The Guinness Book of World Records has been chronicling the most impressive, mind-boggling and occasionally plain stupid feats of human endeavor for 56 years. And now that the “Guinness World Records 2011” is currently in bookstores, Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday talked to Metro about what’s new, notable and absolutely freaky.
After working with amazing records for so long, does anything surprise you now?
Every day at Guinness World Records is different — you never know what you’re going to get in the mail or who you’re going to meet. The day I stop being amazed by what I find out is the day I need to stop working here! It’s crazy, we get so many claims, and the public is so inventive, that I never cease to be amazed.
Are would-be record-breakers getting more extreme?
The Internet has made the world a much smaller place, so it’s quicker and easier to get exposed to some of the crazier aspects of human existence. We see a lot of crazy things, but I think humans have always done crazy things — it’s only now that we’re all able to watch their stunts on YouTube within seconds of them happening.
What’s special in the new edition of the book?
We have all-new photos and about two-thirds of the book feature new and updated records. The idea is that every year we provide a snapshot of the world as it is. We’ve included a whole extra chapter on pets, zoo and farm animals (this is a favorite topic of our readers), an extended section on popular culture — so movies, video games, TV shows, music and so on. There’s also new topics covered such as sideshow arts, urban arts, party tricks you can try at home, the evolution of life on earth and a section on unusual world sports never before featured in the book.
What’s the most amazing record you have ever dealt with?
It depends on my mood, the time of year. My favorite category of records has to be the human body records — the tallest, shortest, heaviest, longest fingernails, longest hair and so on. I like records that have a quirky twist to them, like the park ranger who survived seven lightning strikes only to then shoot himself, broken-hearted at a failed relationship.