many people get the wrong idea about him,” Hawes stated. “I just wanted everyone to know how accessible he really is!”
When asked about his current relationship with Hawes, Dickinson’s face clouded over. “I don’t like Dave,” Dickinson said matter-of-factly. “I only told the press we were great friends because Merck forced me to say that. I never liked Dave, so he can get out of this fantasy he lives in. He’s a crazy motherfucker!”
“Dave’s jealousies are getting tiresome,” Mercuriadis finished. “I would like for him to leave Rob and me alone so we could quietly spend the rest of our lives together in the Tudor-style manor we are having built on the English countryside, where we plan to raise sheep, frolic in the fields, drink the finest wines, and reminisce of long-forgotten times passed.”
The effect of the incident on those outside the 10-foot radius of Dickinson’s body has produced mixed results.
“Catherine Wheel album sales have risen 20% since the scandal, so I really don’t care about Bruce Dokken’s reputation or whatever,” shrugged a Sony Label Group representative.
“See if I ever post to the message board again,” drummer Neil Sims huffed, visibly miffed that yet another message board topic overshadowed his own.
“It feels like old times!” Hawes exclaimed. “I come up with an idea and Rob doesn’t acknowledge my genius ability! It’s as if I never left the band!”
No charges have been filed against Hawes.