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 T-shirts torn in one minute: 9
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most T-shirts torn in one minute.
Yes, most people buy T-shirts to wear. But there are some strange
individuals alive, and I must be one, because I've been buying shirts
to rip apart. It all started with a quick phone call. I was asked if
I'd be interested in breaking a world record. Gosh yes! I exclaimed,
and the pressure was on. I needed to prepare and I had limited time.
I'd be ripping T-shirts completely in half and it would take place in a
shopping centre. I had a new reason to live.
My first stop was the charity shop nearby, where
I pored over every T-shirt in stock. If it had no buttons and no
collar, I inspected it. Had I done that in a commercial outlet, you bet
I would have been asked to leave. In the charity shop, though, I was
free to explore because the staff had become used to my world record
madness-driven purchases. This was simply going to be another.
With a bag stuffed full of thick, thin, new, old,
men's, women's, white and coloured T-shirts, I speed-walked home. It
was tempting to begin ripping the shirts as I walked, but I exercised
enough self-control not to do that until I was in my lounge. There, all
alone, I laid them out. Rubbing my hands with delight, I placed my
stopwatch where I could easily see it. Then I launched into the
practising like an excitable child. I ruined more shirts in the first
half hour than I usually do in two years. My sofa and lounge floor were
strewn with a colourful array of irregular material shapes. I was an
efficient rag producer, it seemed.
Before the end of the week, I was back in the
charity shop. “Haven't you got enough shirts Alastair?!” one of the
retired volunteers commented. I smiled and paid for another lot. By
practising, I was learning the fine art of splitting T-shirts into two
in quick succession, using nothing but swift movements of one's bare
hands. As everyone knows, this is a skill of great relevance to life
and I was going to try to prove my outstanding ability at it! Things I
discovered included the importance of spacing the shirts equally when
laying them out, which end of the line to begin tearing them from to
attain the fastest speed, and which directions to pull the material
toward for best results. It was getting awfully technical but I was
sure I was intelligent enough to master this challenge. So I returned
to the lounge and laid out more shirts...
One afternoon I
decided I'd had enough of tearing
T-shirts. I wanted to do something else with my spare time. That
thought came at the right time, because the event date was approaching.
On the morning I was to appear in a popular shopping mall, I met the
world record adjudicator – but this time, she had the shirts. They were
bright red, and just the ones we'd agreed on. They tore easily, and the
weave was manageable for me to work with. I held them up to my nose and
cheered up even more when the adjudicator smiled at what I was doing.
In the mall, we unpacked things and a staff
member helped arrange a row of tables. The adjudicator handed me the
T-shirts and I took extreme care to place each in its designated
position. Almost certainly, spectators would have thought I was
behaving abnormally, but there was method to my madness. I needed to
ensure the time it took me to rip one shirt and move onto the next was
not slowed by my having laid them out incorrectly. The adjudicator
waited very patiently until I indicated I had finished. “Are you sure?”
she asked with friendliness, making me aware that I'd possibly taken a
And the next thing, I was ripping apart one shirt
after the next. It must have looked as if I were a madman in a frenzy.
I snatched each, tore with all my strength, and discarded pieces of
material as I devoured my way along the table. Spectators watched in
silence; I recall seeing photographic flashes every few seconds. Some
T-shirts seemed to have a mind of their own – I was able to tear them
almost right through, but the seam stopped me in mid-pull. I battled
with at least two like this. Instantly frustrated, I threw them down
and moved onto the next at top speed. But I knew these difficult shirts
had cost me time; precious time I could not retrieve. Not deterred, I
muscled my way on with fervour until “Stop!”
I relaxed that instant and stood back. The
stopwatch had reached the set minute. Without having guessed what the
adjudicator would announce, I stood several steps back, watching the
shoppers who were staring at the mess I'd just created. Red rags
littered the white tiled shop floor and some shirts hung off the
tables. You could have been forgiven for thinking a wild animal had
been scavenging aggressively through a wardrobe, by the looks of it.
The adjudicator turned to me, having picked her way through each and every T-shirt piece. “And we have a new world record...” she announced to everybody there. I clenched my fists in triumph. That was what I was so desperate to hear, and I'd been successful. The hard practising had paid off. I was pleased with myself.