Updated: Mar 2, 2020
It was at some point last year, over a weekend, when myself and a bottle of red wine were floating about the interwebs looking for a rabbit hole to tumble into for a few hours and that was the night I learned all about Ricardo Lopez. He was an American guy, four years older than me, and he'd bought a video camera in the late 90s.
Basically, the dude started making a video diary on January 14th, 1996 - his 21st birthday - but whether he realised it at the time or not, he actually began documenting his own descent into madness. There were around 18 hours of video footage made in total, culminating with Ricardo shooting himself on camera. I found the video first, and read the full story. If you want to look the video up, it's not for the faint-hearted; there is a heavily edited version that doesn't show the actual suicide, but there original version can still be found if you look in the right places.
If you search online for Ricardo Lopez, you'll discover his legacy of being Bjork's most prolific stalker. Originally the lead singer of The Sugarcubes, Bjork had gone solo in 1993 with her highest-charting single - a cover of Betty Hutton's 1948 hit 'It's Oh So Quiet' - getting to number 4 in 1995. Ricardo originally worked with his brother for a pest control company in Florida, and in the beginning, his video diaries appear to be made after work and over the weekends. However, he soon loses his job and the video content gets more and more bizarre. He spends a lot of his time at first shirtless, and then later on naked, wandering around his apartment spouting his narrative to the camera.
Ricardo's obsession with Bjork was not just an undying, highly toxic love, but also anger. Bjork had dated musician Tricky, and after him, had a much-publicised relationship with Goldie. As both partners had been men of colour and Ricardo had the kind of racist outlook which is usually reserved for the kind of backward folk who wear white gowns and support Donald Trump, he was angry and had lots of time on his hands to syphon this negative energy into something particularly dangerous.
'I'm going to kill her. I'm going to send a package. I'm sending her to hell,' he declared in one video. His original intent was to send Bjork a bomb filled with syringes infected with HIV, but when he realised that kind of infectious chemical warfare can't be bought off the shelf in Walmart, he resorted to converting a book into a sulphuric acid bomb, designed to melt her face off when it was opened.
On the 12th September 1996, Ricardo posted his acid bomb to Bjork's residence in London before returning to his chaos strewn apartment and shaving his head. Then - for reasons known only to himself - he painted himself with green and red paint and played Bjork's cover of the 1941 song 'I Remember You' before shooting himself in the face with a .38 caliber pistol.
He wasn't found for four days, but when the police received reports of a bad smell and blood dripping from the ceiling of an adjacent apartment, they gained access and discovered both the video camera, the tapes and 800 pages of written diary entries too. The wall of the apartment had 'The 8mm tapes are documentation of a crime. Terrorist material. They are for the FBI' scrawled on it in black paint. This allowed the interception of the book bomb as it arrived in the UK by the London Metropolitan Police, preventing Bjork from ever receiving the package.
If you've got a few hours to spend learning about this case, it's certainly an interesting one. From my own point of view, I was a teenager in the 90s, and had friends that were the same age as Ricardo. Before his real descent into madness and racist ranting begin, I empathised with the guy. I thought if anything, he was just desperately lonely, and if his life had taken another path and he’d had a social life and even a girlfriend, things wouldn’t have become as twisted as they did.
When someone’s world is so tiny and their mental health isn’t addressed, obsessions - such as that with Bjork - can become major themes with little room for anything else. Towards the end, Ricardo’s unemployment left him with little else than a video camera, junk food, Bjork albums, ingrained racism and eventually, a book bomb. Whilst he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, in the world of celebrity stalkers, he’s certainly one of the most famous.