Jack White has recently entered into a public spat with the Guinness Book of World Records about their decision to not include him in their book for the ‘shortest show ever played’. The show in question is a performance by the White Stripes in Newfoundland, Canada 2007, where the band played a concert that consisted of just a single note.
Although the White Stripes were recognized for their accomplishment in a 2009 edition of the book, Guinness ultimately decided to not consider the performance as a record-breaking event. This infuriated White, who posted a sarcastic response to Guinness on the Third Man Records website. Here is an abbreviated version of White’s response:
The thing is, though, that the Guinness book is a very elitist organisation. There’s nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what a record is and what isn’t. Most of the records in there – who has the biggest collection of salt-and-pepper shakers or whatever – are just whatever they want them to be.
Although Guinness did acknowledge the event as record-breaking, it appears that this accomplishment is not the type of record that Guinness celebrates in their publication. Here is their response to White’s complaint:
The nature of competing to make something the ‘shortest’ by its very nature trivialises the activity being carried out. […] Many of us at Guinness World Records are enormous admirers of Mr White’s oeuvre. We would be extremely pleased if he were to attempt any of the 40,000 records that are currently active on our database.
Since Jack White isn’t very good at taking no for an answer, he is currently attempting to break a new record: “Most Metaphors in a Single Concert.” The comedic gaze of this new attempt suggests that White is now playing games with Guinness, determined to break a record no matter how petty it might be. In the most recent update on the Third Man website, White wrote this:
The attempt may prove very exhausting and at times even dangerous, but the results could prove to be glorious and possibly even vainglorious. We are certain that the extremely scientific and intricate analysis of the metaphors that occur will be examined in accordance with Guinness’ usually very thorough methods probably, or at the very least if somebody answers the phone at the pub. […] Guinness representatives will return to tomorrow night’s show to begin the exhaustive, scientific, and absolutely authoritative and factual process all over again.
Skip to the 30 second mark to watch a video of the shortest concert ever played.