Guinness World Records editor Craig Glenday: My odd life!
Today I’m going to Wonderground at the Southbank, a kind of pop-up circus carnival, to see a man lifting a cider keg with his pierced ears. There’s always the fear he’ll rip his ears off. I did see someone lose an ear once doing a very similar attempt. But it’s measurable and it’s interesting, so it qualifies to be a Guinness World Record. Every week we get thousands of claims. We reject most of them.
In the next few weeks we have lots of record holders coming by the office to celebrate the launch of the book. I find myself hosting lunches with dwarves and giants. One of my favourites was when I went to dinner with the woman with the narrowest waist, the most tattooed woman, the most pierced woman and the most flexible woman. I’ve measured the longest fingernails, weighed the heaviest woman, measured both the shortest male and female... the hairiest family was another great one.
Another part of the job I love is being the brand spokesperson. A real highlight was going on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I was there the same week as Danny DeVito and Bill Clinton. Now we’re doing a documentary for ITV. They’ve filmed pretty much the whole process of putting the book together. If you have a film crew following you, you have to be on your guard.
Each week we come together and have meetings about the contentious records. Recently, a Filipino man wanted the record for the most surgeries to look like Superman. He’s spent thousands, but is it a record? It was a bit too weird, but what we did discover was that he has the largest collection of Superman memorabilia.
On a Friday afternoon, we often try the records in the office. Recently I had a mousetrap released on my tongue – that was pretty sore. I had a playing card stapled to my face. If someone comes to us and says, I can do a Mr Potato Head in 20 seconds, we have to try it out to see if that’s impressive or not.
It’s hard to have a life outside Guinness World Records… at the weekend I tend to end up going to record attempts. I’m happy to do it. I get to travel the world, to places I’d never think of going. This year I’ve been to the Philippines, South Korea... last weekend I was in Valladolid in Spain. I get treated like the king. The hardest part is if you have to reject an attempt. But at the weekend they did a good job and they set the record with almost 50,000 people keeping beach balls in the air at once.
Because I’m a larger gentleman, I have to be a bit careful about my weight. Paddy Doyle, who holds lots of fitness records, has just challenged me to do a half-marathon cross-country run with him by the end of the year. I stupidly agreed to do this, on camera.
Guinness World Records 2013 is out now. A two-part ITV documentary, Inside Guinness World Records, will be broadcast later this year