Okay, I've run out of time and run out of Haribo so going to have to call it a day. Thanks for all the great questions, guys - hope you've enjoyed the answers! Keep the Qs coming and I'll do what I can to get to them soonest. Bye!

Our 2019 book and Gamer's Edition are out now: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/products/books/

Proof: https://i.redd.it/o8wuw374z9521.jpg

Comments: 368 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Bertlestien-150 karma

How do you tell people that the record they're going for doesn't exist and they're the first one to try it? Does this ever change anyone's mind?

craigglenday208 karma

We get c1000 applications a week, many of which are for new titles. If we like the idea, and it fulfils the criteria of a measurable world record, we write guidelines that allows other people who follow to attempt the same record under the same conditions. We prefer people to break existing titles, as world records are meant to be broken, but if it's something new and exciting, we want to hear about it. Our job is to reflect the world so we document what people are doing, hence new records for fidget spinning, floss dancing, etc. Love to hear new ideas (even if only c.7% get approved!)

wibadger12 karma

What does "c." mean?

marsmedia28 karma

-Speed of Light in a vacuum
-Average
-Centigrade
-Circa
-100
-Copyright
-Center
-Programming language
-Economy class
-Air post
-Cyan
-Catcher
-Carbon
-Musical note
-Ceiling limit
-Central
-Care of
-Cup
-Cytosine

GWRecords5 karma

Circa! Context is key!

olderaccount12 karma

What percentage of those new record requests are individuals doing things on their own vs corporations using Guinness Record as a marketing tool?

GWRecords4 karma

Surprisingly small amount - only about 5%, or 2,000 applications in the past year. The difference - and why commercial applications might have a higher success rate - is that they often have staff dedicated to the applications, the organizing of the events, the careful reading of the guidelines, etc., so can invest time in getting everything right. Their jobs are on the line!!

I in particular am keen to stress that you can't buy your way into the record books, so being a company has no sway with me from an editorial point of view. I tend to prefer records set by individuals, as their stories are more remarkable. The largest yoyo, for example, is not made by a yoyo company but by an Ohio housewife who set herself the challenge while enduring chemotherapy and cancer surgery: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-yo-yo

SHARK_249142 karma

Whats the Guinness record that has been most challenged so far ?

GWRecords178 karma

Records can change hands a hundred times in a day at our GWR Live events, but the record that has been challenged most consistently over the years is Oldest living woman. Women outlive men and are usually holders of the "oldest living" category. But they typically don't hold it for long, of course, so there's a new holder regularly.

In terms of active applications, they come in waves, especially in response to news of a record being broken - the fidget-spinning duration record went crazy when Buzzfeed ran a video of an attempt to spin it on the nose - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_3geNlQ9uo. (Current record to beat is 8 min 49 sec, if you're game!)

MaybeNotStig130 karma

Is there an example of a David and Goliath record breaker? Like a little kid beating NASA for highest balloon flight.

GWRecords37 karma

Kinda related... I love the story of Britney Crystal Gallivan, who as a junior high schoolgirl proved her teachers - and the world - that you can fold a piece of paper in half more than 7, 8 or 9 times.

On 27 January 2002, Britney, of Pomona, California, folded a single piece of paper in half 12 times and was the first person to fold a single piece paper in half 9, 10, 11, and 12 times. The tissue paper used was 4,000 ft (1,219 m; 0.75 miles) long.

In preparation for the challenge, Britney identified criteria for folding and the phenomenon that ultimately limits the geometric folding progression. She derived mathematical equations for single direction – L=πt/6(2ⁿ+4)(2ⁿ-1) – and alternate direction – W=πt23(ⁿ-1)/2 – folding. The equations establish the relationship between the length of paper required (L), the thickness of the paper (t), the minimum possible width of square material (W), and the number of possible folds (n). It is documented in her book How to Fold Paper in Half Twelve Times.

