Weird world

ZANY, whacky, and some definitely baffling – those are the records of unusual human achievements in a new book launched today by three Suffolk men.Lawnmower riding, cherry stone spitting, cue throwing, ear wiggling, cave dwelling, piano throwing, worm charming, underwater walking, animal impressions, kitchen sink balancing are just a flavour of what is featured.

ZANY, whacky, and some definitely baffling - those are the records of unusual human achievements in a new book launched today by three Suffolk men.

Lawnmower riding, cherry stone spitting, cue throwing, ear wiggling, cave dwelling, piano throwing, worm charming, underwater walking, animal impressions, kitchen sink balancing are just a flavour of what is featured.

Writer Philip Gould, of Ipswich, and his uncle world record breaker Dean Gould, of Felixstowe, and web site designer Nick Claydon, of Kirton, teamed up Mike Barwell and Ralf Laue to create a book to rival the famous Guinness Book of Records.

The new version - The Book of Alternative Records - was launched today in a blaze of publicity at WH Smith in Felixstowe, with "Dexterous Dean" Gould and fellow record breaker Del Lloydo showing off some of their bizarre feats.

The team are hoping the book will be a Christmas winner and shoot to the top of the best-seller lists.

Dean said: "It's a fun book - the sort of thing to snuggle down and read with family at Christmas."

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He began record breaking when he was 20 and has appeared in the Guinness Book many times over the years but felt that book had moved away from recording records ordinary people could have fun having a go at.

"Phil and I were having a drink one night and said why don't we start our own book. It has taken two-and-a-half years to put it together, but ours includes only human achievements - there are no tallest mountains or fattest cats!" he said.

Phil, 30, and Ralf Laue, of Germany, an authority on whacky records, co-wrote the book, which features around 1,000 records.

For Phil, who is married to Beth and currently writing a fantasy novel, publication of the book provides a better end to a year which began with him being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and warned he would be made redundant.

"My favourite records include the person putting two live ferrets down their trousers and seeing how long they can stay down there or juggling a football for 24 hours or seeing how far you can throw a matchstick like a javelin," he said.

"We are hoping to reach the Christmas market and that the novelty factor of the book is ideal for Christmas.

"The records in our book are potentially achievable not like trying to be the first man on the moon

"But it was hard work writing the last part of the book I was told the day before Near Year's Eve that I had Hodgkin's and then I was told I would be made redundant with effect from June I would be coming home from chemotherapy and trying to write the book."

WEBLINK: www.alternativerecords.co.uk

TWO lucky readers could win copies of the Book of Alternative Records in a special Evening Star competition.

Felixstowe's world record breaker Dean Gould recently had his beer mat flipping record - 111 mats flipped and caught in one hand - beaten. But who now holds the title?

a) Chuck Fingers

b) Phil Palmer

c) Mat Hand

d) Rob Armitage

Just write the answer on the back of a postcard and send it to Alternative Book of Records Competition, Richard Cornwell, Felixstowe editor, Evening Star, 105B Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7BL, by December 1.

A BIZARRE WORLD . . .

n Lithuanian brewer Antanas Kontrimas attached an army jeep with five passengers - a total weight of almost three tonnes - to his beard with straps and pulled it more than 13 metres.

n Louise J Greenfarb, of Nevada, USA, has the world's biggest collection of fridge magnets - more than 29,000 of them.

n Gary Gilbert-Anderson and Mike Taylor burst 1,000 balloons using only hands, feet and body in a time of five minutes 33.02 seconds at BBC studios in London for the Children in Need appeal.

n Andrew Wigley, of the west Midlands, played tunes on an organ using his tongue for two hours non-stop.

n John Evans broke the world record for balancing milk crates on his head when he managed 97 crates at Felixstowe Carnival this summer.

n Worm charmer Tom Shufflebottom set a new record when he charmed 511 worms to the surface of a three-mete square plot of land in Cheshire - entrants are only allowed to stick a kitchen fork in to the soil and vibrate it.

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