Friday, September 23, 2005

Fifty Years On..

(Guinness Publications)

I suppose I was a bit premature on mentioning longevity records a couple of weeks ago, as the 2006 edition of Guinness World Records is now out in the shops!
But, having had a browse through it does seem more compact of late, and lacking in the extensive useless information that I have always appreciated.
But why the fascination with world records? I know why I am fascinated, it's because my brain is sadly wired that way. I am the sort of sad geek who can recite all the US Presidents, English Kings and Queens, and Russian leaders off the top of my head as a party piece (tis true, honest!). I can even tell you something about most of them.
But I honestly don't know who won the last FA Cup without looking it up! Although admittedly the facts and figures way of thinking has come in useful in my work with the Labour Party, as well as Church, and even, strangely enough, in my past life as a Coffee Shop Team Leader!
But why others are fascinated is beyond me. As several editions say, most records are highly perishable, so I honestly can't get the desire to be a world-record holder. Unless it is to be a first in something, and most of those involve risking life and limb!
So is there any use for such a book coming out every year?
Well according to Wikipedia, this is how it started:

The first edition was published in 1955, commissioned by the Guinness brewery after a debate between Guinness managing director Hugh Beaver and hunting partners over the fastest species of gamebird could not be settled with existing reference books. It was researched by Ross and Norris McWhirter, twins and noted British athletes and journalists, who at the time ran a fact-finding agency in London. When the book became a surprise hit, many further editions were printed, eventually settling into a pattern of one revision each year, published in October to coincide with Christmas sales

The whole article can be found here, and the bit about 'Ethical Issues' is worth a peek.
So if you want to correct a relative this Christmas, spouting useless information you know to be wrong, this is what you can get them!
Plus, given some political researcher's interest in David Hasslehoff, it is worth noting that there is a piece on him on pg 155


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