We filmed her recently telling her story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfPDvhKvaa0

2soserius84 karma

Wow, so glad to have you here with us. Was there ever a flaw in your approval process that a candidate took advantage of? I mean were you duped once?

craigglenday162 karma

Thanks! Yup, we're amazing but we're not omnipotent!! One example was balancing pint glasses on the chin - whether deliberately or inadvertently, the applicant used plastic "glasses", claiming a linguistic misunderstanding. We didn't notice in the video that was sent in, and none of the eyewitness statements mentioned the fact that the beakers were plastic. Suspicion grew when the record was beaten by such a huge number - it's a giveaway that something is amiss! - but it was the current record holder that drew attention to the error. We quickly DQ'd the attempt!

GWRecords152 karma

Oops, just realised I was using my own account - now on the official GWR account!

Darthmorelock79 karma

What is the most fearsome rivalry over a record you have witnessed in your World Record career?

GWRecords129 karma

I haven't really seen anything nefarious but there are rivalries - there are two balloon artists who vie to have the most balloon modelling records, for example. My favourite is the rivalry between Radhakant Bajpai and Anthony Victor (both India), who want to be recognized for the longest ear hair! Anthony currently has the record at 18.1-cm-long (7.12-in) hair at its longest point. They're both under the impression that God has blessed them with a "unique" feature that helps them stand out from the crowd!

The other rivalry comes from individuals striving to have the record for holding the most records, and there's currently at least half a dozen men (they're all men!) battling this out. Ashrita Furman of New York has this record (which we don't officially award as a record now, to avoid being self-referential) but there are also people like Space Cowboy (Australia), Silvio Sabba (Italy), Paddy Doyle (UK), David Rush (US, who's attempted a record every week this year!) Bring it on!!

GWRecords42 karma

Malo8013 karma

What records, like the record for most records, did you stop doing? When and why?

GWRecords16 karma

Our policies are always being reviewed, and over the years we've stopped records such as: * Heaviest pets - people were overfeeding their pets just to get the record. Not cool * Bullfighting, fox hunting, elephant polo, camel wrestling, etc - we need to take a global position, and these regional "sports" are unacceptable * Speed records on public highways - dangerous to others, illegal * Uncontrolled gluttony - waste of food, and you only need to judge a person's rate of consumption (e.g., most x eaten in 30 sec or fastest time to eat 3 x), not the volume * Eating (or killing) bugs or living creatures * Under-aged marathon achievements * Environmentally unsound achievements, such as most kongming lanterns (sky lanterns) flown simultaneously (not good for the world!)

mysterybiscuitsoyeah63 karma

Are there records that are verified, but aren't included in the book? If so how many and why?

Also how do you set "thresholds" or standards for unbroken records?

Thanks!

craigglenday90 karma

There are LOADS of records that we can't fit into the book. MYTH #1 "If I get a record, I'll get in the book." Not true, as the book can only accommodate c.4000 records, and we have c.60,000 in the archive, with new entries being added each year. My team are the curators of the content, so we decide which to include each year. It's difficult, as we know a lot of people are going to be disappointed. Some records just don't fit into the themed spreads, and although we do have chpater round-ups, there are STILL too many to get them all in. The book long ago became unable to accommodate all the records, so each year is a snapshot of the world today. It's a fascinating read, tracking how the world is moving on.

Re "thresholds", when the Records Management Team receive a new application for a new idea, they'll scour YouTube, speak to experts and even experiment in the office to establish a minimum requirement. You can't expect to do just, say, 3 of something and get the record, just because no-one else has done it - we need to know that it's worthy. Again, a lot of people are disappointed to hear that they have to go to great lengths to set a record but we onl want to recognize something that's worth talking about.

2muchpain30 karma

Ah man, I just climbed Everest 3 times today but I guess that's not enough to get a record since I only did it 3 times...

:D

GWRecords4 karma

Okay, that WOULD be a record! Apa Sherpa did the most climbs of Everest over a period of many years! Apply now!

Chtorrr43 karma

What is your favorite record?

craigglenday111 karma

Impossible to say! Depends on my mood. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by the fingernail records - why would anyone do this!? - and on the back of my business card, where GWR staff can show a pic of their fave record, I've got India's Shridhar Chillal, owner of 909.6-cm-long (358.1-in) nails (left hand) - nearly 30ft of nail.

