It was just another Sunny Space Hopping Father’s Day

by Chris Mills

It was rather a hot day for doing anything strenuous (whether you were anyone’s dad or not) but a world record attempt is a world record attempt. This one was aiming to break the world record for the amount of people bouncing on space hoppers in one place for one minute. Sounds crazy? You bet! Spare a thought for all those dads who thought they were going get the day off, but were dragged away from their deckchairs to go and do something really silly instead.

The big jump was due to begin at 2pm, so 1.30pm found us wending our way through a thronging crowd trying locate 1,500 space hoppers (you’d think it would be easy wouldn’t you?). After getting directions from an amiable attendant, we found the right spot to register for the event. If you’ve never seen hundreds of red and yellow space hoppers piled up in the middle of a street with an elegant Georgian Church as a backdrop, then you have missed a rather surreal sight.

It was time now to join the queue, kept back by a barrier, to get your space hopper. Simple. Well it would have been if we could find the end of it. We followed the queue backwards…further, further and further yet, past stalls selling all sorts of tempting food wafting delicious smells. We finally came to halt and joined the end of a snaking line of excited adults and children. Even more joined on behind us. I wondered idly what the world record for the longest queue was.

All around us were crowds enjoying the Street Performers World Championship events in the afternoon sunshine. Apart from watching the main acts, you could sample a crepe, make a brown paper hat, venture inside a whale’s belly, make a clay model or get your face painted. All good clean(ish) fun. But not for us – we were there to have serious, record breaking fun.

Once the barriers opened the queue moved quickly and eagerly along. The volunteers then rushed forward to claim the space hoppers in an enthusiastic and triumphant surge. All at once the cordoned off street became a moving mass of large red and yellow rubber balls which was rather unnerving. It took a while to get everyone organized, and in the end, the kick off, sorry, the ‘bounce off’ was delayed. Mexican waves and rhythmic beating on the hoppers got everyone in a carnival mood and all geared up for the signal to bounce into the record books. All together now, ready, steady, bounce…

The organizers were hoping to get 1,500 bums on hoppers to beat the record of 1,257 and bounce into the Guinness Book of World Records. In the end 1,505 bottoms enthusiastically bounced into record breaking history. And you even got to keep your space hopper!

Chris Mills is a Brummie at present exiled in Dublin who works in a bookshop and never gets to read enough.

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