Caged man to 'take a poke at the pokies'

Tuesday 31 March 2009, 2:02PM

He's Downunder's most prolific record-breaker having notched up 38 Guinness World Records in what can only be described as a very curious career.

Now Alastair Galpin plans to add to this by spending 21 days in mid-air while striving for the, err, much coveted title of 'Most Radio Interviews in a Suspended Cage'. Other media - print and television - are also welcome to get in on his act.

At 11am this Wednesday ­- April Fools - the 35-year-old ex-pat South African adventurer is being hoisted aloft at Rainbow's End theme park at Manukau City, courtesy of Auckland Cranes, with a Portacom portable toilet as his home - and relief - for the next three weeks.

The rules of engagement include that he can only come down from his cage for a maximum of one hour in every 24.

The rules are serious and closely monitored. Exceed that hour by 30 seconds and the record attempt fails. However, this time he's aiming for the Record Holders' Republic rather than the Guinness big book. Oh, and while caged, between interviews he'll be working on his final papers for a Bachelor of Science in Human Geography at Auckland University.

While it has the element of whimsical stunt-cum-entertainment, as do many of Galpin's 'records' to date, there is a more serious side in that he will also be promoting the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF), in particular the high social cost of poker machines which are foremost in the foundation's sights.

The PGF and he have had a three-year collaboration to date which include dropping pokie machinesfrom a helicopter and, with then chief executive John Stansfield, briefly setting a world record of 57 radio interviews in 24 hours before this was usurped by American rock band Fall Out Boy.

Other 'world records of Galpin's have also been overtaken - including most snails on his face - and donning the most underpants in one minute (20), an achievement he now shares with someone in Perth. But not the 25,000 litres of soup he and a cast of hundreds cooked up and served to thousands in South Auckland.

So while some 'records' sound frivolous there is another component in that Galpin uses each stunt to promote a social or environmental charity group. With the Rainbow's End endurance, he says it will include encouraging people to "bring the kids here instead of pouring money into pokies".

"Another poke at the pokies," he quips, adding that as for his three-week Portacom residency: "People go down the toilet when they play the pokies."
Snails, undies and Portacoms do not do justice to Galpin's significant international achievements. These include hitch-hiking through Africa. "I met fantastic truck drivers who introduced me to wonderful people, put me up and took me to parties." Solo across Ethiopia; travelling the length of the Senqu River in Lesotho - 270km on foot, 110km on horseback. "One of most beautiful place I have ever been."

He also walked solo "across the Republic of Ireland in fancy dress" to raise funds for Friends of the Earth - to mention just a few of his achievements. He is intensely focused and intensely busy. Give him a call, he's a great story.

24-hour phone contact for Alastair Galpin: 027 2252.224 or 021 029 641 07.

Skype Galpin on 'Worldrecordbreaker'.

Interviews must be at least two minutes to qualify. Participating radio stations need to mail or fax a letterhead note verifying the day and time of interview and broadcast, duration and frequency or internet site to: Alastair Galpin, PO Box 44 310, Pt Chevalier, Auckland 1246, New Zealand, or fax +64 368 1540.