I also got to meet a few of the fingernail record holders, and they're fascinating to speak to about their choice. They do it for different reasons - to prove something to someone or themselves, for attention, for fun - but all interesting! I also enjoyed meeting Mr Mangetout, the French polyphagist who ate a Cesna - we did a photoshoot with him in front of all the things he'd consumed in his lifetime, include bicycles, computers, shopping trolleys and even the aircraft. My cellphone went missing during the shoot and I'd love to think that he snacked on it during lunch! (He denied it!!)

GWRecords45 karma

mathiews5443 karma

At what point do you decide that a record is worth putting into the book?

GWRecords34 karma

It depends on the choice of chapters and spreads in the book. Each year, I'll sit with the rest of the book team and decide on the structure of the book - typically Universe, Space, Earth, Animals, Humans, Human Achievements, Science & Tech, Engineering, Arts & Media, Sports - and the special features, and we then select new records based on this structure. Sometimes, we'll have all-new topics (such as the "Makers Movement" in this year's edition) which means we focus particularly on records in that area, and we've done one-off features on topics such as Pyramids, Plane Crashes, Espionage, Toilets, sdrawkcab, etc., that may never be repeated. We aim to choose topics that most widely cover the new material, but nevertheless people still get left out. If you're in this year's book, sorry!

feed-me-tacos42 karma

Assuming you've met some of the record-breakers over the years, who has been the most interesting to you?

GWRecords142 karma

I've dined out for years on the fact that I became chummy with Michael Jackson - I invited him to the London office and he actually turned up! He was such a fascinating character, and we stayed in touch after he left. (He asked me to award him his certificate at the World Music Awards in 2006, which I did with help of my assistant Beyonce Knowles!)

I was also very moved to meet Apa Sherpa, who (at the time) had climbed Everest more than anyone else (20 times). He is a humble, gentle man who's dedicated himself to protecting the fragile Nepalese environment and trying to encourage people to learn about the awful effects of global warming. He lost family in an avalanche of glacial meltwater, and wants to protect his community. I met him in the shadow of Everest, and he was so kind and inspiring that I ended up in tears. It was an overwhelming trip (I was trying to find the shortest man, Mr Dangi, for a TV documentary and grabbed at the chance to meet Apa).

But I've been blessed with the chance to meet SO many awe-inspiring people - it's the best part of the job, as our record holders are literally the most amazing people in the world.

macjoven36 karma

What is the most lame and frankly uninteresting record in your opinion?

GWRecords171 karma

Lame? Uninteresting? No such thing at GWR!!

The most boring record holder could arguably be a piece of artillery that measures 91 cm (36 in) in diameter and belongs to the Mallet mortar, which was designed by Robert Mallet (Ireland) and completed in March 1857 – technically the largest bore. It is currently on display at the Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, Hampshire, UK.... Or Bertha. In summer 2013, her colossal 17.5-metre-diameter (57.5-ft) cutting head started drilling out the State Route 99 tunnel beneath Seattle. The world's largest boring machine, Bertha consists of a large steel face, into which are mounted no less than 600 small cutting disks that grind away at the rock in its path. The $80-million device, manufactured by Japanese engineering firm Hitachi Zosen, measures 91 metres in length (300 ft) and weighs 6,900 tons.

SaltyMarmot581934 karma

Which record did you personally find to be the best/weirdest/worst one?

GWRecords128 karma

My usual answer to this question is the Longest Banzai skydive:

Yasuhiro Kubo (Japan) jumped from a plane at an altitude of 3,000 m (9,842 ft) without a parachute and in 50 seconds hooked onto a parachute which was thrown out prior to his jump on 2 September 2000 in Davis, California, USA.

Yes, you take a plane to 10,000 ft and throw your parachute out the door. You then wait as long as you dare before jumping after it, skydiving towards it, strapping it on and deploying it before the inevitable ground catches up with you! Not one to try at home!

KJ6BWB13 karma

I thought you'd disallowed records that had too high a chance of death. This seems like it would fit that criteria.

GWRecords10 karma

Nope, no parachute. And if the risk is all yours then we're more likely to accept the job of recording it.

