Chris Parkinson was born in St. Albans in 1981. After fleeting success with Albanian barbers-shop trio Can’t Snorkel and Brighton based breakcore double-act DJ Tea & MC Cake, he turned his hand to poetry. In 2007, along with fellow poet and musician Jimmy McGee, he set up the world’s first Poetry Brothel, a site-specific open-house giving punters the opportunity to enjoy a one-on-one reading from a poet of their choice. It was the surprise smash hit of Brighton Fringe 2007, and won an Argus Angel Award and the Latest Festival Award for Best Literature (beating Gordon Brown into second place). Subsequently, Poetry Brothels have been set up as far afield as Barcelona, New York, Chicago and Leicester.
His first collection of poems and short stories, City Boy in Blind Spot Trauma was released shortly afterwards. The last few years have seen hundreds of performances in Brighton and across the UK, including six appearances at Brighton’s legendary Poets vs MCs event, three Hammer and Tongue UK grand finals, Glastonbury Festival, and creating a technicolour chamber of horrors for White Night. He released his second collection of poetry, Fashion Tips for the Last Days in 2012.
His poetry is difficult to pin down, blending ultra-referenced modernism with biting satire, kitchen sink dramas with foot stamping chants, newspaper headlines with flagrant untruths. Occasionally surreal, sometimes shocking, and always entertaining.
Other than poetry, he also organized and hosted the Hanover Poetry Festival, and ran Glue Gun ’91 at the Victory Inn, which was tipped by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as “the place to be in Brighton on election night”. He published the satirical booklet “Glossy Magazine” along with Suzy Fauxpas, and once sang a song about porcine heart transplants to a load of drunken morris dancers.
In 2013, his internet hoaxes made the news, as reports of a vortex to another dimension opening up on a residential street featured in outlets as diverse as The Sunday Times, The Argus and Have I Got News for You. Meanwhile, an advert appealing for a lodger prepared to dress as a walrus inspired the Kevin Smith film Tusk, on which he was made an associate producer.
In 2014, he released his third collection of poetry, Hard Working Families, and put on his first full-length solo show, MOONSHINE, as part of Brighton Fringe, which won the Latest Festival Award for Best Literature.
He currently lives in Brighton. His interests include political minutiae, hoaxing, tapirs and the history of the British press.
“acerbic – and very funny” – Huffington Post
“whirlingly imaginative … sometimes baffling, sometimes transcendental” – FringeGuru
“bizarre sideburns’n’glasses schtick” – TheArtsDesk
“Chris Parkinson is the best kind of situationist: someone whose poetic, comic oddity leaks unexpectedly into newspaper articles, anomalous photographs, classified ads and other areas of everyday life. He’s also a fine poet.” – FringeGuru