Biography of Snuffy Bearmani
Part I – The Early Years
Although the exact details of Snuffy Bearmani’s birth and early years are veiled in mystery - jealously guarded by a small, elite cadre of relatives, friends, servants, and hangers-on – we do have some sketchy details. We know, for instance, that he was born on the west coast of Canada, in the thriving port city of Vancouver. We know he spent many childhood days wandering through the walled grounds of his family’s ancestral estate. (We can, perhaps, imagine seeing its marble fountains and its gargoyles, its labyrinthine walkways and lantern-jewelled night gardens through his artistic and impressionable young eyes.) It is common knowledge that he attended (and graduated with distinction from) the select and prestigious Saint Fur Academy, and that he travelled extensively throughout his childhood at the side of his doting and fiercely protective mother, Dame Ursula Bearmani, setting foot in locations as far flung as Antarctica and Shanghai, Bora Bora and Florence, Croydon and Smithers.
Like the bear himself, the city of Snuffy’s birth is complex and mercurial, a diamond-hard metropolis of infinitely varied facets. To some, it is a sort of lotus land, a magnet and sanctuary for freewheeling, freethinking bohemians and hedonists. To others, it is a charming seaside playground, a place to frolic and cavort in the Pacific’s sparkling waves. Many, though, have commented on the dark, hidden recesses of Vancouver’s underbelly. There is a city-within-the-city, an underworld of drugs, crime cartels, and jaywalking - a seemingly never-ending smorgasbord of multifarious skullduggery. Biography of Snuffy Bearmani.
By all accounts, the March night on which Snuffy B. was born (mere moments after midnight) was a relatively non-descript evening. Astronomers record no lunar eclipse. No comets swung their tails of ice and dust close to the surface of the Earth. As far as we know, there was a rain neither of fire nor of frogs. No earthquake or thunderclap shook ground or sky. It was, in fact, slightly overcast with a light drizzle and a high of 11 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, it was a night that would have profound and far-reaching effects on the demimondes of fashion and of art.
Of Snuffy’s aristocratic father, the larger-than-lifebon vivant Jacques Bearmani, we know a fair amount. Besides being one of opera’s foremost heldentenors, he was – despite his unprepossessing appearance – a notorious womanizer in his early years. Much has been written and said about his penchant for the finer things in life. (I daresay the gallons of ink spent on describing the extravagances and excesses of his lifestyle would be rivalled only by the gallons of vintage Heidsieck and Chateau Lafite consumed at his legendary dinner parties.) He was, in short and to use the French term, a boulevardier sans pareil.
Of Mr. S. Bearmani’s mother, the mysterious and entrancingly beautiful Ursula, the substantiated facts are precious and few. We know about the extensive collection of vintage automobiles and dresses, the love of horses and poetry and motorcycles, the three successful ascents of K2. We know about the silver-plated pistol she carried at all times, and about the eye-patch that many claim only added to her hypnotic charms. We do not – despite the claims of numerous so-called investigative reporters – have any real idea of how she lost that eye. A knife fight at an after-hours den in Piccadilly Circus? Certainly that story has its adherents. But so, too, do the tales of a duel fought with small-calibre handguns, a cheese fondue gone awry, and of voodoo rituals and late night experiments. There are rumours of a childhood defined by slums and abject poverty, of a wayward and misspent youth, but if anyone has any concrete evidence, they have not to date brought it forward.
Part II– A Star is Born
It was while attending the storied Saint Fur Academy that Snuffy Bearmani was first exposed to the world of fashion that would come to so define his life. During his second year there, he fell into a social circle of footloose poets, artists, musicians, quantity surveyors and fashion designers known as the Main Street Coffeehouse Ensemble.
It was amongst this “flash company” that Snuffy became, at least for a short time, on friendly terms with the infamous Francois Le Renard, soon-to-be enfant terrible of the Quebecois fashion world, and Snuffy’s bitter long-time rival. At this point, though, their fabled falling out over the issue of paisley pantaloons was still some years away.
At this point in our story, S.B.’s notebooks came to the attention of the lauded Dress Diva, Madame Fontaine. It was she who commissioned Mr. Bearmani’s first major artistic triumph, the spectacular Ricepaper Umbrella Gown that now rests in a prominent glass display case in Sudbury’s Musee d’Art Moderne. As history tells, from this point on the fashion worlds of Paris, Rome, London, and Lansing would fall in swift order beneath the mighty sword of Snuffy’s mechanical pencil with 5mm lead.
Part III – “With a Little Help From My Human Friends”
Despite his formidable talents and achievements, the gracious Snuffy is quick to acknowledge the contributions of others to his success. In particular, he singles out the support provided by one Ms F, his efficient and industrious human helper. Acting as a sort of valet cum factotum, she has been instrumental in organizing S.B.’s daily round of commitments, including formal dinners, fashion shows, autograph signings and photo sessions. “Without her loyal assistance,” says Mr. Bearmani, “I would surely have had to personally deal with a great number of fairly trivial inconveniences.” He goes on to say that, “although Ms. F’s tireless (if not always uncomplaining) devotion has not contributed to my material status in any legally binding, financially quantifiable way, it has nevertheless been entirely satisfactory and, at times, gratifying.”
Part IV – What the Future Holds: Onward and Upward
Most stuffies, having achieved Mr. Bearmani’s level of financial and artistic success, would be content to sit back and relax, devoting their energies to an endless round of shrimp cocktails and umbrella drinks. This is not the case with Snuffy Bearmani. Even as I commit these words to the page, his latest line of high-end walking canes and watch fobs is being premiered on a runway in Milan. His newly formed film company, Metro Goldwyn Bear, is finalizing post-production on a star-studded, big budget musical remake of Crime and Punishment. From Lederhosen to Leopard Skin - the first volume of his epic autobiography (co-written by myself) – is currently being translated into 48 languages, including Russian, Scandinavian, and Swahili.
Nor is this the extent of S. Bearmani’s energies and ambitions. Already in the S.B. inner circle there is talk of a diverse assortment of future undertakings, including such ventures as becoming the first stuffed bear in outer space, and establishing a charitable foundation devoted to improving the conditions for retired fashion world stuffies. There are even rumours of a partially completed opera, and a soon-to-be-forthcoming epic poem.
For a bear of Snuffy Bearmani’s magnitude, it seems, life is indeed a sweet, sweet thing.