But I do need to correct myself - the parachute goes out with you and then you wait the necessary amount of time to break the record. You can have support divers, in case of emergency. Here's a video of someone (not a record holder) doing it in just a pair of shorts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEqRgb3hWTo

Sargent_Caboose25 karma

Have you guys ever thought of making a museum like Ripley’s Believe It or Not?

GWRecords48 karma

There's several already! Here's one that opened recently in Tennessee, run by our sister company Ripley's https://www.ripleys.com/gatlinburg/guinness-world-records/

GWRecords8 karma

We do have a few museums, and they happen to be operated by the team from Ripley's Believe It or Not? We're currently developing a new format for these, and you can visit the first one of its kind in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The idea is to have much more of an interactive experience, attempting records of your own and perhaps even setting or breaking a record in front of the public. If you're anywhere near Tennessee, pop in and try your luck! https://www.ripleys.com/gatlinburg/guinness-world-records/

DelicateFlower123421 karma

Can we just make up any record and then be champions of the world? Eg most digestives balanced on my head while roller blading?

GWRecords49 karma

No! You're welcome to make an application, but there are key criteria that you have to fulfil – I quote here from our application form:

"Measurable – Can it be measured objectively? What is the unit of measurement? We do not accept applications based on subjective variables. For example - beauty, kindness, loyalty.

Breakable – Can the record be broken? Our record titles must be open to being challenged.

Standardisable - Can the record be repeated by someone else? Is it possible to create a set of parameters and conditions that all challengers can follow?

Verifiable - Can the claim be proven? Will there be accurate evidence available to prove it occurred?

Based on one variable - Is the record based on one superlative and measured in one unit of measurement?

The best in the world - Has anyone else done better? If your record suggestion is new then Guinness World Records will set a challenging minimum requirement for you to beat."

My own personal, informal, advice is to think, would this record make a good story in the playground or pub? The best stories make the best records, and vice versa.

somesanity8 karma

I think the best answer to the question is actually in one of your earlier answers- (paraphrasing, poorly) that it can’t be too random and has to to some extent reflect things that people commonly do, reference, or know about. It can’t be super random shit.

GWRecords3 karma

Yes, well put. We also want there to be some kind of international interest and competition - we still need to sell books so want content that will make a good read to as many people as possible.

tunnnaka21 karma

Have you ever attempted to set/break a new record? If you had to set a record what would it be?

GWRecords67 karma

Before I was E-in-C, I held the record for Longest stretch of a Curly Wurly, the chocolate-covered toffee lattice. As the Curly Wurly stretching champion, I got it to 0.91 m (3 ft) in the allotted 3 mins (without breaking). It now stands at 426.2 cm (13 ft 11 in), by Tracy Jane Sullivan (UK) on 22 November 2015. GWR staff aren't allowed to break records, so I can't win it back.

I've always "joked" that I'd like to be either the richest man or the first editor in space, and given the cost of sending someone into space, I'd need to be the richest to get my body mass into orbit!

craneoperator8920 karma

How many people die trying to set records?

GWRecords50 karma

Attempting to achieve extreme things can be dangerous, and many people have died in the pursuit of extreme mountain climbing, polar exploring and other high-risk adventures. We're very clear from the outset that an individual is responsible for their own health and safety - international guidelines changes, so our job is merely to document the facts, not give advice on safety. We might not allow a record to be ratified in our name if we think it's dangerous to the life of others (speeding on public roads, speed construction of buildings, speed surgery, overfeeding animals, etc) but if you're a stunt actor who wants to attempt a full body burn, we will send you the GWR rules for that record. We also need reassurances that you're not being reckless, so we limit attempts on dangerous records to adults.

jcgabest20 karma

How does one get their weird shit recorded and acknowledged by you guys?

GWRecords32 karma

We would most likely reject anything relating to unusual human defecation (although we do have a record for largest collection of coprolites - 1,277 in the private collection of George Fransen). But don't be put off - go to http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/apply-to-set-or-break-a-record/ and register, then tell us your idea. But..

