After that long, panic stricken 1st day and the lonely night still sending out messages for people to come help, things began getting smoother. We began coasting. Each of us had out spells of thinking we should stop and drop out on that last day, but the other two and supporters were always there as we neared the end, and mostly it began going a lot easier.
Some might call it dastardly, but i hadn’t told my hug partners that the previous world record was 26 hours, to help them avoid clock watching – and they hadn’t checked it. We’d already broken it by 5 hours when i decided it was time and told them. They took it rather well and after some discussion we all decided to push on and hit the 36hr mark. Why break something when you can smash it!
Musicians came to join us, Focallocal members i haven’t seen in years came to offer support. As the end neared more and more people showed up, a party atmosphere grew and honestly the last 2 hours despite the pain were just singing, dancing and fun. We had massages (thank you Sarah), good company, what a wonderful way to finish, with all that positivity around the last few ours flew past.. and suddenly, that was it! time to finally break the hug! A lovely feeling, the return of freedom, to move and not have to be in that one place, and most of all of relief!
We’d done it, a new World Record for The Worlds Longest Group Hug. It was over! and everyone there was cheering and celebrating with us. I felt like just leaving immediately to sleep, but all three of us hung around for a while enjoying the wonderfully positive atmosphere.
Thinking back on our new Worlds Longest Group Hug World Record
What did it feel like?
Bad: Constant stress due to bad luck with equipment and the incredibly rushed organising
Bad: Physically the hardest part was the stillness. Standing for a long time i’ve done before, like 16hr shifts in a job on your feet. The stillness was as absolute killer though, everything locked up and all of us could barely walk when our 5 mins breaks came around. it was like a shuffling, stumbling 1st minute often rushing to the toilet and back. I found myself going on short runs when i didn’t need to go to toilet to get some blood moving around my seized up muscles.
Good: One MP came to chat to us. He painted an interesting picture of living in a world where every knew something had to be done urgently, but all his colleagues were all too afraid to ‘rock the boat’.
Bad: He gave me his card and said we should chat.. in all the tons of donated equipment and food i had to carry back to my van, and in my absolutely deathly tired state, i somehow lost it. Bit of a shame that.
Disaster 2: to save space on our SD card our Gopro, the main camera, was set on its lowest setting. Over night we were in a well lit area and could see everything just fine… the camera couldn’t! I don’t think the footage is recoverable, although if anyone would like to have a go please do, the footage is at the bottom of this page. If you succeed we’ll submit it to Guinness (who may reject it anyway because we didn’t pay thousands to use their official time-keepers). I thought we’d have back up anyway as it’s outside the Houses of Parliament so we could submit a freedom of information request.. it turns out that ALL THE CAMERA’s in London have been turned off due to the Tories cutting the budget for councils.. which is quite fitting as their cuts are the reason we had to try and get their attention in the 1st place.
Good: None of us really cared about the Guinness record anyway. we were there to make a statement about the disgusting levels of homelessness in the UK – which we did.
To Improve: We.. i need to organise these sudden ideas i get much further in advance
To Improve: A few years ago we used to be able to reach the media. Now it feels like there’s a impenetrable wall, if you aren’t paying for social media managers or PR experts there’s simply no way to reach the media anymore. Nearly every story you see in the news that’s not a shocking event, its been paid for. Our news is money and money is the news.
If you want to join our PR/social media/media relations teams and help push back please do get in touch. Truly altruistic groups like us just don’t stand a chance of being seen without you.
Incredible! The way our Focallocal community came together, including those who joined in on the day for the 1st time, was absolutely awe inspiring. It reminded me why i live this life, and was the most supported i’ve ever felt during all my time since starting on this Public Happiness Missions back in 2012. If i were able to truly express the gratitude and love i felt towards you all i’d be making the world a happier place as the World’s greatest poet!
Thank you so much, everyone who joined in honestly your support is all that really matters to me.
(why don’t many poets/rappers/singer songwriters devote all their talents to making the world a little happier?)
note: If anyone is a wizard and can clean the Go-pro footage up to make the clock visible, then we can submit it, although it looks too poor to recover. You can see it, and the witness statements here. The record was always secondary to meeting politicians and raising awareness, and we all know we smashed the previous record.
p.s. does anyone have any great photo’s or videos i’ve not collected yet from the event or after-party? please send them in
Also published on Medium.