Monday, 9 February 2009

The Nearly Men Of Record Breaking

The Guinness Book of Records. A seemingly never-ending parade of people proclaiming how good they are at eating coat-hangers, or how they can jump over 15 Austin Allegros in a minute whilst playing the theme tune to The World At War on a marimba, or how they’ve managed to write every single one of Garry Bushell’s TV reviews for The Sun on a single flake of Special K and so on and so on for ever. Nauseating, isn’t it?

Well, help is at hand in the form of the 10th edition of the altogether more pleasant British Foghorn Book Of People Who Gave It Their Best Shot But, Let's Be Honest, Were Never Going To Break Any Records featuring many of the people who gave it their best shot but, let's be honest, were never going to break any records.

Some of the record attempts featured in the new edition include:

  • Noted conductor and Berkshire eccentric Simon von Karavan attempted to break the Best Lightning Conductor award in 1985, by conducting the entire Leicester Philharmonic Orchestra through all nine of Beethoven's symphonies in a world record time of 4 minutes. Unfortunately, the nature of the record attempt meant that the furious playing of the orchestra gave off an unnaturally large amount of heat energy. The performance was an open-air one and the sudden increase in thermal energy caused an enormous convection current creating a minor thunderstorm halfway through the 'Eroica' symphony. Predictably, Simon's baton soon attracted the unwanted attention of several flashes of lightning. Disappointingly, Simon failed by one strike to become the person most struck by lightning, and within the space of five minutes he had failed to become the Best Lightning Conductor (of electricity) and the Best Lightning Conductor (of orchestras).
  • Spare a thought for Grindleton Small from Burnley who in 1978 attempted to appear in the Guinness Book Of Records as Britain's Most Negative Man. Having spent the preceding 56 years of his life saying 'No' to everything, his record attempt foundered when he agreed to appear in the book.
  • In 1989, part-time gardener and occasional goalkeeper for Raith Rovers, Laburnum St. Juste, ate 47 Little Chef full English breakfasts in 90 minutes. However, Laburnum does not appear to have been attempting any world record attempt and was surprised when Norris McWhirter turned up at his house with a certificate three days later. "I've always liked my breakfasts" said a non-plussed Laburnum.
  • The Guinness Book Of Records nearly appeared in the Guinness Book Of Records under the category of Most Notable Printing Error when the 1981 edition listed every single record in the world as being held by Roy Castle. Given that many of the records were actually held by Roy Castle anyway, it was only when 7-year old Stanley Gibbons wrote to Guinness questioning the authenticity of the claim that Roy was Canada's longest suspension bridge that the error came to light.

The British Foghorn Book Of People Who Gave It Their Best Shot But, Let's Be Honest, Were Never Going To Break Any Records is currently available on EMI records.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant. A book full of the doings of mad - mad bastards.