"Before applying for an existing record, check the current information and make sure you’ve got what it takes to break the record. If you're suggesting a new record idea, we recommend that you spend some time searching our current records to see what may already have been achieved in your area of expertise. Every newly approved record idea has to be significantly different from existing records and demonstrate a completely new skill. Being the first to suggest a record does not immediately qualify for acceptance, with around 60% of applications for new records being rejected. However, we are always looking for new exciting ideas to reflect the world’s diversity."

You don't need an adjudicator to document your attempt - we ask you to film it, get independent witnesses, write log books, take photos, etc, etc, to allow us to assess it remotely. With 1000 applications a week, we can't get out to all of them. Good luck!

sadcthulu19 karma

If a record doesn't make it into the book, does Guinnes still keep track of it?

GWRecords40 karma

Yes, everything's logged in our Records Management System - a giant database of applications (failed and approved). Many of the new records go online, so check the website if you can't find a record in the book.

supergeronimo8 karma

So if I submit an application and it gets rejected, I'm still technically in the Guinness Records.

GWRecords3 karma

Yeeees, but no one other than the staff here sees it. And we've seen it all, trust me!

pervysage6918 karma

Most unimpressive record?

Downvotes_dumbasses52 karma

Your penis

GWRecords7 karma

If I had a dollar...

mookler15 karma

What record gets broken most often?

awkbr54913 karma

Did this really start from the Guinness beer company?

GWRecords52 karma

Yes, we were founded by Sir Hugh Beaver (the best name!), the Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery. He was out in Ireland at a hunting party and argued with his fellow shooters about which was the fastest game bird in Europe - the golden plover, the teal, the red grouse? The big posh house at Castlebridge where was staying had a "very expensive library" but no book that could solve the argument, and Sir Hugh later realised that people would be arguing about such things in pubs up and down the country. His idea was to create a book that could be kept behind the bar in the case of arguments - stop the arguing, check the book for the answer and enjoy a cool pint of Guinness. He was living in the same guest house as an underbrewer named Chris Chataway, who happened to be the pacemaker Roger Bannister, the first man to achieve a sub-4-minute mile. Chataway told him that the best people to compile the book would be Ross and Norris McWhirter - twins who had only recently started a sports fact-finding company to sell stats to newspapers. (Norris was the track announcer for Bannister's famous race at Iffley Field.) The McWhirters met with Sir Hugh and they hit it off. Guinness funded an office in a converted gym in London's Fleet Street and within a year, the first edition of the (then named) GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS was ready. It exceeded Sir Hugh's expectations, and when it was given free to pubs in the UK, the punters began stealing copies to take home. The McWhirters decided to sell the book in bookstores and the rest is history.

The first edition describes the project as "turning the heat of argument into the light of knowledge". Beautiful!

Salmonpat12 karma

Do you also report on and store NSFW categories? I feel like if there was an entire book of that, I would actually purchase a book. It'd be a good laugh.

GWRecords2 karma

I've kept a personal log of my favourite rejections, in the hope of one day convincing the rest of the team to publish. I see it not as a book of rejects but more of a celebration of the inventiveness and ingenuity of the human race. See https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6xu3l/

Dan-o-saurus12 karma

Pineapple of Pizza - Yep or Nope?

GWRecords43 karma

Never!

The largest pizza in the world - 1,261.65 m² (13,580 sq ft) at Fiera Roma, Italy, on 13 December 2012 - had no pineapple on it, thankfully.

sadcthulu9 karma

How many records don't make the cut to get in the book each year?

GWRecords28 karma

This year, we logged 38,205 applications and approved just 3,178 of them, so a success rate of c.8%. The rejected applications are often still remarkable but just not recordworthy. A classic rejection is "I can lick my elbow" - great, well done, but what's the record!?

tantilatingty9 karma

What sort of records don’t make it in the book. Could you list a few odd submissions?

