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:
- A range of attempts annually
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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 envelopes torn in half in 30 seconds: 26
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most envelopes torn in half in 30 seconds.
If you say I'm different, I'll laugh. If you say
I belong in an asylum, I will probably listen. That's because you could
Of course it is not normal for a person to say
such things about themselves, but the word 'normal' is very rarely
applied to me. For example, when I got a chance to rip envelopes in
half as fast as I could, my excitement levels soared. If I remember
correctly, I didn't eat that night – I was too busy mulling over the
intricacies of how to tear postal envelopes with great skill. This was
so important to me, I was becoming devoted to it.
A friendly postman passed over a block of surplus
envelopes to me. I was ecstatic; he was relieved to get rid of them.
Clutching the precious things, I speed-walked home and opened the pack
all over the sofa. Kneeling down with glee, I made two piles: one from
which to pick each envelope as I needed it, and the other as spares. I
knew it was going to be tricky to operate the stopwatch as well as tear
paper and record the results accurately. So I tried it to get an idea
of what I'd need to do. My first practice went reasonably well;
surprisingly, I managed. Torn paper lay strewn over the couch, the
floor and the cushions. I liked what I saw. Perhaps it was because I do
so many unusual things that somehow I've developed a skill at doing the
It might sound strange, but my pulse was
beginning to race. All these lovely envelopes I'd acquired which I
could rip, and the thought of being credited with a world record for
it, were creating tremendous excitement for me. I know you understand
how wonderful this feels, and I was desperate for more of the feeling.
I jumped up and stretched. The bubbling excitement was almost too much
for me to bear. My heart was pounding; if anyone had seen me, they'd
have sworn I had just been for a run. Back onto my knees I fell, and
reached for more of the envelopes.
nightfall, I was in a mood for ripping anything and everything. I'd
become some kind of paper attacker! Sheet by sheet, I tore through my
pile of scrap paper which I usually use as recycled worksheets. I was
loving it. Once I'd decimated that, I turned to the recycling bin.
Cardboard, food wrappers and unwanted correspondence were among the
paper-based items I destroyed. This was giving me a great feeling of
satisfaction. I could think of no better way to spend my evening. And,
eventually, at the end of my private crusade, I felt weak and exhausted
but satisfied and stress-free. The house resembled a bizarrely surreal
northern winter: rectangular white pieces of paper all over. In amongst
them were coloured bits of many shapes and sizes. The battle in my home
had been won, my insatiable appetite for tearing paper had been almost
satisfied, and I was ready for bed.
When I awoke, by then rather more mentally
grounded, I wasn't happy. There was a tremendous mess to clean. An hour
later, I sat to consider my strategy. One thing was certain. I'd got a
fair amount of practising done. So I could tick that off my list of
preparations. But, deep inside me, the will to rip envelopes had not
yet been extinguished. I was pleased, since I'd need that drive if I
were to stand any chance of getting this world record title.
The morning I'd been preparing for finally
arrived. Having not forgotten the paper destruction ordeal, I strode
into the venue with my helpers, grinning. If I could churn up the paper
in my own home like that, I was sure to make light work of a pile of
envelopes here, I told myself. On a small table, I laid out the spread
of envelopes with care. To each, I paid careful attention, knowing it'd
be useless in under an hour. I handed the stopwatch to one of my
assistants and within minutes I was ready.
It was wonderful. Each envelope I tore gave me a
joyous sensation. Hearing the whisper-like tear and seeing the
fluttering of the halves both delighted me. In quick succession, each
brand new envelope was slashed. My rhythm was developing nicely when
“Stop!”, the timekeeper announced. It had been that long already. I sat
back. My hands were still alive with energy as if asking me for more
envelopes to tear. But I'd done it, I thought. Looking down at the
half-envelopes all around, I was confident I'd succeeded. I would need
to wait for the judges' official decision; that I knew, but already I
Finishing this world record attempt was
straightforward. I gathered the torn envelopes, replaced the little
table and did a few minutes of admin with both my helpers. That was it.
Another world record for my collection? I'd be finding out soon, and I
loved the feeling.