I was walking through London and came across this bench
1. Last week, this picture went viral across the internet.
The image got thousands of retweets, millions of views on Imgur, over half a million likes on Facebook. The trouble was, nobody was sure where the bench was, or if the plaque was real. Was it Photoshopped? Was it a real-life hoax? Was there ever a person called Roger Bucklesby?
3. Here’s the answer:
The plaque is real, and you can find it on a bench in London — but it’s also a hoax of sorts. Roger himself never actually existed.
4. The man behind Roger Bucklesby is author Jamie Maslin. He installed the plaque just two weeks ago — the day before leaving the country to emigrate to Australia.
5. Maslin says he came up with the character of Roger Bucklesby — a misanthropic failed author — after he “moaned and moaned and moaned” to his girlfriend about having a book rejected.
It wasn’t long before she let me know what a whinger I was being and in that moment Roger was born; we began joking about a fitting bench plaque to encapsulate my current cantankerous disposition.
7. Mr. Bucklesby has a backstory:
The name Roger Bucklesby sounded quintessentially British and somehow irritable and Victorian. Old Roger lifted my spirits and soon we were working on his backstory – a prolific author but never published, getting bitterer and bitterer with every failed submission.
At first he came to the park for inspiration but eventually he began to resent the place for encouraging him to chase his dreams. It gave us such a good laugh (and cheered me up immensely) that we decided to get the plaque made.
8. The bench itself is in a slightly out-of-the-way area of a very well-known North London park.
(We aren’t revealing the exact location at Maslin’s request, on the grounds that the local council might try to remove it. “Official bench plaques cost £800 in the area, so technically some might consider it vandalism,” he said.)
9. Just to confuse things further, Maslin also provided this image of a commemorative blue plaque for Roger.
11. Maslin is pretty surprised by how popular Roger became:
We had no plans for this to turn into an internet hit, we just hoped the occasional passerby would see it and have a giggle. It seems we’ve done plenty of that.