GWRecords62 karma

Most attempts don't become records because the claimants don't follow the guidelines. But also claims are not records (I can lick my elbow), not measureable (I have the ugliest girlfriend), illegal (youngest surgeon to perform a caesarean birth), or just not good enough to beat the current record. I could fill 20 books a year with rejected records, but our policy is to celebrate only the successes (for now!) Here are a couple of highlights:

Dog with the fewest legs

Longest drawing of an evil train

Oldest heart-transplant patient to kill a bear

Most schoolchildren arrested in one class

Most cockroaches inserted into the rectum

Most gravel from Celine Dion's driveway stuffed up the nose

jelang5666 karma

Celine Dion for the hidden record book win

GWRecords3 karma

The guy who applied for this got in to say that he lost his job over it! I published his claim online when I first started working at GWR, and Celine Dion must have seen it and sacked him! Oops.

SliverCobain8 karma

I've always wondered what kind of print method has been used, to achieve those cool 3D effects on the Frontpage, the last couple years?

GWRecords16 karma

One part of my job is to conceive of the cover design and ways in which we can make it more shiny and attractive. We've worked over the past 10 or so years with a foil manufacturer to develop new printing methods, and the effect you're thinking of is probably the fresnel lens effect. We can't lay claim to this as our idea but we were certainly the first publishers to make it work as a book cover.

Fresnel lenses are those typically used on lighthouses to spread the light, and it's possible to get this etching effect on a microscopic scale. So you etch a fresnel lens into thin polymer, then run the polymer through vaporised aluminium to get the shiny lens foil. This is then laminated to paper, to allow the substrate to take on ink.

We're always exploring new options, and I want to do something really different for GWR 2020 - it's the start of a new decade, so time for a change!!

ghost_alliance6 karma

Are there any similarities amongst record breakers or hopefuls? As in money, personalities, characteristics, etc.

Oh, and how do you deal with the global aspect? I'm sure culture clash or similar could arise in your work, such as understanding what an activity is.

Thank you for the AMA!

GWRecords11 karma

Thanks! One thing that tends to unite record-holders is their dedication, determination and focus. They're all very different, in terms of culture, race, religion, etc., but all the same in terms of their singleminded determination to win. And this applies to the determined way in which they apply - constantly pushing us for answers, certificates, etc! You have to be this dedicated to be the best, so it's no surprise. I just wonder what else these people could achieve in life if they put this much effort into things.

Re cultural differences, yes, we see differences across the planet, but we have offices and staff around the world, so are able to appreciate local needs. We see regional differences - to give a few recent examples, the Indians are super-excited by the idea of GWR and want to do the most extreme things (most layered bed of nails (7)), while the Finnish are fun-loving and wacky and want to do outlandish things (wife-carrying); the Chinese submit and attempt a lot of acrobatic stunts , and the British do bungee-dunking (dipping a biscuit into tea while bungee jumping (from 73.41 m or 240 ft 10 in)!

I like to think of the book as a collection of celebratory stories from around the world, opening up the minds of readers to the amazing vastness of human activity. Don't watch the news - it's biased towards bad news; instead, read/watch/enjoy Guinness World Records attempts!

_reboot_6 karma

Does anything surprise you anymore?

GWRecords11 karma

Yes, we see a LOT coming into the office inboxes every day, and the joy of the job is seeing something new every day. (I mean, we see a lot of dross too!) Every day is a school day! In fact, today, I learned about the longest-running school for Santa Clauses and was able to ratify it as a record for the GWR 2020 book!

CrazyDuck1236 karma

Have you attempt to broke a record by yourself??

GWRecords31 karma

Hi CrazyDuck123, see https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6um5h/

I also broke the record for most radio interviews in 12 hours (54) but after I met the band Fall Out Boy (we were stranded at the tip of South America for a week while attempting to get to Antarctica), they joked that they'd beat my record - and they did, bagging 72 interviews the following year - cheeky buggers!

Dan-o-saurus4 karma

Could you please tell us about how many people who claim to be able to break a record actually do it? Are there any pretenders? If yes, please share the funniest experience you've had that way. :D
Have a nice day!

GWRecords11 karma

I had a really disappointing trip to Mexico to see a martial artist (who will remain unnamed!) who was "saving himself" for the official attempt at various concrete- and wood-breaking records. He was attempting 10 records and each time failed to make a dent in even a single piece of wood or block of concrete. There was a lot of blood as his hands, feet and head took a pounding. Finally, he was successful in the very last attempt, so it wasn't a wasted trip! It was just heartbreaking to see him fail so constantly - yet he never wanted to give up.

