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
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
Their success underpins Alastair's.
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Most jelly eaten with chopsticks in one minute:
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most jelly eaten with chopsticks in one minute.
I looked pathetic in the photos I saw of myself
slurping up as much red cranberry-flavoured jelly I could swallow in
record time. But I didn't care. Why not get out and live while I'm
alive, I reason. Yes, live it up by trying to be a pig at the dinner
table. Well, more specifically, behave very antisocially at a plastic
table placed in the middle of a shopping mall as dozens of shoppers
drift by in all directions.
I love attention, so the more strangers stop and
stare with dumb looks smeared across their faces, the more excited I
become. This world record attempt was great for that reason. I'd
practised several times at home, but not being one for eating with
chopsticks, I needed to concentrate. All the more because spectators
always want to be blown away by entertainment. Now I had to perform!
The refrigerated container of set jelly was
gently placed in front of me, where I was seated at a rickety
lightweight table. I smiled at the world record adjudicator, hoping
that'd be my ticket to success, as she flipped the jelly and positioned
it on the plate. The jelly had to be specifically prepared so its
consistency was just right. My knee bumped a table leg, causing the
tower of upturned jelly to wobble awkwardly. That'll be in my stomach
in less time than most kids can munch their favourite burger, I
thought. The adjudicator urged me to slice up the jelly formation to
make it easier to swallow, as per the rules. I did, and then we weighed
it all. Then came the chopsticks, followed by a clean cloth. It was
folded and laid next to me, presumably in anticipation of the mess to
be caused by the pig-out. I was virtually being waited upon, which
seemed out of context for what was to follow.
I wiped my palms on my shirt as I often do
immediately before a world record attempt. Giving the adjudicator a nod
in readiness, she calmly counted down. My hand lunged forward and I
slammed the pair of chopsticks into the heart of the jelly lumps.
Opening my mouth like a funnel, I leaned forward and scooped up blob
after blob. Some were skewered on one or both chopsticks; others were
carried into my gaping mouth while balancing precariously. I don't
normally burp in public, since I think that's a little antisocial. But
uncontrollably, the first burp erupted from my open jaws, which I
ignored. Although I felt embarrassed, I was too busy being an utter
glutton. In the corner of my eye, I could see the adjudicator's thumb
on the stopwatch. I had to gulp faster, faster, faster.
In an attempt to
speed myself up, I extended my
lower jaw as far as humanly possible; in a similar way to how snakes
prepare to swallow large prey. This must have looked bizarre, because I
heard a few giggles. I forced my lips apart so much that I thought the
skin at both corners of my mouth was tearing. But I knew this wasn't
really happening, so I forced my jaws ever wider. I leaned over the
plate so closely, I could just about suck jelly up my nose. Had my face
been an inch lower, this may well have happened. I'd begun forced
hyperventilation in an effort to draw jelly up off the chopsticks,
across my tongue, and rolling down my throat all in an instant.
Chunk by chunk, the jelly popped into my wide
open mouth. With minimal visible effort, I kept my gullet as open as I
could. The blobs disappeared, one after the other. My system's reaction
was to push out burp after burp. And so it continued until the
adjudicator stopped me: jelly in, burp out. But all wasn't perfect. Red
dribbles of jelly had fallen to my left and right, and sprinkled the
table. I could feel a slimy trail of jelly mixed with saliva extending
over my chin and down the skin on my throat. My nostrils were stinging;
I must have snorted some jelly up from the back of my throat by
mistake. I felt dizzy, as though I'd just vomited. And at that moment
came the big one. As I smiled at my entertained audience, quite
ungraciously, instead of a funny statement out came the loudest burp of
I couldn't help but smile more. So did most of
the bystanders, but not all. People spun on their heels and walked
Am I that disgusting, I wondered? By then, the adjudicator had
sufficient time to do her checks. We weighed the remaining jelly, then
I sat quietly. A minute later, I was acknowledged with having set yet
another world record.
Great! As I relaxed, a feeling of euphoria swept
over me, as always when I succeed at a world record attempt. But in
this case, perhaps a full tummy and all the burping helped a little.