took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
If you would like regular exposure from Alastair's activities, become his Sustaining Sponsor:
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
Their success underpins Alastair's.
|They are listed here|
Most books priced in one minute: 28
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most books priced in one minute.
No, I'm not a retail expert who prices books by the truckload. I just
love world records. I was bubbling with immense joy when I discovered I
had the opportunity to make this world record attempt using world
record books. That, folks, was the ultimate. The minute I heard that, I
danced around squealing like a happy piglet.
Do you know how uplifted I felt? Wow, it was a
feeling I don't think anything else can bring. I wanted more. But right
then, I had to pace myself: Alastair, I told myself, calm down. Several
minutes later, my heartbeat had slowed from overdrive to very fast.
Then I was able to think rationally. I was hopefully going to price
more books in a minute than anyone else – oh joy.
With boxes of books, I arrived at a local
community hall where a photographer and TV cameraman were waiting.
Feeling confident, but with slight nervousness, I unpacked the books
into boxes which I spaced across three tables of equal height. I had
practised, but somehow I wondered if I'd spent enough time with the
books before that day. Right then, I had to produce results because I
wanted good news to spread, not news of a world record attempt failure.
Because of his job, the cameraman had the ability to promote my work so
it was important that I gave him a reason to do so.
I laid out the red pricing gun. That gun, I
thought, had better work without problems. A friend had helped me
arrange to borrow it from the local corner shop. I'm sure it worked
perfectly when not under pressure, but for my purposes it wasn't ideal.
As I practised, the pricing gun would work and jam erratically.
Sometimes it would spit out more than one price sticker, other times
nothing. Yes, this could have been my doing, but its always convenient
to blame a tool! If the gun jammed just once, my attempt would fail
because there would be no way that I could make up the lost time.
Once the boxes of books had been positioned, I
stood back quietly to visualise what I needed to achieve as I priced
each. It was critical, so as not to upset my cycle time, that every
book in each pile was overlapping just slightly in its box to allow me
to flick it up as fast as possible. When I flicked each book up and out
of its box to price it, it was to be laid out on the table at an angle
which would form a regular pattern as in a neat display. And the books
had to be equally spaced if the final array was to look smart. What's
more, I had to ensure the rules were all followed with accuracy. To do
this, I'd need to walk backwards because that allowed me to price each
book the fastest. I needed to make sure every price sticker was firmly
stuck to each book, and I had to be careful not to lose time by double
handling any book by mistake. Could I remember all this and coordinate
my hand movements to show it? Everyone was about to find out.
I ran my hand over
each box, then across the
tables, to convince myself that everything was ready. That stopwatch, I
thought as I flicked my eyes over to the timekeeper, was my enemy. My
efforts had to prove I was capable to finishing before it reached the
stipulated time. The timekeeper asked if I was ready. I nodded with
hesitation. The cameraman adjusted his equipment. Without their saying
a word, I knew what they were intimating: everybody is waiting for you,
And it was on! Red pricing gun in hand, I leaned
forward to grab the first book. I flipped it out of the cardboard box,
steadied it in front of me at an angle easiest for the gun to strike it
at, slammed the pricing gun's front end into it, and smashed the priced
book on the table with a terrific clap. Spectators jumped. I didn't
mean to surprise them; I was just doing what I do best: working towards
my next world record. My hand was back in the box, and my fingers were
curling around the top of the next book. Out I pulled it as fast as my
arm would do so, and as before, I brought the gun and book into contact
with one another hard enough to produce a dull thud.
That was book number two down. I made sure, even
at this speed, that I was placing each processed book in an arrangement
that would show my handiwork nicely in the end. What a blur. I did this
over two dozen times, while continually yelling at myself in my mind to
go faster. One mistake and I'd lose my rhythm. Worse still, I'd never
be able to make up the loss of time and I could become so disoriented
that my coordination would fail. My focus and concentration were as
sharp as it was possible to get. The mental energy this took was huge.
Would this ever end, or was I caught in a strangely suspended
indefinite time warp? I kept pushing myself: faster, faster. I'd become
a maniac in my own mind, full of manic thoughts about crazy behaviours
at incredible speed. The blur of frantic thoughts was taking over.
Then, even quicker than it had all come about, my
panic ended – the timekeeper called a halt. The pricing gun fell to the
table with a clatter and I straightened my shoulders. I dropped the
book I was then clasping with my sweaty hand. I breathed out a very
long silent sigh. I was sapped by the drain of mental energy it took to
do this, and I could feel my system quickly rejuvenating itself;
bringing me back to my usual mental state. It was over, it was over.
The relief felt unparalleled.
The witnesses commented and clapped. That was enough to snap me out of my temporary oblivion. I must have done fairly well, if they were clapping. Looking down, I saw a rather neat array of books spreading over several metres, more-or-less equally spaced, each priced in the correct way and none with a mess of gluey labels stuck to it. That pleased me, and I smiled with genuine happiness as much then as I did when my work appeared that evening on the TV news.