I've also read about record-holders online who claim to be official GWR title holders but who aren't. A lot of the time, this is due to them assuming that if they attempt a record, we'll somehow know about! We're not omnipotent!

Ramziez4 karma

I know the Guinness World Records book has a lot of strange records. What was the weirded world record you got to meet the record holder of and what was the person like in person?

GWRecords37 karma

"Weird" is subjective - what's odd to you might be run-of-the-mill for someone else. But I mentioned earlier that I got to meet Mr Mangetout and I found him to be the weirdest holder, I reckon, because he could eat glass and metal. He was a lovely old man who looked like Santa Clause at the time I met him, but I'd first seen him in the book when I was a kid. Here's his entry:

Michel Lotito (France, 15 June 1950– 25 June 2007) of Grenoble, France, known as Monsieur Mangetout, has been eating metal and glass since 1959. Gastroenterologists have X-rayed his stomach and have described his ability to consume 900 g (2 lb) of metal per day as unique. His diet since 1966 has included 18 bicycles, 15 supermarket trolleys, seven TV sets, six chandeliers, two beds, a pair of skis, a low-calorie Cessna light aircraft and a computer. He is said to have provided the only example in history of a coffin (handles and all) ending up inside a man.

He first became aware of his ability when a glass from which he was drinking, broke and he began chewing the fragments. By October 1997, he had eaten nearly 9 tons of metal. Despite this, he said that bananas and hard-boiled eggs make him sick!

When I got the job as Editor, I really wanted to meet him, so arrange for him and his wife to fly to the UK. I'd never met a man who'd eaten a plane before (and haven't met anyone else since). It was an honour to spend time with him - they say don't meet your heroes, but he was a pleasure to hang out with. As I said, my mobile phone went missing during the photo shoot we did with him, and when I asked the photographer to call it, I was really hoping it would ring from inside him but no! He died of natural causes, by the way.

Decnav4 karma

Why wands for a wizard? That seems like s dumb rule to determine a wizard. Magfest wizards will have wands this year I hear

GWRecords16 karma

If you want to attempt the record for Largest gathering of people dressed as wizards, the record to beat is 252, achieved by Maxipotential (UK) in Alderley Edge, UK, on 19 June 2016. But you WILL need a wand per wizard; you'll also need a full-length cloak and a pointed hat. It's in the rules!

Ashgenie4 karma

Have you ever witnessed anyone die or get seriously injured attempting a record?

GWRecords5 karma

I did see - along with the rest of UK watching breakfast TV - a knife thrower hit his wife in the head during a live attempt! That was pretty messy (although the knife really only just scraped her scalp, there was a lot of blood!) And see https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6xau6/

srikarjam3 karma

How do I get your job ?

GWRecords6 karma

My experience is from the publishing world, so if the publishing team went under a bus tomorrow, we'd need to be replaced by a team with a similar background. I studied Publishing (BA) at Napier University, Edinburgh and worked for years in magazine and partwork developments at Marshall Cavendish. I started off as a designer but moved to editorial and had to create new magazines every few months.

One of the most successful was The X Factor paranormal magazine, so I've always been in contact with the world's most, erm, interesting people! I also edited a serial killer magazine for a short period, where I got contacted by the Moors murderer Myra Hindley asking for a job, and made a penfriend of the cannibal Issei Sagawa!) The end result was that I discovered I knew very little about lots of topics. I've always said I have a wide but shallow knowledge base!

It's also important to fill your address book with the people who DO know the answers, so you get the experts to provide the content. I also worked for a while in digital (I was the online food editor for a national newspaper group), wrote some books of my own - on UFO Investigation techniques and vampire hunting. When the opportunity came up to work at GWR (when the website editor came second in a stand-up comedy competition and left to pursue her comedy dreams), I rushed down to the London HQ with my portfolio and convinced the VP of Publishing to hire me straight away.

But no, you can't have my job just yet!

Colosso953 karma

Do you plan on making records easier to check out? It seems the editions of your book are no longer a list of all records. Is there a way to have all of your records displayed digitally? Would you be willing to create a completely digital and thorough edition?

