Some strange happenings in Brighton have been perking up our days recently. You might have seen someone advertising on Gumtree for a flatmate who’ll dress in a walrus outfit for free rent, or the person who reported a wormhole in their street to the council. Well, we can reveal that both oddities (and many more) are the work of Chris Parkinson, Brighton’s master hoaxer.
Despite the recent attention this isn’t a new thing for you, is it?
It’s something I’ve been doing for years, so the last couple of times it’s been a bit strange to suddenly be all over the popular press. I think of it as a story, but it’s never a deliberate scheme to mislead people – it’s just making the world a bit more of an interesting and beautiful place. Thanks to the internet it’s quite easy – before you know it you have a new character on your hands.
Where have you been most surprised to see your work?
The last couple were a lot of fun. Getting the vortex to another dimension onto Have I Got News For You was hilarious. I was actually at a gig and I came out to about 20 texts. It was bizarre watching Paul Merton cracking jokes about the vortex. With the walrus I was working at the pub and the landlord was upstairs on his computer and kept coming down with printouts from The Sun and the Daily Star and stuff like that. That was odd – I consider it an achievement if I make it into The Argus, which I got busted doing quite early on.
What do you do when you’re not hoaxing?
Quite a few things. My day job is for the Fringe Festival, but I’m also a poet – I’ve released three books of poetry – and I do various other performances, with lots of gigs around Brighton. Sadly making up misleading stories for newspapers doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that I’ll ever get paid for. But you never know.
Did you do our dinosaur porn stories?
I couldn’t possibly comment.