Alex Casey watches with bated breath as Art Green attempts to set a Guinness World Record for loudest apple crunch.
“It’s an ethereal apple,” whispered Paul Paynter, fourth generation heir to the Yummy Fruit Company dynasty. We both stared in silence at the pristine bowl of apples, resting on a plinth behind thick studio glass.
When people say they are going to an apple PR event, you might conjure up visions of black turtlenecks, futuristic watches and at least one of the Ridges, all chomping at the bit for the next piece of sleek design from the house of Jobs. Not me. I was headed to a literal apple event, featuring New Zealand’s first Bachelor Art Green as he attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the loudest crunch of an apple.
I headed to Roundhead recording studios right next to Sharondelier, easily the funniest shop in Auckland. Things were off to a great start. The door creaked open like Nosferatu’s coffin, a friendly Yummy representative waiting behind it to give me a fright with a release form. I signed my image away to Yummy. I am but a jester in the Royal Gala court, my face now at the mercy of Granny Smith for all of eternity.
With my face now sure to be printed on any apple that looks like a bum, the Yummy minions ushered me into the music studio to sit near the mixing desk along with other brave and confused tributes. There was a small cluster of us – reporters from Story, Fairfax, Chang from The Edge and a whole bunch of PR people wearing t-shirts featuring an apple with headphones on.
Behind the thick soundproof glass, Art was pacing back and forth across an ornate rug, not unlike the one used in the Bachelor mansion during the rose ceremonies. A man in a tuxedo jacket was hurriedly running bowls of apples back and forth, and Art’s girlfriend Matilda Rice was jokingly massaging his jaw for the cameras. Watching them silently, it felt like a voyeur in some Shia LaBeouf-level performance art.
I had chewed over Art’s track record of crunch over the phone with Matilda earlier that day. She described herself as once being “taken aback” by the volume omitted when Art ate raw corn. It sounded promising.
After flicking through Art’s book Eat Clean, Live Lean over the weekend – because I take my important work very seriously – I was concerned that this record attempt was not entirely in keeping with his paleo ethos. He recommends only eating two pieces of fruit a day max, a guideline which I’m sure wreaked havoc with his stringent training schedule.
Matilda explained that Art had been prone to taking a practice bite and then tossing the apple aside, like a gluttonous Roman Emperor from Spartacus times. She also guiltily admitted that she hasn’t finished his book yet.
I sat watching these people in various costume moving silently behind the glass like a live action museum exhibit. One woman who looked MOTAT as hell was the Guinness World Record official Barbara Dennis. She was wearing what I could only describe as a regulation cravat, paired with an awesome adult-sized school uniform.
Barbara tapped her clipboard, and was keenly eyeing up the tape measure that determined the distance between Art Green and the official Guinness microphone. Shit was getting serious now, Art had started frantically rubbing the apples on his jeans like a maniacal Aladdin trying to summon the genie of crunch.
Meanwhile, Yummy overlord Paul Paynter was schooling me on the intricacies of the apple being used – a SweeTango. I didn’t dare say it out loud, for fear of going too hard on either the Sweet or the Tango. “Crunching a SweeTango is like peeling off an iceberg,” he boasted. I nodded knowingly.
Yummy had originally wanted to stage the record in Minnesota, home of the quietest room in the world. Apparently conditions are so intense inside that it can make your ears bleed, and people can lose their minds in as little as 30 minutes after entering. Also not unlike the Bachelor mansion.
I asked why they chose Art Green. “A big mouth makes for a great crunch,” Paul explained, “you don’t want any little rat bites.”
Time for my kicker of a question. Time to speak truth to the core of apple power. “My question is Paul, if there is no record…” I let the cushioned silence hang in the air, counting to five like Dom Bowden “… won’t Art be setting the record even with a little rat bite?”
It was a make or break moment, all my cards were on the table. I was here to ask the hard questions, and get the difficult answers that the people want. Is this what journalism is? It sure bloody felt like it. What a rush.
As it turns out, the Guinness people aren’t idiots, and I am not a real journalist. Scientists had been hard at work testing apples in their control rooms, and the organisation had set a challenging benchmark of 75 decibels for Art to smash. “We could be looking very foolish, very soon,” Paul said, eyes boring a hole in the back of Art’s head through the glass.
Suddenly, the lights went out.
“Silence for the apple please!” someone barked from the darkness.
It was crunch time.
Art came away with a deafening crunch of 79.1 decibels, setting the Guinness World record for loudest crunch.
Despite achieving up to 85 decibels in practice rounds, he was in high spirits. This was his Fuji. “It feels pretty good,” he mused, “feels great actually.”
I didn’t want to tell him that Poppy’s fart came in at over a roaring 98 decibels.
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