GWRecords5 karma

Most of our records are online now, although we'll only share the scantest of details to protect the commercial viability of the book (and therefore the business). It's very difficult to get the general public to pay for content online, and we've not yet cracked this. I'd LOVE to publish the ultimate book of records and have everything in there from day one... but it would be a massive tome and way too expensive to be commercially sound.

In the old days, when we had every record in every book, sales went down because there was the presumption that there was no need to buy it every year - it's effectively same book with some updates. Although many people claim to have received every copy (and indeed there was a collectors' club), the reality was that it was bought more like a dictionary; the fact that it hung around the house for years might be falsely remembered as being a new book each year. (If it WAS true, we'd've sold a LOT more books each year!!) Now, we have way too many records to fit into the book, so we write it as a snapshot of the world. It's curated to feature certain records, with the idea that you go online to get the archive. We do, though, include about a thousand classic records each year, to put the current WRs into context.

How much would you be prepared to pay for a one-off every-record-ever book?!

randolph512 karma

What is the world record for the most unanswered questions in an AMA?

GWRecords3 karma

There's no record as yet, but if you want to apply, register at http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/apply-to-set-or-break-a-record/ and tell us your idea in full. (Given the topic, we'll probably reject it, btw! No offence!)

NinjaRedditorAtWork2 karma

Who is your favourite record holder you've met and why?

GWRecords8 karma

I've met so many lovely, wonderful, inspiring record holders, many of whom I'd now consider friends, so it's impossible to have a favourite. In terms of famous record holders, I'm a shameless name-dropper but have had the chance to hang out with the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Ricky Gervais, Sir Christopher Lee (had a sword-fight with him in a hotel once!), Sir Nils Olaf (highest-ranking penguin), Jim Carrey, Robert Zemeckis, Katie Melua (did a gig at 300 ft below sea level, in the hollow leg of a gas rig in the North Sea!), Jamiroquai (highest gig), Fall Out Boy, James Blunt, Kim Wilde, Edd China, Matt Groening, Sylvester Stallone, Jim Dale, Stan Lee, Randy Couture, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, etc., etc... I've been very lucky to get to spend a day or even just a few hours in these people's lives.

RaynbowDeath2 karma

Is there a record for how many attempts/records an individual has?

GWRecords3 karma

Not officially, but Ashrita Furman of Jamaica in Queens, NY, holds about 200 records atm. See also https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6uyds/

brittersbear2 karma

Thanks for doing this!

Would you technically be the world's record holder for the Guinness book of longest editor for the book?

Is there any records you've ever though of trying to break yourself or is that not allowed?

GWRecords6 karma

You're welcome, brittersbear! I'm the second-longest-running editor here at GWR after the founding editor Norris McWhirter. He started the whole thing back in 1954 with his twin brother Ross and only fully retired in the 1990s (Ross died in 1975), so I've got a long way to go before I beat him!

As for my choice of record to attempt, see https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec72jku/

scandinavio1 karma

Who makes the covers for the books?

GWRecords2 karma

It's a group effort - in recent years, the foil for the shiny cover is made in Los Angeles by a company called Spectratek who make specialty foils - see https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6wj25/. The foil is then laminated and printed in Europe.

Luthalis1 karma

Is there any fear of liability of the part of Guiness for inspiring people to attempt dangerous feats for a place in the book and a record in their name?

Do you make people sign a waiver of liability or anything? Has guiness or the publisher ever been sued over an attempt gone awry?

GWRecords3 karma

Hi Luthalis, see https://old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/a7zlu6/im_craig_glenday_editorinchief_of_the_guinness/ec6um0q/

Our job is to document the record and make sure that it's carried out in accordance to the rules, so we leave it to the claimant to assess the risks and health-and-safety issues. Humans have been doing crazy dangerous things long before GWR came on the scene - and people enjoy watching or reading about people who do crazy dangerous things. We've merely recorded the more extreme end of things for posterity. But if it's reckless, we won't consider it for a GWR title.

And yes, claimants sign a form prior to any attempt that makes all of this clear - we are not responsible for organising records, we merely document.